“Her secret of success is that she did it all with passion.”
After a year between India and Nepal I couldn’t be more excited to start the rest of this trip in Europe. Though the culture may not be so “crazy” or different than my own in many parts, I have come to realize that what I am really in search of are good people and beautiful mountains. Though I know nearly nothing about Georgia or Armenia, from what others have told me, these countries will provide a wonderful starting point for our gigantic European tour (yes, our plans have indeed changed again). Kevin and I plan to continue on through Turkey (where my brother and best friend will join us for a few weeks during Christmas) and Eastern Europe before heading up to Finland and, after crossing the arctic circle, make our way down Norway. After heading back down through Denmark we plan to traverse the Alps and Italy, eventually ending our two year European tour in Spain and Portugal as well as Morocco (yes yes, I know it’s part of Africa not Europe) for as many months as we please. Sounds fun, right?!
“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”
Asia, more specifically India and Nepal, have taught me more about myself than I could have ever imagined. Spending a year between these countries, mostly alone as a young female, has lead to some of the best and worst experiences I have ever had. The memories of families who took me in, the beauty of the Himalayas, the wonderful nights in my tent, and the constant stares and harassment I received from trying to live in a scarily patriarchal society will stay with me forever. More than that though, this year has shown me how much I value where I grew up and the things, equality of women, openness to difference, and abolition of a ridged social hierarchy for instance, that I take for granted.
It’s scary and intense but worth the struggle to discover the colorful world of complex culture, harmful ignorance, and immense kindness that is waiting to be discovered. It’s a life changing experience to say the least, one that will leave you as a solo female feeling empowered yet disheartened, grateful yet afraid.