In 2006 I applied for my first passport, quit my job, and had, what I dubbed at the time, my “best summer ever.” I was 25 years old, had never left the country before, and, quite frankly, never thought much about traveling. But, after an ex-boyfriend told me to, “Get a life,” I decided to say yes to a friend who was planning a three-week backpacking trip around Europe.
On June 22, 2006, I boarded my first international flight and, hours later, arrived in Munich, Germany. Over the next three weeks I drank beer at Hofbräuhaus, hiked in Switzerland, took a gondola ride in Venice, got food poisoning in Florence, wandered the Coliseum in Rome, rode a paternoster in Vienna, visited Prague Castle, and went to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
The trip was a whirlwind, as we visited eight cities in six countries in three weeks. But this trip, my first taste of the world, sparked an obsession that would later have me quitting my job and traveling the world for three years.