After a wonderfully relaxing week in the Tuscan countryside, I’m now loving a few days in Paris with one of my dear college friends who’s doing a masters here. Now that I’ve spent a week visiting a bunch of new cities, I am feeling way more confident in my ability to get around Europe speaking English & French (they’re incredibly useful languages!) and taking advantage of free wifi.
The two friends I met as soon as I arrived in Florence are precious friends I studied abroad with in Zambia in 2012. We’ve walked through intense life experiences together and I consider them family. We were all in different phases of our European travel adventures, but we were able to meet up in Florence and travel around a bit at the beginning of the week. It was so nice to share certain common experiences and thoughts about life and international travel. They understand me in profound ways.
One thing the three of us agreed upon is the luxury that it is to have trusted travel companions. I am almost certain that there are some personality types that enjoy solo travel and others that don’t. I’m fairly convinced that my ENFJ self isn’t someone who would thrive while traveling alone. I LOVE sharing experiences. My plan to travel “alone” to Italy included staying with the family of an Italian friend and coincided with the travel plans of two good friends. I was definitely not intending for a week of solo travel.
On trips alone, you have to constantly monitor your surroundings and navigate alone to find your intended destination. No one’s watching your back and you have to treat every stranger with some distance and suspicion.
When you have a travel partner that you trust, however, you have someone to talk to and to consult on directions. A partner means someone to watch your back and watch your bag when you’re in the bathroom.
Having travel buddies who are also good friends has been such a treasure this trip. I’m thankful for their companionship and for our shared memories. I’m thankful for the stories we shared of our semester abroad that made me laugh so hard I cried and for the conversations about life and faith that both challenged and affirmed my heart.
Even though I thought it was absurd to have a vacation three weeks into working (and let’s be real… even my job is pretty vacation-like), it was so refreshing to be among people who are so dear to me.