So many thoughts, so many feelings, so many memories.
We finished our trip two weeks ago and only now I begin to process all the experiences this trip has imprinted upon me. Like a treasure covered in a fresh layer of mud, it is best to wait for it to dry before slowly chipping away at the edges to uncover what’s beneath.
When I first travelled – a month long solo train trip through Europe – I thought I would never forget anything that happened during these weeks. I really believed that. The experience was so intense, everything was so new, that I recorded everything. I would remember conversations with strangers word for word, weeks or even months later. Now, ten years later I barely remember which cities I went to, let alone where I stayed, or who I met. Oddly enough, there are completely random moments that still stick out: eating a really bad pizza while watching the sunset in Venice. Police on the street in Zagreb (but why? I don’t remember), taking a wrong tram in Athens. But the one most overwhelming memory of the whole trip that still remains ten years later is the feeling of independence, of not having to explain myself to anyone, of being able to do whatever I wanted, for the first time in my life.
It is impossible to predict which memories will stay, and which ones will be gone forever. Already things are starting to blur. Was that beautiful river campsite in Turkey or in Greece? Did we have that delicious meal in Italy or France? I am sure that, ten years from now, I will have a hard time retracing our route, and that half of the people we met will be forgotten. But I do hope that the one feeling that remains is the incredible sense of gratitude for the strangers that helped us, hosted us or just brightened our day. The realization that most people in the world are really good people. That there are people who care. That there’s always a way that things work out, or if they don’t, it is not that bad, really. Because we all need that.