*with humble apologies to Dr. Seuss.
It’s day eleven of Blogging University: Blogging 101. With two weeks down and one to go, I’ve learned a lot.
Today’s assignment is to
publish a post based on your own, personalized take on a blogging prompt.
The prompt is
Places: beach, mountain, forest, or somewhere else entirely?
Where Am I?
When daisies pied and violets blue
And lady-smocks all silver-white
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight,
Love’s Labours Lost (5.2.900-4)
In 1989, single and unencumbered, I flew to Europe with a backpack and stayed for two months. I traveled mostly by train, but also by bus and boat. The best days were those spent on foot, exploring small towns, large cities and everything in between. I covered ten countries in all, including most of the British Aisles as well as France, Belgium, Germany, Spain and Switzerland.
I traveled on a shoe string, working from a copy of Let’s Go Europe. Staying in youth hostels made the trip affordable and fun. I met travelers from around the world and in addition to their good company, I learned about other places to stop along the way.
It seems a life time ago, and of course in many ways it is. I’ve since married and had two boys, started a small organizing business and moved to San Jose. When I look at this photo, though, all the memories come back. Photographs, much like music or a certain smell, have a way of transporting you back in time. I remember buying the dress I’m wearing and the sweater to go with it. Those comfortable, ubiquitous sandals carried me everywhere. It was a thrill to step foot in this aging town and to learn more about its history.
A woman I met at one of the youth hostels snapped this photo on a warm, July day. Then we explored the sites together. We were still buying rolls of film in those days and developing them at a nearby drug store. It was here that I bought the first of many travel patches that I would later sew on my backpack.
Of course lots of the memories are lost with the years. Sometimes I want to peer outside of the photos edge, to see what might be there. I remember arriving but not departing and I don’t remember any of the meals. I wonder if I’m really that close to the river’s edge or is it simply an artifact of the camera’s lens?
What I do know is this: Traveling alone on another continent was one of the most enriching experiences of my life. There were times when I was lonely, cranky and scared, but they were far outweighed by the interesting people I met along the way and the tremendous sense of independence that comes from finding your way in a distant land. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Can you guess where I am from these clues?