Friday, May 25, 2012

Life is Short. You're Only Young Once. Blah, Blah, Blah…


I'm in between houses now. Having just left my beloved Austin, I'm staying with the folks for a spell, until I can situate my next living space somewhere up north perhaps. I've had a really fantastic time being home. The town my parents raised me in is the cutest, safest, most quaint little city you've ever laid your eyes upon. So much peace and quiet, the exact opposite of life on tour. 

Too much "peace", and "safe", and "quiet" isn't great for everyone though. I've noticed my dad catching my blank stares over my morning cheerios and my longing, droopy eyelids as I'm folding my laundry in the living room. I'm not really one to open up much about concerning issues I'm having with life, unless I'm talking to Nick. Poor Nick. He gets an earful every morning, evening, and afternoon. Fortunately, when we are apart, we communicate via text message, and my thumbs don't jabber on as much as my mouth. 

The other morning, I found myself stepping outside of my comfort zone and sharing a few of my thoughts, aware that my dad sat near me at a bar stool at the kitchen counter and would most likely respond to my musings.  I figured I'd just throw the old subconscious out there and see what happened. (Sometimes I'm quite the daring woman!)

"I just love it here. Staying with you guys has been great." I began. My dad looked up from the newspaper, concern spreading across his face. I could see the wheels turning in his head cautiously, deciding if this might be the morning that he should conveniently decide the kids needed to be dropped off at school, or the dog needed immediate attending to. He must have sensed a new tone in my voice. "I'm not quite sure what to do. The tour is over. I have a lot of free time. Still haven't found a place yet."  Any father always treads on thin ice when their twenty-something adult child begins the "I need to find myself." convo.

"I'm just not sure what I'm doing right now..." 

He probably had one of his fatherly concerned looks on his face, but I didn't take the moment to look over. I simply floated up to my jeweler's studio and continued on with the day.

I had all but forgotten about my strange admissions, but my father hadn't. He wasted no time in helping his daughter out of her quandaries.

The very next morning my parents took me to view a house down the street, a beautiful, charming, perfect little house. "Do you think there's even a one in a million chance you might want to live here?" squeaked my mother in excitement, looking up at me with her kind slanted eyes. "Well, yes, I mean, I can certainly do one in a million" I admitted, as I ran my fingers across the shiny marble countertops and along the mahogany sage green cupboards that still smelled of fresh paint.

Homeownership. Exhilarating. Exhilarating and lovely.

The very next morning, after dreaming about that perfect house, while staring groggy eyed into the mirror and foaming up my mouth with crest toothpaste, my dad's cheerful grin popped up from behind the bathroom door. "I have an idea." 

Did I mention my dad's an inventor. 

(This is not my father. This is a "mad scientist" dude I found on google.)


His past inventions include (drum roll please!): 
  • "The Movie Melt", a sticker placed on VHS videos with a chemical component which changes color when the tape reaches a temperature which will damage said video.
  • "The Super Soaker", a neon yellow squirt gun with a rubber tube inside you fill up with a household hose
  • "The Back Attacker", a full length body sponge with two handles used to cleanse oneself in the shower in all those "hard-to-reach" spots. Tagline: If you scrub my back, I'll scrub yours.
  • "The pomegranate deseeder", a plastic apparatus designed to deseed an entire pomegranate with a mere tap of a spoon in under 60 seconds! 


Hmm…I spit into the sink and rinse wondering if perhaps this time he had solved every mother's lament with potty-training their children with a plastic talking doll? But, no. He said, "Travel." I stared at him blankly and blinked. Travel. "Travel!" he repeated this time with more gusto, swooping up both of his arms creating an imaginary globe. "What other time in your life will you be able to do this? You're young. You're not tied down. Don't worry about the money! If I could go back and do it again, I would travel when I was YOUNG!" 

I couldn't help but feel butterflies in my stomach and a smile forming on my face as his contagious excitement lurched toward me. He blurted out foreign countries: Panama, South America, the Phillipenes. In my head I mentally corrected him: Paris, Barcelona, Rome. I forgot to wipe the water dripping down my chin at this point as I stepped back from the sink and began jumping up and down with him. 



Travel. What do you think? Yes, yes, I know. "But Meg" you point out, "All you do is travel!" Yes, that may be so, but have I ever traveled outside of the country extensively to the places I have alway wanted to visit with no agenda other than to explore and have great adventures?" The answer is no!

Has anyone ever been backpacking in Europe or been to any foreign countries? What are your life changing experiences?

Honestly,
Meg

49 comments:

  1. This reminds me of that song. "Place where I feel most like me"

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  3. I just took a short trip to Japan last month and it was certainly an eye-opening experience if not a life-changing one. I realized that there are so many things in life that I just take for granted, what I consider "normal" is not even close to being the case somewhere else. I think I have made a similar revelation in my life lately, while I'm still young I need to go out and see as much as I can. Happy traveling Meg!

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    1. What did you find that you considered "normal" that actually wasn't once you traveled specifically?

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  4. I was born in Germany and I lived there for 6 years. I've lived in Indiana, New jersey, and now I live in Utah.

    I've traveled to Poland, France, Denmark, Canada, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, and Vietnam.

    When I was 17 I asked my dad if I could "go to Canada for the weekend" to which he replied "sure" without asking as to why or what I was doing there. I had quite a time at immigration as they were more concerned for my safety than my father was. I went there to a photography workshop on photographing naked women in a studio.

    Then when I was 19 I was in a long distance relationship with a Vietnamese girl and at one point I was able to actually fly over there.

    All other places I've just been there for vacation.

    Vietnam was fantastic. I swear it's an entirely different world, especially if you've never been to Asia before. I'd love to revisit it or maybe go to China, Japan, or Korea!

    Definitely check out a Central/South American country. Costa Rica and Puerto Rico were both breathtakingly beautiful and I loved the food! (Well, to be honest I always love the food when I travel!).

    Being from Germany I highly recommend it. You can't go wrong. The people are very friendly and there's just so much to see.

    Even travelling around the US can be fun without an agenda. My favorite cities include: Boston, Seattle, and San Francisco. I'm sure you've been to all of those before, but I thought I'd mention it anyways.

    -Johannes

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    1. You've been all over and find yourself back in vanilla Utah. Same story here. Utah is a great place to find stability after a lot of crazy travel. What made you do so much traveling so young?

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    2. I'm in Utah for school. I graduate in 9 months and I plan to head further west to California. But quite honestly I have no idea where life will take me. I don't think anyone does.

      When I was really young my family didn't have a lot of money. But when we moved to the US and my father got a couple of promotions, money became less of an issue and I had more opportunities to travel. I am very grateful for that.

      Soon I'll be on my own and I'll have to make ends meet by myself. But travelling is something I never want to give up. There's a whole world out there, literally!

      When I get to the point of getting married and having kids I'd like to move back to Germany. I think it'll be a good place to raise kids. It's where I have the happiest memories of my life. I think everyone is attached to where they were born in one way or another.

      -Johannes

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  5. I went to Vietnam before for a few months to visit family, really beautiful country. Its really hot but its such an experience to go in the summer with the monsoons, pouring like no other! And to have authentic Viet food is the only way haha, beaches have gorgeous views of the small islands and fishing boats and sand dune sliding:)
    I too have ambitions to travel, would love to go to Europe and south america and maybe visit deep Mexico by the ruins to see the marvelous architecture. Anyways I'm a dreamer and a rambler, I hope you decide to go backpacking and see the world...life changing experiences don't by very often Meg:)

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    1. Aren't we all dreamers and ramblers? I hope so:)

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  6. I was about to travel to Europe for about 20-25 days this month... Then I got a job. I would have been to all these places in the image below linked below. Very good deal, and the group I would have went with would be primarily college students. However the group is open for 18-35 year olds. The flight would have only been just short of a grand for ROUND TRIP. Cool thing about the package was the tour takes you to lots of the well known monument types of places as well as off the beaten path locations. In addition, some meals are included and whereas others are self feed. Meaning you can spend time to walk about and explore then pick where you want to eat. Poooey, if I went I would have went to Disneyland in PARIS =O Anyhow I am a bit bummed I didn't go and use it as a graduation gift, but now I'm working I can upgrade or have more spending money on the next trip! I forgot to mention there are different packages and prices. You can backpack, camp, stay in hostels, or "nicer hotels" as well as island hop. The picture below doesn't have the additional Greek Islands. To island hop it would be about an extra grand. You can visit places like Santorini... have you ever seen a sunset in SANTORINI? Google "santorini sunset" haha it looks beautiful.

    Here is the picture: http://yfrog.com/4bk0qfg



    It's the perfect time in you're life Meg. I'd say do it! Maybe I'll tag along if you let me ;)

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    1. A grand for round trip is so cheap! I've been looking online and all I can find are trips for a grand one way! Although, I have found that kayak.com seems to have the cheapest options. The routing looked really awesome. It's a bummer you didn't get to go, but a job is nice too. Hopefully you'll get a vacation break soon and can maybe fit in a small trip. And no I have never seen a sunset in Santorini. Although the photos on google are beautiful, I'm sure they don't do it justice!

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  7. I'm from Australia and I'm currently halfway through a two year working holiday in the UK. I've been living in London the past year and honestly, it's been the time of my life. The people I've met here are my family and the experiences I've had and the places that I've seen have been beyond anything I imagined when I decided to apply for a visa. I've had a few holiday around Europe and a few weekend trips. Just last month, I spent a long weekend in Prague! Being from Australia and therefore so damn far away from the rest of the world, it's been such a great experience having the chance to say, "Well, it's my weekend off, where do I want to go for explore for a few days?" In a few months, I'll be quitting my job and taking off for a two month trip around Europe before coming back to London for another white Christmas (and finding another job...eek!)

    But more than that, I'm now ready to move on with my real life. Before I came here, I was bored and restless, living in the town I grew up in (which I adore, but still was very over it.) I didn't know what I 'wanted to be when I grew up' or what direction I wanted to take my life in. I thought two years here wouldn't be enough, but now only halfway through it, I know that next year I'll be ready to go home, pick a direction and attack life with as much gusto that I have while over here. Travelling has given me a newfound passion for life and for the future. I always wanted to be an adventurer and now I'm living my dream! It's made me a better, more confident and happier person. I'm excited about everything now.

    I really hope that if you do decide to travel, it does the same for you. And if you need a mate to meet at a pub in London, I'll be around! :)

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    1. A "working holiday". Isn't that kind of an oxymoron? haha. I want to go to Prague! Paris and Prague are my two musts! What kind of work were you doing over there?

      You know, I can really relate to mostly everything in your comment. This is exactly what I've been feeling! "moving on with real life" and knowing what you "want to be when you grow up" are still things I'm trying to figure out, and at my age!

      I hope you don't mind if I use some of your comment in an upcoming post? I love everything you said here! Thanks for your thoughts:)

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    2. Oops, sorry took a while for me to get back to you!

      Haha, yeah a two year break from real life isn't quite the same when you still have to work! I'm working in a small B&B in West London. It's been a great way to save money because I live here and my boss doesn't charge me rent.

      It's tough to be at the age where people expect you to have some sort of direction for the future. I'm 26 and all my friends are settling down, getting married, having babies and I can't think of anything I want to do less! I always wanted to be a gypsy and travel around, being free and spontaneous. I hope I can still hold onto that spirit when I get home, but even if I only get these two years to be that person, then that's pretty awesome.

      I don't mind at all! I'm always glad to chat to another person who feels the same sort of restlessness and anxiety about 'real life' that I do :)

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  8. Meg,
    This past summer I took the opportunity to study abroad for a month on a program which took me all around Greece (and to Istanbul, Turkey). It was seriously one of the most spectacular experiences I've ever had: I was exposed to a new culture, rode a donkey up and down a REALLY really steep hill, tried Greek food (so fresh, so yummy), swam in the Aegean Sea, walked on the same ground as Plato and Socrates!? It was so amazing I can't believe it happened! Sounds like you wanna travel in Europe anyway... while you're there I definitely recommend you visit Greece.

    Oh, and if you do end up going, try George's Gyros near the Stanley Hotel in Athens!! Haha!

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    1. I love that you rode a donkey! You totally made my day. haha. If only I could be so lucky. What did you study over there? Did you take a full course load or just a class or two?

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    2. The donkey ride was fun and incredibly frightening... The cliff is so dang steep, the ride is bumpy as heck, and the donkey seriously does not care for the fact that you're riding him/her... I'd have to push my feet against the wall so that he wouldn't bump me into it! But it was so worth it~

      I studied ancient Greek history! It counted as two classes. Honestly though, I don't really remember the studying part so much... hehehe.

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  9. I've never been to a faraway country, but I want to!! I''m considering studying abroad during my junior year at college; everyone I have talked to about studying abroad always gushes about how great and awesome their own traveling experiences were, and how they would totally do it again if they were young and not tied down. So everyone I have talked to highly encourages it, and I have never met anyone who has regretted traveling to faraway places :)

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    1. Two of my best girlfriends studied abroad together actually. They loved it. I think that would be the best scenario actually, to learn in a foreign place. Too bad I didn't register for classes this year... I'll have to do what I've always done: study on my own, which might be a little difficult with a Parisian sunset behind me.

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  10. I lived in China for a year and then France for a year. I'd recommend both, although I certainly enjoyed France more, probably because I speak French and because Europe is so small that traveling is super easy (no, seriously, I went to 13 countries in 8 months on a super-tiny assistant's salary). Of all the places I've been, Rome was up there on the list of favorites, but so was Scotland and even those odd places you might pass up are cool too, like Slovenia and Budapest.

    Oh, and while in Europe, you must try kebabs, unless you are vegetarian, then I don't know... All French cheeses are delicious, and if you go to Amiens (small town in the north of France, 'bout an hour or so out of Paris), you must go to Le Pataterie restaurant on the canal - it's an entire restaurant of baked potatoes and it was the best baked potato I've ever had.

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    1. Oh, and I suppose I should add that living abroad definitely changed my outlook on life and how I conduct myself. I'm much more outgoing than I was before. I went to China immediately after graduating college so I really had no idea what I was doing, and by the time I went to France the next year, I was much better prepared to live in a different culture, and even then there was still plenty more to learn and grow from. I wouldn't trade my years abroad for anything.

      I just wish I knew what I wanted to do with my life. That was supposed to help me out, but after a year back in the States, I still have no idea.

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    2. You went to 13 countries on a tiny salary?! How did you work your budget over there? Do you think I could try to do it pretty cheap? I definitely don't want to stay in hostels every night, but probably will quite a few times.

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    1. He really is the best. He's the one I have to thank for starting Chandler in the first place actually, because in the beginning, I thought it was a pretty crazy idea.

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  12. One of my dreams is to travel the world. I just need lots of $$$ haha I was actually just in London last year. It's a little touristy, but it's a beautiful city. There is so much to do there! It's definitely worth checking out. Also, check out Wales if you get a chance. Absolutely stunning. It's so gorgeous. The Gower Peninsula is breathtaking. I think my next trip is going to be to Italy. I would love to go to Ireland and Switzerland too. Oh and also Australia. And of course back to where I was born, South Korea. Just everywhere pretty much :)

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    1. Ha ha. Katie, you think like me wanting to visit everywhere. I think I'm going to have to narrow it down a bit though... Does your mom make killer kimchi too?

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    2. I wish my mom made kimchi!! Love bulgogi though. We have this great place where I live that makes aweosome bulgogi :)

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  13. Ireland, Switzerland, Spain, and PARIS!!! Loved all of these places with my whole heart and hope to visit each of them again someday!! You should definitely travel and have some European adventures and eat gelato and chocolate croissants on a daily basis while you're there. Europe is creatively inspiring!

    Ps. Loved this cute post!

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    1. Chocolate Croissants and gelato! Yes! That's what I'm talking about. And coffee and cafes and painters on cobblestone streets...yes please!

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  14. Overseas travel is a great experience, especially for people who like to see life through the lenses of others. It sounds like you already know some of the places you'd like to see, and Rome and Paris are every bit as wonderful as you think they'll be. In Rome, you'll be walking along the street and all of a sudden it will open out onto some fantastic fountain or statue that has been around for centuries. Starting at 8 or 9 at night, families and street performers fill the squares and you can hear the hum of their conversations and laughter filling the night air. Despite the rumors, I found Paris to be quite clean, and I didn't think the French were rude as long as you conducted yourself as a guest in their country. I'm no travel book expert, but Rick Steve's books have proven pretty good for tourism trips.

    I've also been to Damascus (wonderful, but not recommended right now with all the upheaval), Nepal, and Northeastern China. Nepal was a difficult month, but then I was in the outskirts and not the main cities. I could be wrong, but it seemed like a tamer, more manageable version of India (which I haven't visited), but less exciting. China was a great experience for me, but it's superficially very Western so you could easily miss the deep cultural differences. In China, Beijing is obviously a popular destination, but some of the "smaller" cities like Dalian or Guangzhou might offer you a better time. By the way, I went to Nepal and China after I learned about you guys, and your voices have had airtime in both countries from my phone. Listening to Dia's version of Such Great Heights while on a terrifyingly tortuous jeep ride in the mountains of Nepal was particularly satisfying.

    The biggest suggestions I would make about travel are these: don't go alone, try to learn a few phrases of language before you travel (maybe buy a pocket-sized phrasebook), and if at all possible have a purpose other than just tourism (not always possible). I say don't go alone of course for safety concerns, but it's more than that. Travel is a great way to bond with people, especially in those stressful, less-than-ideal situations that are inevitable. Also, we store memories not just in our own brains, but in other people, too. Years later it will be nice to talk to that person or persons and have a memory leap up and surprise you. Another reason to travel with others is that, especially if your trip is 3 weeks or longer, you need someone of your own culture to interact with as a rest from the new culture, and you can help each other process what you are experiencing.

    Now about the last suggestion regarding having a purpose. I don't know what that might look like for you, or even if it's practical for what you're considering. But when you are a student, or an English teacher, or a volunteer (medical, construction, etc.), for example, you are temporarily doing life in another world and it can bring you into contact with natives and situations that become the most precious and the most memorable for you. There's definitely fun and benefit to be had from a purely tourist trip, to be sure. But I feel like those times I've had a purpose for being in the country are the ones that actually changed me the most and broadened my thoughts the most and stretched my empathy the most.

    Oh, and the one person's suggestion about packing light is a key one. You can wear anything for multiple days before having to change clothes, and the less luggage you can carry, the less of a target you are for scammers, thieves, etc.

    Anyway, just my three cents. I would look forward to hearing whatever music was inspired by any travels you and/or the rest of the band might have. It would be a pleasure to learn what people like you, with souls as big as planets, gain from your experiences.

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    1. I've heard about Rick Steve's books on a few travel blogs I've been diving into. I'm really going to have to check him out. I totally agree with your comment on "having a purpose". Most of the traveling I've done out of the country that haven't been while I was touring with the band, have been really "touristy" and I found myself languid. I think that's the word I'm looking for. That's why I was thinking I could maybe take some French classes or get inspiration for jewelry designs and music. Really great point though.

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  15. Just pick a place and go. No matter where you go and what you do there will leave some sort of impact on you. How "life changing" it is will be an unknown. Just enjoy that you're in a place for longer than a couple hours and you get to experience more than a couple square blocks around a venue or a hotel while on a hunt for food/coffee. My bestfriend is a TM, so I understand "tour life" and not being able to experience the places you go.

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    1. So true! That's what I'm excited about, to have the freedom to do anything and everything and not be on any sort of agenda. I think I'm going to "wing it" and book a ticket there and that's it. Once I get there, I'll figure things out as I go.

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  16. I really enjoyed this post! And I'm excited for you if you go on a trip! I'd love to hear all about your adventures and see lots of pictures! Would you plan on going with Nick?

    I haven't been to too many places - Orlando Florida for Disney World and I'm going back this year for Universal studios...I went gone east in my country, Canada and saw Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. It was cool to see Hopewell Rocks, Pier 21 and Peggy's Cove.

    I plan to go to England, Italy and France all in one trip in a few years. I'm really excited for that.

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    1. If I do end up going, I would definitely document it religiously on this blog and instagram everything like crazy. You know me! ha ha. I wish Nick could go with me, but he's going to be on tour. Also, as much as I'd love him there, I think this trip is one of those things I'd like to do on my own. You know, soul searching...and all that.

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  17. Meg, I did most of Western Europe in my early 20s and can share with you sample itineraries and tips. There are so many great places you should go...Italy, Spain, France, Greece, the list is endless! It was one of the best times of my life. If you're trip planning, email me and I'll happily share with you everything I know.

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    1. Suejean, I would love some sample itineraries! Could you email them to me? meg@chandlertherobot.com? That would be awesome!

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  18. Honest Meg...

    Traveling feeds your soul and re-fuels the creative powers that be!!! You will discover things that you may only be enlightened to IF you go on these journeys of exploration. You will discover things about yourself, things about other people, things about this lovely planet and things about GOD/ BUDDHA that may turn your life inside out...in a beautiful way. But the most beautiful thing you may discover... the beautiful, optimistic smiles of children all over the globe. They will teach you more about life than any one thing.

    Lately I have been doing this exact thing. Traveling through the very beautiful SE Asia lands. Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong and beyond. I have never been so happy and so clear-minded. Re-fueled and life's creative juices flowing heartily once again.

    Just seeing all the children's smiles is enough!

    I am excited for you...and then look forward to hearing you blog about your adventures.

    Spider

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  19. I've been through most of Europe (just wrapped up two months in Spain) and parts of Asia (Vietnam, Korea, Japan, China - including Tibet) as well as Morocco.

    Traveling is fantastic for perspective, and no place personified that more than Tibet - the highest place on Earth (most of Tibet is above 16,000 ft!). When I made plans to go there, I wanted to go to the opposite place of SoCal - some place that had deep spiritual roots. And it didn't fail to deliver - it's easy to dismiss concepts like reincarnation in the States, but when I was there... it all just made sense. The feeling that everything was connected, and there was a continuity to life that would continue past my existence seemed so concrete.

    Of course, this rich history is also set to the backdrop of tensions between Tibet & China - you hear of uprisings every once in a while that get suppressed. To see a people who love and protect their culture being replaced in their own country... it was only then I realized how lucky we are to live in the States.

    It's not an easy trip - your body will suffer quite a bit, but if you want to see some of the most breathtaking views in the world against a richness in culture that is simply not possible to understand in the States... highly recommend Tibet.

    And of course, the Europe trip is fun, too. Just don't rush through cities too fast - the real joy are the little things in each city - how the locals live. You'll gain an appreciation for many things in the States...

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  20. yes do it! i traveled all over europe+some, such an amazing experience im dying to go back

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  21. When I read this entry and all the replies, it made me think about that "Marco Polo" urge that we all universally seem to have and try to understand what that is all about. I came across a few quotes that you might be able to relate to

    Ever let the fancy roam,
    Pleasure never is at home...
    Open wide the mind's cage-door,
    She'll dart forth, and cloudward soar.
    - John Keats

    The object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one's own country... .
    - G. K. Chesterton

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  22. I've always thought and felt the best time to "splurge" is while your young. When you're older and grown-up with a family and marriage in place, your time and devotion goes toward your family. No more time for backpacking through Europe or doing everything you want to do on a whim. Being young is the time to "make mistakes", so to say, for lack of a better word. You've got all your life to be a total "grown-up". I wish you the best in your traveling... whether physically or mentally! :)

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  23. Yes, travel! Travelling enriches you.. and it challenges you to move out of your comfort zone.
    I am from Asia, but I have been to quite a few places in europe. Mostly because I was on a study exchange programme in Switzerland for 5 months. That was really one of the best times of my life... that feeling of total freedom and reckless 'irresponsibility' that only comes with youth... we studied (a little) and travelled a lot - to france, germany, austria, prague, budapest, italy etc.

    every new city we went to felt like a blank canvas, ready to be explored and drink in. we stayed in hostels (they give free maps and lots of tips) and often had a heavy breakfast, skipped lunch and then had dinner. skipped lunch because there was so much to see... so we had snacks on the go.

    I would recommend starting with western europe.. like London, Berlin, Paris.. then heading down to places like Vienna / Salzburg ! Prague.. Budapest. Also, Italy! Italy is so diverse. Milan, Rome, Venice, Cinque Terre, Florence.. and the southern part like alberobello and matera is also very interesting. they hardly speak english there.. but it's a different side of Italy, one that is not so modernized yet.

    Have fun on your adventure Meg! Take your time to explore the streets and take in each place.. the culture and people :)

    For me, while i love travelling, I am always still very happy to come home. Will you be travelling with you guitar? :)

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  24. Funny the countries you mentioned, when I did more European tour those were the exact places I went to. Started in Barcelona than flew to London, took the train to Paris and finished in Rome. Barcelona was by far my favorite city. I can see your love for art and Barcelona is a city built by art. You walk block by block and see how artists like Gaudi built structures, or visit Picasso's museum to learn his influence. The weather was amazing and people were friendly.

    Rome I enjoyed for its amazing history, of course you have the Vatican which within its self is breathtaking, but there are many other cathedrals and ancient ruins. The colosseum will leave one in awe not just for its beauty but when one envisions the actions upon those grounds, while standing in it.

    Now that you're taking a break, I'd totally go for it. It's been five years since I've been to Europe and wish I could go back. Your Dad is right, do it now while you have the time.

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  25. Meg, first I'd like to say you're awesome!

    I think it's pretty cool that you have the opportunity to travel. Take your dad's advice and do it now, while you're young and free from obligations like children, or school, or a job. A trip like this might be an enlightening one. Find some direction, change your perspective, spark some ideas for Chandler or music or writing, ,maybe just a simple change of scenery.

    Whatever it is you choose Meg, do it for YOU and enjoy it to the fullest. I look forward to reading all about it on this blog!!!

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  26. Meg, please do make time to stop by Granada, Spain and Thailand. They're two of the most beautiful countries that I've had the opportunity to visit. Spain has beautiful weather, people, culture, and scenery. I smile every time I think about the time I spent there and how I'm making it a goal in life to go back again.
    Thailand has the BEST food and people there are extremely friendly as well. I'm not a fan of the traffic in the city, but I do enjoy the lifestyle of the people there. If you're feeling up for a more relaxing time, head out to an island. If it weren't for the hot weather, I think I would retire and live there. I don't know of a more relaxing place - if you also don't mind the tourists. :)

    Have a wonderful time on your trip. Traveling is a beautiful, beautiful thing and I'm so excited to read all about your adventures in the future! <3

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  27. You should go to the Philippines. We have amazing beaches here but if you're looking for that 'life changing experience' you should go to the Manila and help out with a bunch of charities and non profit organizations. Poverty here is heartbreaking. It makes you appreciate the life you have no matter how simply youre living it.

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  28. I just got back from a 9 month study abroad/travel trip across Asia to South Korea, Mongolia, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Thailand, and India. It was amazing and probably one of the best years of my life thus far.

    I encountered so many different people, cultures, religions, etc. that have made a huge impression on my life. Traveling definitely made me learn more about myself than I ever thought I would.

    I blogged about my time abroad if you want to check out some of my adventures.

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