Day 1: Departures and Wings

I guess it’s finally time for me to join the ranks of every other American abroad and start my travel blog! I’m so excited to share my experiences over the next three months. I’ll be updating this blog periodically with the juiciest stories, transportive pictures, and international tidbits.

After living in DC for the last year-and-a-half, it’s time for me to bid adieu to the District–for now. This city has been such a great introduction to international cultures and people that, if I’m being perfectly honest, this trip feels redundant in many ways: I can eat Balkan food after seeing the Royal Ballet of England perform at the Kennedy Center, post-Picasso exhibit browsing and croissant consumption. However, I’ve had the good fortune of traveling because of skating in the past, and I’ve been dying to go abroad again. Now’s the time, I guess!

For everyone who’s interested in my travel itinerary, here’s what I have so far:

Departing from BWI February 1
Reykjavik, Iceland: February 2–5
Basel, Switzerland: February 5 (I’m hoping to use my 6 hour layover well!)
Barcelona and Sitges, Spain: February 5–12
Prague, Czech Republic: February 12–16
London, England: February 16–20
Lincoln, England: February 20 — ?

Along the way, I’ll be staying with friends in Barcelona, Prague, and London–and hopefully making a few more at each stop.

Beyond my friends I’ll be joining, I’ve also got a few talismans I’m brining with me that will provide guidance throughout my trip.

The geometric object on the left is not, in fact, from a trendy boutique (as many have inquired), but a bolt I found on the ground near a construction site not far from where I lived in DC. I love that it represents growth through building and joining, something I hope to achieve while in Europe.

On the right is the ubiquitous symbol of travelers and bon vivants: the evil eye, or nazar, which helps ward off lecherous spirits and ensures a safe passage. I’ve included this for my mom in the hopes that this spiritual coverage will calm both of us down while I’m abroad.

In the center is the final talisman, an angel wing. This was given to me by my ice dancing coach, Natalya Linichuk, for Christmas several years ago. I’ve worn it off and on since then, and I’ve found that it has great personal meaning for me because of the means by which she gave it to me. As she handed me the gift, she said, “No, baby. Like coach, I can say this: ‘I give you half…’”. As her sentence trailed off, I mentally filled what I assumed was the rest: “And I give you half.” I knew that I needed her for my success. But since quitting skating, I’ve come to realize that the gift and the message were meant entirely for me–that I needed to give myself the other half. This trip is my start to that half.

And as I begin to board numerous planes over the coming months, all with complete sets of wings, I can’t help but hope to complete my own.

Stay tuned!

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