Starting out on this journey, I had a lot of questions. How were all 10 of us going to get along? Would I adjust quickly enough to the lifestyle of constantly being on the go? Can I live out of a suitcase for three months? How was I going to survive without all of my clothes!?
Our professors, Linda Longmire and Tim Smith, decided not to tell us much about what we were going to be in for over the next three months. We had little to no idea about where we were staying or what our plans were for each day. This was a big exercise in trust for all of us, but we were ready.
So far, it has been well worth the leap of faith. Our first hostel was in the 19th arrondissement in Paris. It was beautiful, right on a canal and lit by colorful lights each night.
The hostel was a great way to warm up to the idea of traveling around Europe. Almost every person we met at the hostel, restaurant and “chill rooms” downstairs was also a traveler and neither native to Paris or even France. Being around other people who were in the same situation – people who were also new to Paris – put everyone at ease.
At breakfast one morning, I met a very nice young British man named James. We talked about our experiences over the past few days, compared what places were the best to go and what sights were the prettiest. Being able to talk to others who are currently on their own adventures is one of the most exciting parts of this experience. Learning new peoples’ stories is always fascinating, even more when they are not from the same country we are.
We left Paris after four wonderful days for a small, almost medieval town called Servon, which was just outside of the main attraction, Mont St. Michel. Servon is located on a piece of land that is sometimes an island, sometimes part of the mainland of France, depending on the tide.
While on the island, it felt as though we had stepped through a time machine that transported us back to medieval times. Between all of the gift shops and restaurants, you could see buildings that were older than the United States. To think about all of the people who had been on the island before us was very humbling.
From Servon, we traveled to Libourne, where our backyard was an amazing vineyard. We took a day trip to Saint-Émilion, where we saw Roman ruins and learned about wine tasting. It was again, a breathtaking place that didn’t feel like real life.
It seems as though every place that I have been to thus far is still only in my dreams, and that I am staring at them on a computer screen, as someone’s background or on Google Images. Being on this journey with all of my amazing peers is off to an incredible start, and many questions are beginning to be answered. With every answer however, comes more questions, ones that I am excited to continue searching for answers to in the next 70 days.