December 2017

There’s a girl next to me, looking out the train window. I turn to see what she’s looking for, but it’s pitch black outside.

She’s been like that for a while now.
I sat there, looking at this girl for answers. But she wasn’t looking at a location - rather an idea. She’s second guessing herself and now, so am I.  
We follow travel blogs on Instagram and tell our friends how traveling is on the top of our bucket list and maybe, we even think to ourselves that next year, we’ll save up for that vacation. But does this ever happen?
Life gets comfortable, but comfort breeds routine. Life becomes monotonous, and we, or at least I, grow discontent. I was lucky enough to take action for once.
But as I sat there on that train, I found that I wasn’t sure anymore.
With the way our lives are structured, we run around from one place to another, scheduling the day to make the most of every moment. However, our attempt for efficiency also creates an environment conducive to stress and ironically, prioritizing makes us lose sight of what is important - we forget to enjoy our lives.
While this is more commonly associated with work and study, I find that it applies more than ever to the time we take to relax.
I was traveling solo for the first time, and that train was taking me from Paris, France to Colmar; a small town on the outskirts by Germany that was the inspiration for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. With Paris’s vast wealth of history and innumerable monuments, I ended up treating Paris like a job. I walked the old, cobblestone paths from monument to monument until my feet ached and I stood on the metro lines until my back bent and I yearned to sit. It was exciting, but tiring, and ultimately unsustainable. While the purpose of my trip was to explore new places, it came at the cost of my personal enjoyment.
Is there a way to travel correctly?
We all have different takes on the matter – some people like to visit the tourist locations, take selfies, and get drunk along the way. Others enjoy the quiet of tucked-away gardens, the nooks in bookstores, and the peace of the countryside.  
It wasn’t until I reached Nice, Cote d’Azur that I finally realized, and now I’d like to share a couple of insights from my experiences abroad.

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