What follows is the first day account of my travels abroad. And yep, you guessed it! It’s also going to be part of a series where I’m splitting up what I actually do on the traveling and the action of traveling. Because really, they are quite different (at least I think…). So without further ado…
Sitting alone in this six-person compartment with my notebooks and a cup of coffee spread out across the seats, I can’t help wondering:
Have I won the travel jackpot?
The door fully slides open for a moment, and the conductor checks my ticket, nodding once and murmuring an almost silent “danke”, shutting the door again. I’m left again in the spacious room with soft music playing in the background (yes, it’s my ipod with my favourite tunes, of course), Sit back and watch the German landscape fly by.
It feels like something out of a movie, but I can’t help as a contented smile drifts across my face. There’s nothing better than travelling alone, I think to myself, and no places are better than Germany and Norway. The thing about travelling alone though… is the serious amount of time you have to just think.
Nothing special, of course – maybe a flicker of something legitimate.
As a study abroad student, it seems obvious my thoughts naturally turn to homesickness. Can a person really say that they are one way or the other? Can I consider myself homesick if I feel the pang of longing as my father signs off skype? It’s been almost 2 months in another country, and as much as I love America – I can’t honestly determine if I really miss it as much as some of my friends.
And let me tell you. Friends have been the worst help in this case. While I expected the majority of them to have homesickness, I seem to have the two most opposite sides of the spectrum. While one is vehemently anti-American in almost every regard and relishes being away, another talks about America and homesickness almost constantly – as though she would be anywhere other than here.
So to be entirely fair, I really can’t tell.
Because on one hand, I do miss it. The English, the normalcy, and the friends.
But on the flipside, I love being here. I love studying another language, travelling, and that spark of energy I feel when I can order in German (yet again). Who in their right mind wouldn’t relish the opportunity to explore Europe? So the conflict rages on…
Although I left at 9am, it is now nearing 11, and the train is still speeding through towns and fields. No sign of Berlin at all. Though the… Ah! It appears we are 10 minute away from the south-most station in Berlin Trees and idyllic towns are transforming right before my eyes to the urban familiarity that is reminiscent of all major cities worldwide.
Though first may I say how extraordinarily complicated it is to really travel through Berlin and the area inside the VBB. Oranienburg deserves its own post, or rather – a full book, so I will be sure to give it a moment to shine in the sun sooner rather than later. All you need to know is that concentration camps are lifeless. No matter if it was a “death” camp or not, the mere existence of such a place is shiver-worthy, and I will speak about it at a later date. Perhaps when I’ve given it time to wear off.
The trip to Lübbenau was, well, interesting to say the very least. After haphazardly purchasing a ticket without validating it, and proceeding to jump a train to Berlin again – I wandered aimlessly around the station until a friendly German assisted me and I found myself buying, hopefully, a ticket to Lübbenau.
On the way, I was forced to take 2 S-Bahn trains, in which I sat huddled in a corner and prayed to the gods that no one checked tickets that day. Luckily, the prayers seemed to work on some level and I ended up solidly in Königs Wusterhausen, a suburb of Berlin, and 10 minutes early for my regional train! It was a lovely ride, and the one thing I could think, as I sped through farm lands was, god, I wish I could take photos from a moving train!
Once we arrived however, I knew I had made the right choice in my destination. I could already tell with the night gathering that I would grow to love it here. And with a 2-4km walk to an ATM and back, I ended up on a concernedly sidewalk free hike with a phone without battery. So you could possibly say it was the slightest bit stressful. Luckily however (again, I seem to be using that word a lot), I found the Petrick Pension and all was well!
Day 1 Conclusion: Traveling alone is terribly frightening but also as exciting as sky diving !