Lately, my days feel pretty similar. There's an underlying feeling of stress, a current of urgency running through me as I wake up, make myself food, and try to curb panic by planning and selling and booking and researching. I feel like I do nothing all day, but it's my brain that's doing all the work, problem solving constantly, looking for answers to the questions I only just came up with a few minutes before. It would be impossible to break it down and explain all the little successes and solutions I've discovered after a half hour of Google searches, or to outline all the times I've searched for an hour and still didn't find any easy answer (donating books in Montreal, I mean honestly.) I know this is coming out sounding more dramatic than I want it to, but it's actually the opposite of dramatic. I'm surprised to discover that this time in my life, one of the most crazy periods of change that I've experienced thus far – it's a lot more like a slow boil, a quiet, solitary time.
My apartment is getting sparser, day by day. My plans are getting more solid, my travel itinerary is coming together. Last night, I had a small attack of doubt, when I began questioning my decision to stay in one city longer than another, and whether I had chosen the right places in the first place, and feeling down about how somewhat arbitrary my plans suddenly felt. But I just breathed, and decided that none of that mattered because really, life is sort of arbitrary, isn't it? The courses I chose for my degree were arbitrary, to some extent, but I still graduated. Life is a process of arbitrary trial and error, I decided, then went to sleep. I feel slightly better this morning.
Since none of this traveling has begun yet, and since I don't have that much experience with travelling, let alone by myself, I think part of the problem is that I have no real idea what it's going to be like for me. I have to just go on the accounts of friends and bloggers and my imagination and faith that its going to be, like everyone says, the best experience of my life. Since it still feels so surreal and far-off and unimaginable, I occasionally get bogged down by all the researching and decisions and forget that these are real places I'm going to experience, these are real ocean-side towns and real tapas and real cliffs for jumping off of. But even if I still struggle to actually picture myself doing any of the things I'm planning, do them I will, in just 30-odd days. I know in my heart what an incredible time I'm going to have, and how lucky I am, and how beautiful and life-changing it will be, and I'm trying to hold those feelings tighter than I hold the feelings of uncertainty. But to say I wasn't feeling a little uncertain or scared would be to lie to you. I just gotta keep it real!
I also want to put out the call: I'm taking with me one backpack and all the advice and recommendations I can get. So if you have any general travel tips, specifically European travel tips, recommendations for hostels/restaurants/attractions in Paris, Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, Girona, the south of France, or anywhere in Italy (I'm planning on visiting most of the major cities) – let me know! I would love to hear your travel stories and advice.