Summertime Overseas

When I think of the adjective “solo,” I think “free,” “independent,” “unrestrained.”

Just a few years ago, I would have shaken my head and chuckled at the thought of adventuring abroad alone.  Today, I have made the very decision that would shock the person I used to be into disbelief.  This summer, I will spend a little over a week traveling around Europe with my friend.  After that, I will explore the continent solo.  Yes, that’s right.  Reserved, cautious me will be traversing a new continent without the comfort of familiar faces or abundant resources.  Why, you ask?

Off the top of my head, here are the reasons why I am committed to traveling around Europe solo:

  1.  I have always wanted to go to Europe.  As much as I would love to share this entire experience with friends, the fact of the matter is that the majority of them are not ready either financially or time-wise.  Why should I wait for them?  There will always be a reason why they cannot go, but I do not want to wait until I am older, settled, and have more fixed viewpoints.
  2. On that note, I am not going for the sake of “vacationing” but to immerse myself in new cultures.  I absolutely love learning about new places and having the opportunity to be alone will allow me to be far more perceptive and hold onto less preconceptions.
  3. I know I will never be lonely – traveling solo gives you the luxury of deciding when you want to be alone and when you want to be in the company of others.  As an introvert, I appreciate my alone time, but when I crave the company of others, I can easily find that through the friends I know abroad as well as other fellow backpackers staying in hostels.
  4. And speaking of which, I had already spent roughly a week in a hostel last summer.  Everybody there was on the backpacking trail and very open-minded.  Because they were from all over the world, they brought many interesting viewpoints and stories that I never would have come across in the past.  They made for great conversationalists as well as travel buddies, and I am still in touch with some of them.  I am completely unconcerned about being lonely ever.
  5. And in terms of safety, I know for sure I can navigate Europe just fine because 1.  I speak French and 2.  I speak English.  Furthermore, I know to do my research regarding the places I visit beforehand. Having already traveled in unknown areas, I know the precautions I must take in everything, whether it be to clutch my bag close to my body at all times, to not go into closed-off spaces, to lock up my passport in the hostel, and others.  In addition, the places I intend on staying will take care of me – they have useful knowledge about the area and will have organized group activities.

I will finish this school year strong, but come June, say a temporary goodbye to Ms. Z, and a “welcome back” to Kathy the Wanderer!  I cannot wait to update you all on my experiences, both with my friend and solo.

 

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Wintertime in the GC

“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1: 31)

Though I no longer attend Church or read the Bible as extensively as I used to, this very verse jumped out at me these past few days when three friends and I traveled to the Grand Canyon and saw quite possibly the most beautiful scenery that Earth has to offer!

a.k.a. Breathtakingly Stunning Beyond BeliefWaking up to this sight?  Yes, please!  Notice how everything about this image conveys colorfulness with peace and harmony?  How natural it was to just gaze at it and get carried away relishing in the surprise of nature, the balance of elements, the  fullness of life amidst an undisturbed silence.  Having spent a good portion of our years in LA, experiencing such a natural, undisturbed sight left us speechless.  Suddenly, all anxieties and burdens that regularly fill our minds were gone; for once, we could simply enjoy the view and ponder life’s graces without interruption.  Being the curious adventure-seekers we are, we proceeded to hike the canyon, and hike it we did…for the next few days in a row.  Win!

 

Dreaming of a White Christmas?

Life is good:)California girls trying to be badass mountaineers/canyoneers?

So, so tired...so, so delighted!

No words or pictures come close to describing the true magnificence of the Grand Canyon – I already miss it dearly and will always remember its charm, its perfect balance, and its endless mystery.  How lucky we are to be given such a glorious treasure on Earth!

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