I am obsessed with cobblestone street and old architecture but most of my current interests stem from my extensive travels in Europe in since 2014. Growing up as a third culture kid, I turned out to be such a curious, open-minded and eclectic person today. Traveling while living in Europe has broadened my world perspective in ways that I am only beginning to fully appreciate. Every weekend getaway to an interesting place with delicious food, quirky people and narrow, medieval streets is refreshing for me.
While studying in the UK, my first visit to mainland Europe was to Italy; the land of wine, the birthplace of numerous art movements and one of the origins of Western civilization. The Italian culture was simply divine, and I drank up every moment I could. Although that trip was a bit of a disaster due to my passport getting stolen, I knew I was not done with Italy. And now here I am living here for over a year and a half. When I finished my Masters at KCL, I headed back home to Jakarta on September 8 2012. On September 8 2014 (exactly after 2 years), I boarded on a flight to Sweden and that is when my European adventure began. I have been working full time and traveling on weekends since then. Europe feels like home and in several ways, I feel more comfortable her than I have ever felt before.
Here are a few things I learned in the past few years as a resident in Europe.
Learn to observe your surroundings.
I love people watching and every single person I see, whether they were walking their dog with a glass of wine in their hand or talking rapidly in French into their cell phones, has a story. I love getting lost in my thoughts while wandering around in an unknown city and that’s why I often travel alone so I don’t have to justify how I spend my time to anyone. I love observing. In southern European countries for example I have noticed how people take mini siestas in brutal heat just to spend time with family and talk about their day, which I think is beautiful.
Take your camera EVERYWHERE!
A picture is worth a thousand words. You never know when you might see something snapshot-worthy. If it wasn’t for the digital age, I would never have gotten a picture of a hunched over elderly man singing Andrea Bocelli karaoke in Piazza Navona.
Learn about our insignificant problems.
Events from my youth which once bothered me and upset me seem more and more insignificant now compared to the mind-blowing wonders in Europe. How can a back-stabbing friend from 5 years ago seem important when compared to the Duomo in Florence? No chance! Let that insignificant shit go.
Public transport is the BEST in Europe.
I cannot drive and I don’t know how to ride a bike. But clearly neither have caused me any trouble while traveling all across Europe, because the public transport is so darn good.
Long-term traveling can teach you more than almost anything else.
Long-term traveling teaches you about yourself, about life, about what you need to be happy. It also really highlights just how different home is from everywhere else. For some, this can mean going home with a heightened perspective. For others, it may mean never going home. For everyone though, long-term travel will change your life.