How Old Travel Journals Are Actually Time Machines

I recently found an old journal of mine.

During that summer, I was traveling by train through Western Europe. It’s funny. I thought I was writing the next great travelogue when in reality it was just a stream of consciousness about girls and art.

But sprinkled in between the petty palaver are some real gems, and a couple themes stand out.

Relentless naivete and relentless optimism for the future.

I traveled alone mostly. Sometimes with friends. One of the benefits of being the only American in European study abroad program the year before was now having friends all over the continent.

I visited 10 countries on that trip.

I wrote a lot about ceiling fans. Looking back, I would plan hostel stays by the availability of ceiling fans. Odd, but I am sure I had my reasons.

I lost my EuroRail pass and credit card on the maze-like streets of Cadiz, Spain. I was already sitting on a train for Madrid when I realized it. Somehow, I wound my way back through the streets and found my items just sitting on the ground about 10 blocks from the station. A miracle.

When I ran out of money, I called my father from Paris. He asked how the weather was in France. I told him I was le tired.

Reading these old words brought a massive smile to my face as it finally dawned on me how wonderful a gift it was to read my thoughts from a time when I was young and had the whole world in front of me.

A time when all I had to write about was warm, sunny afternoons munching tapas and speaking anything but English. About when dinner was always the grandest affair of the day. About waking up every morning with splitting hangovers amid visions of the previous night’s revelry.

What a time to be alive. Live triumphantly.

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