I was gone from living a normal Canadian life for a year. Right now, I’ve got a serious case of PTD: Post Travel Depression. I can’t help but be completely useless in my life, for now, because of the sad thought of not being in Europe. It’s hard not seeing new things every day and not learning by simply walking around cities that I had never before imagined seeing in real life. I’ve only been serious about travelling for the last year, but I went to Mexico when I was ten, to The States multiple times since I was eight, and to France as a teenager. I’ve travelled enough at the age of 19 to know that this is something I feel passionate about. I love the sounds of sirens from each country I’ve visited, how something so universal can be completely different and shocking with only a five hour drive to the next country over. And honestly, being able to drive to another country within hours is incredible, because in Canada if we drive for a few hours, we’re probably still in the same province!
Like I said, everything was new and exciting. There was something new to see every single day. A new type of architecture, or new food. Of course in Greece it was limited to Gyros and Greek salads, but it was delicious nonetheless. The produce is so much better in Europe, thanks to the laws prohibiting the use of many pesticides. If I were back in Athens and I had gone to the supermarket and picked anything from the fruit or vegetable section, I would be able to eat it right there and then. Just the other day I hadn’t rinsed my lettuce before making a salad, and my mouth was filled with chemicals as I took my first bite. Something like that never happened while I was abroad. I remember this one night last summer in France that was simply dedicated to trying different types of cheeses, which is something I’d never expect to happen to me in Canada, unless I was with an exchange student. Then there’s the food in Italy, and if you know me, you know I love pasta. The best pasta I had ever tasted was in Italy, and the best pizza was there too. Now I can go on forever about the food in all the different countries I’ve been too, but it’s already starting to make me hungry. There’s something about the food in Europe that is just so damn good!
The overall vibe in the cities is something else that I won’t forget. In Canada, I’m not sure if I would feel comfortable walking around the streets with a beer in my hand, but there, the street is your best friend! In Spain, I spent endless nights drinking in parks or streets with kids who were definitely not supposed to know about tequila shots and who shouldn’t have been admitted into the clubs. In Germany or Belgium if you don’t have a beer in your hand while walking around on a Friday night, I would probably question if you were okay. The Irish have no shame either when it comes to beer, a pint of Guinness is just what the doctor ordered!
Now, I’m trying to find ways to be excited about being back in my hometown, of course there’s my oldest friends and family, but the most exciting thing is thinking about when I’ll have enough money saved up to leave again. I don’t think that Winnipeg is a bad place to live, or Canada either, but it doesn’t compare to living in Paris and taking the metro for 10 minutes and walking out of the piss-smelling metro station and looking up at the Eiffel tower. Because even if it smells like piss and there’s a smelly homeless man trying to bum a cigarette off of you, it’s still Paris. Waking up and going straight to the beach in Athens was also something I never dreamed of, yet I’m glad I missed the last two heat waves. And sure, it’s fantastic going anywhere in Ireland and always having the best chats with every stranger you meet.
I miss Europe more and more each day, but it also gets easier as time goes by. So here’s to me hopefully winning the lottery so I can go back sooner, but if not, to the more satisfying route of earning my ticket back.