I'm an incredibly nostalgic person. If you don't believe me, check out the bag of momentos I'm carrying back from Amsterdam—it's full of ticket stubs, brochures, boarding passes, business cards from favorite places, photo booth strips, and some foreign currency. I'd haphazardly thrown them into a desk drawer throughout the semester, but on my last night in Amsterdam, I carefully sorted through the physical memories of my abroad experience. There's the boarding pass to Arrecife, my first-ever solo travel experience. There's the playbill and ticket stub from when I saw Hamilton in London. There's the business card from Stek, my favorite cafe right down the block from where I was living. There's even a napkin (!) from Ladurée in Paris, where I celebrated my 21st birthday. Despite all of these momentos, however, I couldn't help but recognize the twinge of regret in my stomach—I had spent four months abroad and still managed to miss out on doing so many things I wanted to. I didn't get to go to Berlin, I never got to eat Indonesian food in the Netherlands, I didn't see Utrecht or The Hague, I never visited The Louve—the list goes on. As I sat cross-legged on the floor of my almost-empty room, surrounded by pieces of paper from all over Europe, I was so angry with myself: my abroad experience was completely and utterly incredible, so how could I feel so regretful? I took a deep breath and forced myself to remember: depth over distance. Quality over quantity. It's not the number of experiences or things I checked off of my bucket list, but the experiences themselves that matter. I thought back to the surprise party my then-new friends threw me for my birthday. I thought about wandering through the ruins of Herculaneum in Naples, the halls of the Magritte museum in Brussels, the vendors in the Old Town Square in Prague, and the haunting rooms of the Anne Frank house. Yes, I hadn't gotten to do and see absolutely everything I had sought out to, but at the end of my four months abroad, I've visited nine countries. I've met incredible people who became incredible friends. I've taken thousands of photos, consumed hundreds of cappucinos, and spent hours detailing all of my adventures to my mom over FaceTime. I conquered fears and experienced firsts. No, I didn't do absolutely everything. But like my mom reminds me, Europe isn't going anywhere. I'll be back.
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<p>I'm a dancer-writer-photographer-coffee addict whose favorite store is Goodwill. You'll likely find me singing (badly) to Broadway tunes, napping, or taking pictures of my cat (son), Zorro.</p>