I’m ashamed to say we ate from the supermarket or Quick (the local equivalent of McDonald’s) because we were to chicken to try out more French. We ate far too many baguettes because that’s all I could ask for. We also ate yogurt in our hotel room by sticking our noses in the pots and slurping it out because we didn’t have any spoons. But it was our first proper Europen jaunt, so I’m sure we’ll be better tourists next time!
Shauna Reid, The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl
The first time I went abroad, I was 20 years old. Breanne was finishing up a semester in the Middle East and I decided I wanted to join her in Europe on her way back. And then Ashley said she’d like to come as well. And Mandee kind of, sort of invited herself, too. And soon, the Fab Four was born.
Every once in a while when I tell my Mandee friendship story I say, “We met in Europe” and giggle a little.
Mandee is my European friend. How lovely is that?
My first Europe adventure was much like Shauna’s. We packed the majority of our food in carry-on bags and every day at lunch we divvied up our trail mix portions—Ashley took my raisins and I took her peanuts and complained loudly that I hated trail mix and hated raisins and hated peanuts.
I believe I have an old photo of the tradition. Yep, here we go.
RIP neon sunglasses.
At night my friends and I would heat up the teakettle and make ourselves cups of Lipton soup. If we were feeling bold, we would buy a baguette at the local shop and call it a meal. One sorry hotel had no teakettle and so we turned on the lukewarm tap water, scrunched our noses and gagged down our cold soup.
How wonderful it all was, simply to be there soaking it up. How quickly I forgot that excitement when I moved to Europe permanently and life caught up to me.
It feels like it’s been so long since I’ve stretched those traveling wings of mine in a real way, and all of the sudden the bug is back and I’m thinking, “Hmm, Australia could be a nice place to look for jobs” and “Perhaps it’s time to really think about the English countryside” and my heart is swelling with every beat.
I want to live abroad again.
I want to fix the mistakes I made the first time. I want to have the experience I was meant to have. I want to fall in love with another city and do what I always should have done in that city–write.
I really, really want to live abroad again.
As a writer.
I want to live abroad again as a writer.
There, I said it.