About Me

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I'm a 30 something who loves to travel.  I have a full time job and enjoy writing (or blogging) about my travels.  I've traveled through several countries in Europe as well as Russia and Egypt.  I also enjoy domestic travel in the United States, including Disney.  My long term travel goal is to do a round the world trip.  

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Evolution of a Traveler, Part 2

Part 2 of my evolution...

In 2005 I decided it was time to take another Contiki tour, this time I wanted to go to Europe. I signed up the for the 2 week tour, European Discovery. On May 8 my passport and I headed to London. I did well when I got to London, I got on the right underground with the right ticket and got to the right stop, I had done my research. I had even learned that when I came out of the underground station that I was supposed to go left. I looked left, but it didn’t seem right, I thought maybe I came out the wrong entrance so I went right. I guess the underground isn’t like the Subway, there was only one entrance and I was supposed to go left. But I found the hotel and checked myself in and all was well for the night.

The next morning I took one of those hop on and off tour buses. I hopped on and had to switch in Trafalgar Square. I was going to hang out in Trafalgar Square until a walking tour with the bus company, but I panicked and decided that I should just sit on the bus all day. I was a little freaked out at this point, I don’t think that at this point I even knew where the street signs were (they’re on the buildings not little sticks on the corner like at home.) After the bus went around Trafalgar Square I decided to stop being a wimp and get off. It was a rough day, I did do my walking tour and I got off the bus to see the Tower of London and even found my way back to the hotel in time for my tour meeting, but none of it came naturally, I was so far out of my comfort zone and I was afraid of getting lost.

That night I met with my tour and for the next two weeks I was rarely alone. I always had someone with me to help find our way. I wasn’t always the person trying to find our way, but I learned to do it and even though I wasn’t great at it, I could do it. Getting lost didn’t seem so likely now. After the tour I came back to London and the morning before flying home I had a few hours to kill. I had a moment of being intimidated. I had an offer to just sleep late and head to the airport early with someone else, but I would have gotten to Heathrow really early and I wouldn’t have done anything with this extra morning I had intentionally given myself. I decided instead to go on the London Eye. I opened up my tube map and figured out what I had to do. I just had to stop in Trafalgar Square on the way to the London Eye, there was a market there that I wanted to buy one last thing at. I got to Trafalgar Square and had a moment. I stood there and realized how far I had come as a traveler… Two weeks ago I was afraid to get off the tour bus, now I was running around London confidently with my map knowing that I would get where I had to be. I actually had a physical reaction. I started to hyperventilate, and I was in that instant realizing how far I had come and it was overwhelming. Everyday for the past two weeks I was slowly getting to be more comfortable with being in these new places and getting to know them without being so intimidated. Now I could see how that had all affected me. It's like when you don't see someone for a while and when you do they have lost 100 pounds and the change really hits you. It was a great feeling, aside from not being able to breath.