Wow, what a month! Looking back, I can’t believe all of these destinations were seen, people were visited, photos were taken, and memories were made within such a compressed period of time. In Month 3, my route stopped making logical sense and I ended up zigzagging all over Europe and then over to Asia. These constant changes in location, climate, and customs became admittedly difficult to process and, as a result, I spent almost the entire month sick and without 100% of my energy.
As I try to recall my various memories from Month 3, I am overwhelmed. To try and choose single memories for each category would be pretty close to impossible, as the variations in activities and climates were so unique from one another. That being said, I’ll give you the best of my highlights and lowlights from this crazy month.
Month 3: The Route
1. Paris, France
2. Dublin, Ireland
3. Belfast, Northern Ireland
4. Galway, Ireland
5. Prague, Czech Republic
6. Berlin, Germany
7. Stockholm, Sweden
8. Bangkok, Thailand
9. Sukhothai, Thailand
10. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Best Days: This might come as a real surprise, but IRELAND. Every day in Ireland.
Worst Days: The day after I left Ireland. I arrived in Prague and the friend I was meeting up with, Marketa, found out at the last minute that she had to work an extra half a day. She was delayed in arriving and therefore, I had nothing to do, was sick, and ended up dropping my phone down fifty feet facedown on some cobblestone and shattering the screen. It was just one of those days when things don’t go your way and you want to pout a lot.
The first few days in Bangkok were really hard. I didn’t sleep and I couldn’t stop thinking. I got really anxious and in-my-own-head about what I was doing in Asia. The lack of sleep only made my anxiety worse. It took a full week to get a handle on it.
Saying goodbye to a certain Irish man with no set date to see each other again.
Trying to call my mom after night three of no sleep in Bangkok at 7am my time (7pm her time) and not being able to reach her. Luckily my sister and her fiancé called me and I felt a lot better. Lindsey even did a Tarot card reading for me.
Best Moments: Hanging out with Maya, Ariana, and Stephan in Stockholm. There is no better feeling than being in a real home with a family.
Exploring Paris with Katie – the meals, the beautiful city, and the inspiring conversation. It was such a treat.
Seeing the lovely and amazing Marketa again in her home country with her family.
Seeing Mike again after a month, but this time in his hometown of Belfast. You can see our “Cheers” with some fresh Guinness in my 1SE.
Most Ridiculous Moments: Being picked up with Katie in a private car with an interpreter by Cartier to go to the home of the artist Jean Cocteau outside of Paris. Oh, and wearing a Cartier bracelet all week – it was screwed on!
Dancing to the entire Grease soundtrack on Halloween night in a huge Prague club with friends from Barcelona and friends from Portugal who all happened to overlap.
Babysitting Maya in Stockholm. I know this sounds very un-ridiculous, but considering what my normal day to day has been like, this moment – being responsible for someone else – felt so unlike the rest of my trip! We had a blast dancing together for hours, dancing while we ate dinner, and then she was just done. I put her down to change the music and she was thoroughly offended. Thus began the screaming and crying that would continue for hours. I have never read Madeline so many times over screaming, but it’s still pretty good, as it turns out. She is such a well-behaved child, but it reminded me what parenting really is like. I need a few more years.
Khoa San Road. Or just all of Bangkok…
Drink: Fresh ginger and lemon tea for all the sickness.
Song on Repeat: Upbeat: Beat Connection, “Another Go Round.”
Low-key: War on Drugs, “Under the Pressure.”
In transit: Beirut, “Cherbourg”
Number of Photos Taken: 1937. Average of 65 per day.
In my defense, I was sick, it was really cold out and I didn’t have proper winter clothes, I didn’t have a camera lens for a few weeks (long story), and … I got kind of burned out of taking photos! I can’t believe I admitted that. But I’m back into it so don’t worry. I blame the lack of energy in general.
Sukhothai’s ruins, which I have yet to write about, were also stunning. Paris in general.
Best Meal: There are a few standouts. Overall meal would have to be the amazing dinner Mike made my first night in Belfast. Salmon, veggies, potatoes, and homemade elderberry champagne all while sitting by a roaring fire.
The most extravagant was the dessert spread Katie and I ordered in Paris at Angelina’s. We made a goal of growing out of our clothes over our week and this meal may have done the most damage. It was out-of-this-world delicious.
The funniest overall meal experience: In Paris, we met up with Katie’s college friend one night (he and his girlfriend happened to be visiting at the same time). We went to Frenchie, a fantastic little restaurant and waited at the bar for her friends to arrive. As we waited, we noticed two American couples standing next to us at the bar. We started talking and it turns out they all went to Katie’s alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. (It also happens to be my father’s.) These couples were in their forties and were in Paris to have a great, memorable week. Katie’s friends came and, as we waited on a table, we all talked and drank copious amounts of red wine in this packed little place. At one point, a waiter spilled an entire bottle of red wine on me and the older couples were all VERY concerned. I was able to get the majority of the stain out after soaking it in boiling hot water. As we continued talking and drinking, my shirt hung to dry. After eating an incredible tapas style meal, the two couples came over to us, three sheets already, and bought more and more wine. Josh and Gabby, Katie’s friend and his girlfriend, were lovely to talk to and continued the conversation Katie and I kept entering into about being entrepreneurial and creative. We ended up closing this place down and taking this very silly Carnegie Mellon photo including a flower pot.
Place I’d Most Want To Live: Do I even have to say it? PARIS. Duh. I finally got my French back up and running and with it came of flood of even deeper love for this city. I would love, love, love to live there someday and become fluent.
Berlin was also really cool. I only had two days there and was sick the whole time, so I only got to experience a taste of it. What I saw was intriguing, unique, and beautiful.
Biggest Surprises: I got really tired of moving and of meeting new people this month. I spent most of my month traveling with other people – Katie in Paris, Mike in Ireland, Marketa in Prague, and Ariana in Stockholm. I had no energy to socialize in hostels.
I like everything. This is something I sort of knew about myself, but I am finding that I like every place I’ve been. It’s good and it’s bad. I end up wanting to go back to every single place I’ve gone.
It took a full three months of eating bread at every meal and not exercising to start gaining weight. I would’ve expected this to start in month one, but I guess the walking kept it at bay for a while.
Biggest Takeaway: When you want to stop moving – stop moving! I needed to spend more time lingering this month and it’s only gotten more extreme. One of the blessings of my trip is that it’s unplanned. I am trying to spend close to a week in each location if I can because it is much more sustainable for me.
Things aren’t black and white. I found a lot of grey areas coming up this month. I’d expect to be sad about something but feelings weren’t so clear cut. I started paying more attention to how I actually feel rather than how I think I should feel or historically have felt in similar situations. This is very vague, but my takeaway was to stop putting reactions into boxes that are either positive or negative. A lot of things came up that were just new, uncharged experiences.
Makeup is weird. I used to wear makeup everyday to work and out. I stopped wearing it at this point in my trip, except for nice dinners or nights out. I got gussied up in Paris and felt like an entirely different person. It was very odd!
1SE (One Second Everyday):