Finding Yourself – Travel Far Enough to Meet Yourself

In Life & Travel by Jackie Cruz

During my first season with BV Cloppenburg in northern Germany, my good friends and I traveled to Bremen, Amsterdam, Oldenburg, Hamburg and other smaller villages in the region. I knew I wanted to travel to different cities, but I had no idea through visiting new places and learning to cultures that I would develop a strong passion for it. Traveling with friends or alone has allowed me to individually grow and figure out the person I want to become.

My friends and I set off on crazy adventures and sure enough, crazy things happened. In Amsterdam, we put regular gasoline in our coach’s Ford car – who knew a Ford had diesel gasoline?! In Osnabrück, we were stranded and frozen at 4:00am in stilettos and mini skirts for an hour waiting for the train. In Bremen, we partied at La Viva until our feet could not take it anymore. In Hamburg, we had amazing sushi, but later had money thrown at us because people mistook us for hookers on the Reeperbahn (again, typical midi skirts and heels were worn). None of these…isolated incidents for lack of a better word…do I regret. Every unthinkable story has allowed me to gain friends, lessons learned, have a better relationship with myself and discover new cultures. And, of course, you can’t make this stuff up!

These smaller experiences tempted me to explore more of western Europe with my Aunt and Uncle. More from these small adventures to come in later blogs, like World Tour 1, 2, 3, 4 and the French Canals.

“Travel far enough until you find yourself” will remain forever one of the most inspirational and motivational quotes in my life. Only until one completely submerges themselves in a foreign culture and goes beyond their comfort zones will true self-awareness be recognized. Trust yourself enough to carry your translation book and ask a stranger how to get to the best ice cream parlor. Or, test yourself to be alone in a cafe for an hour only to observe people, read or do as the locals do. All of these small tasks are challenges of character and, regardless of success or struggle, will lead to personal growth.

How do you define your personal journey? Have you stepped out of your comfort zone? How do or did you find yourself?