My First Eurotrip – Love and Terror.
In July of last year, my close friend Joma and I ventured to Europe. We passed through London, Paris, Milan and Nice by plane and train within a total of two weeks. I have to admit, of all the trips I had been on and had coming down the pipeline at the time, this was the one I was least excited about. There were a few reasons for this:
- Europe is definitely one of the more heavily explored continents in the world and I prefer to venture to less “touristy” destinations.
- I prefer nature trips over city trips any day, and at the time, I definitely viewed Europe as the hotspot for all the trendiest cities that everyone spoke about (which is great, but not exactly what I gravitate towards).
- I find that I enjoy more rural or underdeveloped areas versus developed.
We began our journey in Paris. To be honest, we had a “meh” time. The monuments were beautiful (the Eiffel Tower, Arc De Triomphe, and the Louvre are pictured above), and the food was good, but sadly, we didn’t get to connect with the locals in the way we would have liked to, and connecting with locals is what Joma and I thrive upon when we travel.
On Day 3 of our Eurotrip, after a quick flight, we arrived in London, and we immediately got a different vibe (you’re probably familiar with this part of the story in my post about “Why You Should Tinder Abroad“). We were staying at the Citizen M Hotel in Bankside, and upon arriving we ventured to a nearby bar where we chatted with witty bartenders, and got a taste of what the next few days would bring. Later that night we met up with a group of strangers who would quickly become our extended British family, and we ended up spending every day/night that we had in London with them. This was the weekend that I met and fell in love with my boyfriend Emil, and is thus the reason I’ve spent more time in Europe than I ever thought I would, to spend time with him. We stayed at the amazing Artist Residence Boutique Hotel in Pimlico for the second half of our London stay, and we closed out this eventful chapter with a Soulection show at Kokos and a night at Pop Brixton. I departed London on the happiest high.
I wished those 4 dreamy days in London would never end, but alas, we eventually had to move on to Milan, where we were absolutely captivated by the beauty of the architecture. The Piazza del Duomo is something else, and quite a sight to behold in person. The intricate and elaborate details are not done justice in any photo I’ve ever seen, and its scale is only truly understood in real life. I suggest everyone see it at least once in their lifetime. We booked an Airbnb in a prime location, walking distance to the city center. We shopped, ate, drank wine, and took a boat ride through the canals.
For our final stop, we took a gorgeous, scenic train ride from Milan to Nice, France. As timing would have it, the night that we arrived was the night of the Bastille Day terrorist attack at the Promenade, and our Airbnb was a short 7-minute walk from the Promenade (yes, we somehow found ourselves right in the heart of a legitimate terrorist attack) – but that full story is for an in-depth blog post of its own. We heard the gunshots, saw people running while holding injured body parts, saw people crying, and saw people taking shelter in nearby hotel lobbies. As a matter of fact, the only reason we weren’t on the Promenade watching the fireworks ourselves, was because Joma happened to not be feeling too well that evening. We were so lucky. Despite the terrifying events that occurred on the evening of the attack, and the eerie silence that fell upon the city the day after, Emil (the amazing guy that I had met only a week before in London but was somehow already falling in love with) booked a plane ticket and met us in Nice, and the 3 of us still managed to make the most of our time in the beautiful coastal city. We were able to connect with the locals in different way than we were used to, exchanging stories about their friends who were affected by the attack and about how life inevitably goes on … it was a study in empathy for us all.
I cherish this trip and all the lessons it brought about so much, and I’ll never forget the incredibly polarizing feelings it evoked. It was the trip where I fell in love and the trip where we got a taste of some the very real risks involved when you step outside of your comfort zone. I’ve always promised myself that I will never operate in fear; and although that experience in Nice certainly embedded a sense of wariness when I travel that is still present to this day, it also simultaneously reinforced that promise to myself. I could easily wish that we didn’t go on this trip so that we wouldn’t have been caught in the middle of that horrifying night, but that would also mean that I wouldn’t have met Emil, and that I wouldn’t have acquired the heightened sense of appreciation for life that I possess today. Because of these things, I simply wouldn’t have had it any other way.
So take it from me – terrifying and beautiful things can (and will) happen when you step outside of your comfort zone. Just remember that no matter what happens – good or bad – so long as you have the right mindset, everything can be used as seeds for growth. And what might initially seem like an unlucky situation, may very well turn out to be a lucky one, if you open your heart up to it. <3
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