GymMapStics

Traveling the world one gymnastics meet at a time

Reflections on Six Months (!!!) of Travel

I reflect on six months on the road. 

I cannot believe it has been six moths since I broke up with Boston and left to travel full time. Some days I like I left my empty room in my apartment and departed for the airport with only my backpack yesterday and other days I feel like my next stop is the old people home because I have been traveling for a hundred years. 

 I am somewhat surprised I am still going and surprised I have spent so long on my own. I did not eat dinner for the first two weeks of college because as a freshman living in a single in an upper classmen dorm, I had no one to eat with and would rather not eat than eat alone. Now I have traveled through most of Europe alone. 

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Lots of stupid selfies happen when you travel solo.

I often feel like I am a freshman in college again. I sleep in a bunk bed, shower wearing flips flops, has met and continue to meet tons of new people from new places, and often times I wander in a large group looking for a place to drink alcohol.

I do not hate Facebook as much as I did a few months ago. My Newsfeed comprised of engagements, babies, home design projects, weddings, and other stuff that honestly did not interest me. Now I mostly sees new friends on their own travels.

I also become somewhat sad about all the people I meet who I will most likely never see again but then I run into people a few weeks or months later. 

When I say I am ifrom Boston people immediately question my lack of accent.

When people attempt an American accent it is always a gruff southern accent and there is always a mention of guns. Always.

The United States is huge. Some Europeans seem to have a weird point of pride that only a certain percentage of Americans have passports but they do not realize that American’s can travel much more extensively than Europeans can without a passport. For example, Ireland and Britain are islands and you need a passport to get anywhere outside them. You can drive from Maine to California to Seattle then hop a plane to Hawaii and then to Alaska, all without a passport.

People in Europe know a lot more about American politics than American’s know about European politics and in some cases more than many Americans know about American politics. 

I thought I learned Spanish in school but it turns out I studied Mexican, which has been confirmed by both Mexicans and Spaniards.

Luckily for me, English is the language of travel and tourism but nodding, smiling, and pointing are universal, as is the motion of shooing someone off a bus before it’s time to board.

Smoking is still very much a thing in Europe. I realize how successful all the no smoking ads were at completely changing the culture in the United States. I met an Italian guy who studied abroad in the US who said he felt like such an outsider because he smoked and then he saw anti-smoking ads and was blown away by how unhealthy it is. He told me this story while sitting there smoking a cigarette. 

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I still have not visited a concentration camp.

Kahlua, Baileys, and borscht make for a rough Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.

People sing karaoke in five languages in Romania.

If I hadn’t left my debit card in Serbia, I never would have met someone who told me to visit Cappadocia, which might be the coolest place I’ve ever been.

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I watched an old lady and a pregnant lady will fight over a seat on a train in Portugal.

Thanks God planes always board late or else I never would have made it to Africa.

I was the only person in my hostel in Novi Sad,  Serbia and discussed South Park and Yelp with the guy working there. He saw Yelp on South Park and tried to add the hostel to the website but yelp hasn’t yet reached Serbia.

I also watched the Kardashians in Novi Sad because it wasn’t dubbed. Whatever.

have used my travel insurance four times and it paid for itself each time.  Always buy travel insurance.

I am becoming so attached the gymnasts I’ve seen compete at the World Challenge Cups I’ve attended. 

I attempted to reach Dubrovnik twice before I finally made it on the third try.

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I wish I hadn’t hated Spain but I did. My favorite part was ziplining over a river in Toledo. 

I have realized making plans is useless because they always change. I planned on hanging out in Romania for a while and now am in Macedonia. I then was going to go up through Kosovo to Montenegro and now I’m making my way back to Bucharest to fly to Milan to get to Bern for European Championships. 

Stay tuned for a possible one year of travel reflection in another six months. 

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Kerry Joyce • 25/05/2016


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