22 July 2013

"You will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did" - Mark Twain

My group of friends in Nice
Mr. Sweetie and I were having a conversation over the weekend of where we might like to take a vacation in the next year or two. We don't do a vacation-to-end-all-vacations every year, but we've been really lucky to go to some cool places. We've never done a go-to-a-resort-and-have-your-every-whim-catered-to sort of vacation, I don't think either of us would find it terribly exciting and the more fulfilling vacations tend to be where you get a little out of your comfort zone (Nepal), travel to exotic locales totally different from home (Morocco), drive on the wrong side of the road (Ireland) and basically get out and DO something (Carnival in Trinidad perhaps?). Life is short. The world is full of so many things to experience and interesting people to meet and vacation - or a trip of a lifetime - is the perfect time to do it. There's a belief that you need to be a trust fund baby to see the world. Lies. You don't need to be rich to do it; travel can be done on the cheap if you don't mind sharing a hostel room with 8 other people (it's not as bad as you would think and you might meet your summertime best friend there), eating simply and not lavishly (tomatoes with salt, basil, and mozzarella should not be overlooked), and realizing that alot of the most memorable and meaningful experiences don't cost a cent (bonfires on the beach with your friends from at least 5 other countries where everyone is speaking a mish-mash of languages but nothing gets lost in translation). Sure my parents helped me out a bit when I did an 8-month long unpaid internship in Paris, giving me enough funds to supplement my savings so I could buy food every day and also have some fun, but the rest of my vacation travel has been self-funded even during college when I worked as a waitress during the school year to fund my summer on the Cote d'Azur. You better believe that I did not enjoy working Fridays and Sundays while my college friends got to kick back and relax, but that summer was worth every hour of crummy tips, hangry patrons, and smelling like a fast-food grill.

I know most people have already come across this BuzzFeed mini video so it's probably old news. I found it over the weekend - 10 Trips you NEED to Take in Your 20s. Watch it if you haven't already.
I haven't done all of them (and never had a desire to do the cheesy spring break thing anyway), but it's the whole concept. Travel irrevocably changes you. And often the people you meet during those travels are friends that you remember for a lifetime, even as you move onward and grow older. Something about being in the same boat that opens up that desire to connect with others and the friends you make when you are out on your own are the makeshift family that you choose and create. I don't want to go back and relive my 20s again - I firmly believe my future has many more great trips in store for me, full of people waiting to become someone memorable in my life. But watching that video makes me nostalgic and since I came across it this past weekend, I've loved how friends from my travels have popped into my mind.

Mylene, Nadia and I 

So - a thank you to the friends I've made as I stepped out of my comfort zone and into adventures and experiences that have made me more wealthy than money ever could. To my friends from study abroad in Grenoble, to Christine who became my best friend in Nice and who I miss very much (sorry I've been terrible about keeping in touch lately - but I think of you and Ryan and Declan often!), to the girls (and DB) with whom I had the privilege of experiencing Nepal and it's beauty on what was probably the best trip ever, and Simone who brought me to Carnival in Trinidad, and all of the fantastic friends I made while interning in Paris - Nadia, Syeda, Jeff, and Mylene. Again, terrible about keeping in touch, but I think of you often. I love my life and I love that you were all a part of making me into the person I am today!

Zulema, Sanu, and I in Nepal
Christine and I before a hike


Calli said...

Well said Caroline. I could not agree more. Perhaps you and Mr. Sweetie would like to vacation in England this year? I know of a pretty good Bed and Breakfast in Harrogate :)

Chelsea Enright said...

coffee-clatch reunion in Germany :)

Caroline said...

Calli and Chelsea, I miss being just down the hallway from the two of you! It's hard to believe we all live so far apart now! We absolutely need to schedule trips out to England and Germany - it's not very often we have such great friends living out there!