[The Duomo in Florence was amazing and all, but what no one tells you is that it’s SO WINDY at the top! Soooo don’t wear a really loose shirt like I did LOL]
Continuing the shitfest from Arizona with a summary of how much I fucked up when I went to Europe first time abroad. I’m sharing because I want y’all to know that travel isn’t always perfect – in fact, most of the time, it’s far from it. But that’s all part of the beauty – you get into shitty situations, and you get yourself out.
And that feels good, somehow. Even though it might suck in the moment.
Full disclosure: this article is NOT encouraging you to be an asshole and to be disrespectful in other countries. This is more like a chronicle of my mistakes for your reading pleasure. And to let you know that it’s OK TO MAKE MISTAKES. Just go, and deal with them as they come.
[Smiling through the pain; I’m wearing an EDC London shirt, read on below to find out why it was such a huge mistake]
Okay so, here’s a summary: back in the summer of 2013, I studied abroad for a month in the UK (2 weeks in York, 1 in Edinburgh, and 1 in London), then traveled for a month with 3 of my college roommates/friends on a whirlwind city tour.
Here’s what went down my first time abroad:
- Hung out with my ex-boyfriend the night before leaving that I hadn’t seen in 4 months
- Wore lace up boots to the airport that took forever to take off
[Hanging out outside my dorm room in York]
- Hooked up with a hot British bartender that I had to sneak into my dorm room
- Got a UTI
- Almost cried on a 2 hour bus ride because of said UTI and I thought I was going to pee my pants and our professor was a dude, so I was too scared to explain the situation and when I said I had to use the restroom, he wasn’t too worried and said there wasn’t one for another 30 minutes
- I didn’t pee my pants but ran into the museum’s bathroom and got confused about the elevator
- Had to navigate the UK’s healthcare system (which was actually surprisingly easy) and the first round of drugs didn’t work, so I had to go back and get more (those worked)
- Ate too many beans for breakfast too many times (you fill in the rest)
[All of the drank – in my defense, this was the 4th of July so of course we had to celebrate like obnoxious Americans (I say this with sarcasm)]
- Stayed out late way too many nights & drank too much (in my defense, I was 20, and so this was my first time in actual bars and I was like I’M SO COOL NOW! But spoiler alert, I wasn’t)
- Took shots on a train ride to Manchester
- Then missed the train back to York and had to stay up until 6AM to catch the next one
[Your average, very cliche tourist pic next to those iconic telephone booths]
- Took too many cringe-y cheesy pictures
- Was told we “weren’t really Californians” because we didn’t surf and didn’t want to smoke any of this random guy’s weed, and then he got mad and yelled at us as we walked away
- It ended weirdly with the British dude and we never spoke again, but we’re friends on Facebook
- Melted in London because there was a heatwave and our hostel room had no AC, one window that opened only a tiny crack, and a tiny fan
[My boo and I at EDC London, before all the shit went down]
- Lost and then found my Passport, credit, and debit card at EDC London (but really did lose my phone and state ID)
- Missed our flight to Barcelona and had to spend the night at the airport sleeping on the lawn, only to be awoken by a storm
- Couldn’t find our hostel in Barcelona and it was HOT AF and we had our heavy backpacks on
- Realized we’d only booked one night at said hostel and were basically fucked
- Almost left our friend behind when our bus driver took off without her on it (she had to ride the next bus alone)
[Literally ALLL the super cheesy tourist photos – I cringe in shame]
- Took EVEN MORE cheesy photos
- Got in an argument with my friend that basically stemmed from paying extra to get into a club because we’d arrived so late, which led to us standing on the beach fuming at each other
- Was groped multiple times by suspiciously young looking guys
- Yelled at a guy after he slapped my friend’s ass in front of our hostel in Barcelona
- Was super mean to my friend in a moment of hanger in Berlin
- Fell asleep at a fancy club in Berlin
[Sorry for this horrible photo, but The Tulip Museum was really fun! Also, WOW my hair was long]
- Ate some legal substances in Amsterdam and thus had a great time at the Tulip Museum
- Met a German guy in Amsterdam and smoked my first real cigarette (not that there were many more after that lol) and was a jerk and never responded to the email he sent me afterwards (I still feel like a jerk)
- Went on a pub crawl in London & almost hooked up with a 17 year old (mega swerved once I found out his age)
- Got hangry in London and my poor friend had to eat the greasiest ball of a burger (it was literally a ball of meat that just leaked grease)
- Missed our flight to Paris because we went to the wrong airport (and we were so proud of ourselves because we’d gotten to the airport the night before! We were so early and on top of it! …But then we weren’t)
[Day 1 of my birthday was spent in Pairs, and I insisted we trek back to the Eiffel Tower and forced my friends to take as many photos with me as I wanted]
- For my 21st birthday, I insisted we go out 3 nights to celebrate
- Night 1: spent in Paris; it was a weeknight so no one was out and our cab driver was really mean
- Night 2: spent in Florence, I blacked out and puked all over the table at the karaoke bar and got kicked out, then proceeded to get angry at my friends because they weren’t pissed at me
- Next morning I had to walk from our hostel to the train station (which took about 30 minutes) incredibly hungover and trying not to puke – then ran to the bathroom once we arrived only for there to be only one bathroom and a very long line
- Night 3: spent in Rome, and after the most terrifying cab ride of our lives (there are no rules there, I swear), we went to a very strange concert and I made out with the worst kisser of my entire life
[…Soooo many cheesy pictures]
And that was Europe. We basically just stumbled our way through those 2 months, but it was so incredibly amazing and I would go back and do it all over in a heartbeat.
However, I like to think that I’m a much older and wiser traveler now LOL. But probably not.
I hope you have/had an amazing (and hopefully not as much of a disaster as mine was) time your first time abroad! If you have any good stories, spill – I wanna hear them!
[No matter how shitty it gets, just remember this quote! It was painted at the Lennon Wall in Prague]