A rainbow in Warsaw, Poland.


A rainbow, and a good night, in Warsaw, Poland.

I have a confession. This is a trip I want to have done. That’s not to say that it’s not something I want to be doing. But I wish I had already done it already. That I had traveled throughout my 20s. That I didn’t waste away so much time doing nothing. That now that I’m 30 I could hang up the photos from my European adventures in the cute condo I share with my husband.

My thoughts consistently bounce back and forth between “I want to go home” and “I never want to stop.”

And I keep having to remind myself that I’ve only been in Europe for one week. That I can’t miraculously expect for all my problems to go away, to suddenly be a different person who is braver and has more self-confidence and who knows what she’s doing and has found this mythical clarity she hopes to find.

It’s only been one week. It will hopefully come with time. Or at least partially come in time.

I’ve found that I sit and stare a lot. On the couch in the hostel. On park benches. In front of monuments. I plop down to rest my feet. And ten minutes later I think, “I should move.” And twenty minutes after that I think again, “I should move.”

The other night I was sitting in Castle Square in Warsaw. Staring. And it started to rain. And I sat there in spite of it. And when the sky cleared a rainbow formed over the Royal Castle.

Rainbow in Castle Square in Warsaw, Poland

Rainbow in Castle Square in Warsaw, Poland

And I thought “how many other people in the world are seeing this right now.”

When the rainbow started to fade I took a walk and came across a Polish concert. It was an indie rock type band that I wish I knew the name of. I sat and watched that for an hour or so. Because I had no where else to be and no reason to get back. Which is a good feeling.

Concert in Warsaw, Poland

Concert in Warsaw, Poland

And it’s nights like that, little things like that, that are keeping me going.

Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

  • kate
    July 16, 2011at1:38 pm

    don’t give up. you are doing great. every once in awhile, look in the mirror and give yourself a little pep talk. become an actress in the movie of you…do things, and talk to people you normally wouldn’t as the character of you! explore the transit system a little bit better so you can make stops on the train. you are not on a schedule. if you don’t like where you are, go!

    doing anything alone is difficult, but you really are with your best, oldest, and dearest friend…you!

    your doing great, and keep up with your posts.

  • kate
    July 16, 2011at1:48 pm

    oh, while you are there, go to prague, and vienna. they will be a bit more western friendly for you, and tons to do.

  • Judie
    July 16, 2011at2:26 pm

    Hi Val!

    Pep talk time. I absolutely envy you, and I have been thinking about you a lot … thoroughly enjoying your posts & pics so far. First off, realize that you have plenty ‘o time for that old married stuff. 😉

    Always remember you are a courageous, curious, and ever-interesting woman. Share your wonderful self with everyone, whenever and wherever you end up going around the world. I anxiously await word of the quirky/cool things you’ll see and do, as well as news of the fascinating people you’ll meet along the way.

    Most of all, embrace and CHERISH this irreplaceable time and freedom where YOU make the call on what you see & do. You will definitely look back at your journaling someday and be proud that you took this leap of faith, and had this grand and great adventure, all by your not-so-lonesome, awesome self. xoxo

  • Pat & Alison Wilson
    July 18, 2011at4:58 am

    Just stumbled onto your blog – great stuff! Love the food photos BTW. We’ve been on the RTW road now three months and I promise it gets both easier and harder – great pep talk right. Anyway, all the best in your journeys and we look forward to following your blog. – Pat and Al

  • Tracy
    July 18, 2011at10:32 am

    First–love your photos, particularly the food photos. I take pictures of my food, too. It’s actually helped me overcome my fear of looking silly in public!

    Second, this will be a trip you ‘have done’–and likely it will be just one of the many trips you WILL do. There’s something to be said for being 30 and hanging pictures on the wall–but to me, that sounds terribly depressing (perhaps because I’m 31?)

    Can’t wait to see whee your adventure leads! I’ll be following! (but not in a stalker-ish way, of course. In an RSS feed sort of fashion!)

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