I grew up in a small town in Oregon and heading to the coast to clear my mind was typical. When I turned 18, I moved to California for school and realized that it was just the beginning of everything - traveling, love, experience, all of it. A year into college, I got my third tattoo on my ribs. It's a picture of a wave that crashes into the word immensity. Getting out of my small town was amazing, but heading to the beach was my safe place. It was my safe place because I used to look out at the ocean, and think about how immense it was - literally looking out and not being able to see the end of the water.
The word immensity is defined as "the extremely large size, scale, or extent of something."
Heading to the beach reminded me that my problems were small and the world is so massive. And yet, as I sit here in the midst of Covid, at (almost) 24 years old, my passport is sitting in a drawer, blank.
BUT. My best friend lives in London and when the boarders are open and I have the ability to hop on a plane - you know where I'm heading. Here's the rough sketch, pure tourist, ideal plan:
Land in Heathrow, hug my best friend, (hopefully maskless, one can only hope) and give ourselves an hour or so to cry and take in the fact that after almost three years apart, I finally made it. Drink coffee & tea at as many cute little cafes as possible. Rent bikes and ride next to the Thames while trying not to spill the, third or fourth, coffee in my left hand. Buy a bottle of champagne or two and drink to 2020 moving behind us. Try to change my opinions on museums and take in all the culture I can, yes that includes a cliché photo in front of Big Ben. Sit in the park and sip on wine as I remincse with my best buddy while feeling and looking like the biggest tourist there ever was.
Note to self: look up London fashion, so you don't completely stick out, like a sore thumb.
Take the train to France. Fun fact: I've also never been on train. If you didn't catch on by now, it'll be a year of many bucket-list items. Have my boyfriend meet me in Paris. As cliché as it sounds, I've heard Paris, the city of love, just isn't the same if your significant other isn't there - who would've thought. The list begins with, and get ready to roll your eyes, climbing the Eiffel Tower in the day and drink Pinot Noir underneath it at night (extra points if I listen to "Paris in the Rain" by Lauv while doing so.) I want to find the bridge of locks, which I recently looked up and was informed that you can't put a lock on it "legally" anymore, but maybe I could sneak one on there - I'll keep you posted on my possible run in with the law on that one. I want to have a Gossip Girl/Emily in Paris moment and walk around town by myself, look at fountains, buy fresh flowers, read a fancy book and see if I can find my way back to where I'm staying without the use of maps or GPS. I'm betting against myself on that one, but we'll see. Then, by the end of this tremendous time in France, I'll travel on alone, because sometimes a solo trip can be good for the soul, especially at my next destination.
Here's your go-to drink list: https://devourparisfoodtours.com/blog/what-to-drink-in-paris/
Italy. My last stop, for many reasons. One, my screen saver on my computer is the picture above - hence its been a long time coming. Two, growing up hearing stories of my grandparents and great grandparents making pasta and bread from stratch every Sunday, growing their own ingredients in the garden, and drinking copious amounts of Italian wine - I have to experience it. To add to it, my mother has all the paperwork for a castle that our family owns in Italy, with a winery attached. I have no doubt that it's haunted, but what a story that'll make to end the trip. To add to this trip, I am gluten and dairy free. I've been told by everyone that's been to Italy that I'll be able to eat anything and everything. I plan on gaining at least 20 pounds in pasta and bread while in Italy, plus wine of course. After the castle, I plan on heading to, you guessed it, the most touristy place on the map - Rome. The Colosseum, the Vatican, the Pantheon, and to top it all off, live out my Lizzie McGuire dreams - throw a shiny quarter in the iconic Trevi Fountain.
As you can see the patterns, wine, food, touristy things, however before marriage, kids and before a career really takes off - I want to see something. I make jokes and talk lightly of these trips because they haven't happened and when they truly do, without a doubt in my mind, I'll be overwhelmed by the amount of culture and life around me. Just like my tattoo states - I want to see the immensity of the world, before it passes me by. If having Covid and the year 2020 in general doesn't make me want to take advantage of being young, I don't know what will. Solo trips, best-friend trips, trips with my boyfriend, the immensity of the world is waiting.