5 and 1/2 weeks = 39 days = 936 hours = 56,160 minutes = 337,000,000 seconds

Hey everybody! Nothing out of the ordinary is happening this week other than the fact that I have been busy writing essays for classes, packing, last minute travel-size shopping, and just preparing to leave for 39 days . . . as I think you may have guessed by the title.

Holy hidden City of Atlantis. I will be traveling throughout Europe for 39 days. Never again in my life do I think I will be able to say that. I haven’t even left the United Kingdom yet and I’m ready to cry for joy at the thought of traveling. I’m probably going to be sobbing when I have to leave Europe! Oh my gosh, I do not want to think about that.

No tears! Moving on! I wanted to make this post so my friends back home (whomever of them read these, thanks and I love you very much, I’m sure you’re busy with school) and my family could know what I would be embarking on! I am not going to state the exact dates or specify how I will be traveling and when as you never know who may be creeping on the internet trying to find people to kidnap or just be terrible human beings. BUT I will tell you that I will not be traveling alone in Europe. I will always be with my friend Emma, and sometimes we will be in a bigger group as well with some other international students. I met Emma the very first day I got here and we bonded right away because she’s a theatre major too! Obviously we get along great; we’re both bubbly people, we have a similar sense of humor, and we talk about theatre! I am not theatre deprived here in England thanks to Emma.

Side note: I sadly will probably only see one theatre performance in London in the few days before I leave again. I feel bad that I have not tried to see more theatre but let’s all be honest, I have been having plenty of other fun adventures.

Now back on track. I will mostly be traveling with Emma and we will be going to, *drum roll please*, Ireland, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, and Greece. Holy cow. I will be visiting 7 countries in 39 days. What? I am still waiting for someone to step out with a camera and say “Gotcha!”. When is that happening? Because this cannot be my reality. This is insane! I had no idea I would be doing any of this in the beginning of my fall semester. If someone told me everything I would get to be doing one year ago, I would jump and shout and let it all out! This is insanity. I also did not expect to be visiting the countries that I will be visiting. Emma and I both agreed we did not want to travel alone but we did not want to visit all the same places. We decided to both come up with a list of the countries we did want to visit. There were a few countries we had in common so we kept those, and then there were one or two we both sacrificed. But I’m okay with this because thanks to Emma, I will be seeing countries I did not expect to see. Unexpected adventures can sometimes turn out to be the best ones. Let’s all knock on wood that Emma and I have some great and unexpected adventures together!

Also, we are in fact going to be BACKPACKING. No suitcases or extra luggage. Just a purse and a backpack. We ordered new backpacks (for a good deal, I promise they were not expensive mom and dad) for this trip. Below is a picture of my backpack and cute little travel-sized stuff. I captioned them so be sure to read the captions! And before you can say anything, of course I picked the backpack with the cool water design. I am not completely packed but this will give some of you an idea of how I will be living for five and a half weeks. I can only bring so many shirts and pants and shoes. I really am not sure how I am going to do this. I am sensing there will be a lot of trials and a lot of errors on my expedition but I honestly cannot wait! I am going to return home a well seasoned traveler!

Speaking of the term traveler, Emma and I have been doing a little bit of research and have discovered a couple articles discussing the differences between being a tourist and being a traveler; there is a huge difference between the two. A tourist hits all the hot spots the internet or travel agencies told them to hit and basically has the stereotypical experience that literally everyone else has that is visiting the same city they are. Whereas a traveler does so much more. A traveler not only walks the streets of the cities but talks to the locals, learns about the hidden treasures that only the locals know about, tries different foods that only the locals know about, ventures outside city limits to see more of the country and get away from all the money-eating, tourism venues. I read an article about this woman who ended up going to some hidden swimming hole with people she met at a market; she said it was so quiet and beautiful, away from the tourists. Not many people knew about the swimming hole to begin with, only the locals. She got to have really interesting conversations and learn a lot about the country, city and its culture. That to me sounds so much more interesting than doing the same thing as everyone else. I want my experiences to be unique and different. If we all have the same experiences, then our lives are not interesting because they would all be the same. We might as well all try to fit into the same, small, cramped wagon that only goes to point A and B and back again. Um, no thanks! I would like to visit points C, D, E, S, V, Y, and don’t forget about X! Have to visit point X. I’ve heard great things. But back to the point, do you see what I mean? A traveler has such a different experience than your average tourist. Emma and I both love the idea of being travelers and that is what we hope to accomplish on our expedition.

I’ll be honest. I am a bit nervous. But I think it was super helpful living in England and visiting different cities the past couple months because it has helped me become accustomed to traveling by buses/trains and just getting into the groove of European travel. If I had just come straight from the U.S., visited England for a couple days and then continued on with the rest of my travels, I think I would have been more stressed. I feel much more confident about traveling now, but my lovely father gave me a good, helpful reminder. He thinks I am becoming too comfortable and he’s right. I am very comfortable in England right now but I still need to practice caution because my comfort could make it very easy for someone to pickpocket me or worse. Thank you for the reminder dad!

I feel like I should mention some of my English friends because I’ve come to really love them and I always have so much fun with them so I shall! In my house is Izzy, El(eanor), Tajasvi (T), Clara, Cormac, and Jordan. At least those are the English roommates that I hang out with. There are other housemates who I haven’t met because they’re just never around. Then there is Ralph, Jonah, and Niren who all live elsewhere in the village but they hang out with us a lot too. I really am going to miss them. They have all made my England experience so much more; they taught me about their political system, what their education was like, what the social norms are, they showed me the night life, and basically helped me adjust. They also showed me this really cool song called “Dance With Me” by Adam Green. Every single night we all hang out, this song always comes on and everyone starts singing at the top of their lungs! For the longest time I didn’t even know what the singer sounded like because all I could hear was my friends’ voices!  Izzy even told me she thinks I can sing . . . clearly there is something in the water here in England because no one has EVER told me that before! Or maybe I can sing well in England? Who knows. So many fun memories with these guys. Luckily I don’t have to say goodbye just yet. I’m returning to Leicester for a week before heading to London then flying home. So I can sob and blubber when I say goodbye to them then!

Now that I’ve talked about my English friends, I definitely have to mention my roommate Meggie. Her real name is Megan but no one calls her that, she just goes by Meggie. I totally scored with her as a roommate. We get along so well, have similar music taste (she has a freaking rocking taste in music, best I’ve ever seen), slightly similar sense of humor, she has a super fun personality so obviously we have that going for us, and she’s honestly just the sweetest girl! She is also an absolute GENIUS and gave me the most perfect idea AND title for a book to write. I’ve been working on it ever since she gave me the idea. I don’t want too many people to know about it yet so the rest of you will just have to wait and see! But when that book is ready for the world, you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be a dedication to Meggie in it. Thanks Meggie!

I feel like I easily could have made a similar post to this either at the very beginning or end of my time here in regards to talking about my friends. But leaving for 39 days makes it feel like I am saying goodbye to them and I didn’t want to forget to mention them. When the time comes for me to move back to England (which I truly believe I will someday), I know for a fact I’m going to meet up with these guys again and we will celebrate my return like there is no tomorrow!

I will still be posting every week but I will not be bringing my laptop whilst backpacking so my blogs may become shorter as I will have to do them on my phone. I promise to try and include the main parts of my adventures but they may become more limited. BUT THERE WILL STILL BE BLOG POSTS! Regardless, there will be a MOTHER of a blog post when I return to the states in which I will try to recap everything I did not get to say and how I feel about the whole experience. That is a promise!

Until next week folks.

Cheers!

2 thoughts on “5 and 1/2 weeks = 39 days = 936 hours = 56,160 minutes = 337,000,000 seconds

  1. Brooke ; you are amazing and We hope you have a good time; but be very cautious when traveling so far. By the way this is your aunt writing to you ; we just put it in uncle toms name but i’m the one that replies. Take care and be safe . Love to you always. Fairy god=mother.

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  2. How exciting! Be careful. Stick together, and Never set your things down anywhere. Ever. Gypsies and scammers are all over Europe. Unfortunately, but it is true and one of the few downsides of traveling in Europe. Use the little case I bought you for your money, cards, passport, etc. Have tons of fun and soak it all up. Europeon travel is an experience of a lifetime. Love “traveler” vs “tourist”. I am without a doubt, a “traveler”. I venture off the beaten path every chance I get. Thrilled to hear about a book in Brookes future. Not at all surprised. Love you Brookie. May the sun shine upon your face, and the wind be always at your back. Good Luck! Bon Voyage!!

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