Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Breaking Out of the Leaving-Fairyland Rut

Finding out that we were leaving Germany hit me hard.  I have dreamt of traveling the world my entire life, and living here has been a paradise.  Instead of spending my weekends in bars or at movies like my college friends do, for the past two years Kyle and I have spent them climbing the ruined walls of ancient castles and exploring decadent Baroque palaces.  When I pictured moving away from this, my mind instantly tallied up all the incredible places we wouldn't be able to visit.  We haven't seen Berlin, or took a road trip to Rome, or had tea in London.  I was overwhelmed with remorse for the adventures that could have filled another two years in Europe.

For the past few weeks we've been packing in as many experiences as we can.  I plucked up my courage and tried my first real German cuisine.  (Delicious!)  We went hiking in Heidelberg to find the best view of the castle, and ambled around the eerie ruins of a monastery.  We gathered some friends to tour Ludwigsburg Palace, and explore the sprawling palace gardens.  Most recently I spent a day in Darmstadt roaming the woods that surround Frankenstein Castle.  (Yes, that Frankenstein Castle).

Ludwigsburg Palace
And yet there was still a hollow pit in my stomach.  I was panicked, terrified that I wouldn't be able to accomplish enough in what little time is left here.  There just aren't enough weekends to fit in every destination on my dream list.

Cue an epiphany:  There is no reason why I have to accomplish every travel goal I have while I live in Germany.  I am twenty-one years old.  My life is far from over.

For whatever reason, I have been nursing the notion that this two years abroad is the last time I'll be free to see the world.  Which is just ridiculous.  It's no small wonder I've been feeling so disappointed.  I couldn't have fit all of my travel goals into the past two years if I'd spent every day in a different city.  I have no idea why I was trying.  I am not the sort of person to stay in one place forever.  I know in my heart I will be jumping from continent to continent for years to come.  I will see pyramids, volcanos, Vatican City, the Carribbean, and Versailles.  But I don't have to see it all before my next birthday.

Beautiful, rainy Paris, last August.
So while I'm still packing in as many wonderful daytrips as I can manage, the enormous sense of forboding has been lifted.  I am lucky to have checked so many items off my to-see list.  I will never know what I did to deserve two such indulgent years.  And yet those two years are only a small chapter in my life.  There is much more to come, and I truly believe it will only get better from here.

9 comments:

  1. You've got it Carrie -- there is a lifetime to explore the world and check off those dreams on your bucket list. And from what I can see here -- you are making the most of every second. What German food did you eat??

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    1. I had an amazing steak covered with thick garlic sauce, and potatoes cooked in butter with bacon and scallions. Delicious! But the gelato from down the street afterward was even better. ;)

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  2. Carrie - I am so glad that you came to this realisation. You are so young and you have so much time. You are very lucky to have found such a wonderful husband right off the bat - that makes the rest of your life's journey all the better. I'm so excited for your next chapter, but definitely soak up the rest of your time in Germany. Glad you're back on the blog. I think I might get mine back up and running again as well. -Kels

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    1. Kelsey, I missed you last Monday!

      I agree, I feel so completely blessed to have found Kyle, and very fortunate to have had these traveling opportunities so early! But looking ahead, I see Niagara Falls, NYC, DC, and a trip or two across the Canadian border in my future... And maybe as a bonus, a trip somewhere more tropical next summer? ;)

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  3. Whatever you do and wherever you go, just keep writing about it - that's what I'm saying, lol! I still LOVE your blog! Thanks for sharing! Enjoy!

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    1. Thank YOU for reading. Great readers make blogging so much more worthwhile. :)

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  4. You're exactly right!! You have all the time in the world......

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Holli! I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

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  5. You've sure got it! Sometimes it's hard to not get wrapped up in the moment, but you're absolutely right, you have a long life ahead of you and plenty of time to cross off every single thing on your bucket list =]

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