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The Reviewer World Traveller

http://reviewermagazine.com/world-travel-steff/Travel Section

Traveling The World One Continent At A Time

By Stephanie Freedman

[Click here for the Slideshow]

This summer meant an array of things for me. It meant going home to my parents house in northern California for another summer of house parties talking about the good old days. It meant turning 21 and planning that infamous trip to Vegas for a weekend of debauchery. Last but not least, it meant having to confront a failed relationship from a couple months before. While all of this sounded appealing don’t get me wrong, it had the terrible cliché undertone that just wasn’t doing it for me. I felt like I was at one of those life stops where going back to revisit where you came from just doesn’t feel like it used to and jumping head first into a new journey sounded to final. What I really needed was an escape, I was looking for a way to freeze time and take a path that had nothing to with my past and was taking me nowhere into my future. While I didn’t know exact where that was I did know is that I was looking for a sign of how I was going to spend my next couple of months.

My sign came in a form of a water fountain. I was taking a break from class and was getting some water and looked up and saw this brochure with a catch phrase inquiring if I wanted to travel the world. I felt like there was literally lights glowing behind this phrase. Hell yea, I wanted to travel the world. While I opened the brochure I was a little disappointed to find that traveling the world was not an option (at least with this specific tour) but I did find myself interested in a 35 day tour across Europe. So I took a chance.

Without telling anyone I signed up for the trip with the promise that by the end I was going to see places I’ve never seen, meet people I have never met, and experienced things I have yet to experience. I left for Greece on June 26th, 2008 and while boarding the plane I couldn’t help but to think that the next time I was back in the United States I would be greeted with a new liberation that no Vegas trip could have ever given me. Upon arrival I directed myself to the bar for my first legal drink of the trip (this was definitely one of many). This trip took our group everywhere. We went to Athens and as stereotypical as this may be I was taken back by the beautiful side streets, with the live music and the environment thriving with culture.

We transferred to the island of Corfu on a this beautiful cruise liner. This bus picked us up and took us to the best (in my opinion) hos tel I’ve ever seen. We drove up to this extravagant pink building called The Pink Palace and the staff immediately greeted us with pink colored ouzo. This hostel did everything. Quading, kayaking, hiking, cliff jumping, cave diving, booze cruises, and partying by night. The staff was a group of people from Australia that visited the hostel on a trip, fell in love with it, and just never left. This place is THAT much fun. As the stay came to an end, I was a little sad that we were leaving but I was definitely excited for what the rest of what the tour had in store. The rest of the trip was a world wind. Beer gardens and bike tours in Germany, endless French fries in Belgium, white water rafting in Austria, wine tasting in Italy, crepes in front of Eiffel tower in Paris, partying in front of the Coliseum in Rome, and of course a couple days of debauchery in Amsterdam.

Ah, Amsterdam. All the rumors are true, this place is insane. Within an hour of arriving I found me and a group of people gravitating to the infamous coffee shops in order to experience the culture first hand. The shops were these glorious hole in the wall places playing reggae and offering the coolest vibe in the world. While I could have easily spent the whole night there, my curiosity took the best of me and I found myself wondering to check out the red light district. This place was easily the biggest culture shock of the trip. Neon lights flashing “Live Sex Shows” and scantily clad women automatically met my eyes. What really stuck me was the openness of the whole street. This place is a sexual playground and no one is around to judge or apologize for it. The rest of my stay was a haze which I was informed insinuated that I spent my time correctly but all I can say that I left determined to never let that openness leave my mentality for my foundation of liberation that was built upon boarding the plane was growing into a beautiful new outlook on life. What was a perfect outlet in contingency to all the different things we were doing, was all the time I had in between countries while we were taking buses from place to place. This time was just as crucial as the actual actions themselves.

This time offered me the perfect excuse of self reflection. At times me and my tour group would be on the bus for ten hours. This really allowed me to sit back and just write, read and think. I brought a travel journal and I really pushed myself to try to document every thought, every theory that the tour was inspiring. The things written within those pages will stay with me for the rest of my life and continue on as a reminder of the wonders that life and this world has to offer. Looking around me I saw a group of people that started out as strangers, and I left behind as me family. I will always be a travel enthusiast because I am a firm believer that traveling to another country is the only way to free your mind. Nothing compares to the freedom that travel hands you. No book, no class, no job will teach you the things the traveling has to offer.

Giving yourself the option of seeing the world offers you a life of no boundaries, no limits. You view your body in a whole new light. You see your feet as tools taking you where you need to go, you view your eyes as windows, allowing you to see what you are meant to see. Each person you come across is a teacher, with their own personal truth that they are willing to show you if you just listen. There’s a whole other world out there that is more than willing to show itself to you as long as you approach it with an element of wonder. I arrived home having spent my last 35 traveling across nine countries with a fresh attitude on the next journey that life would take me on. I felt like a could take on the world, one continent at a time.

[efcollegebreak.com]

SBF

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