“A night missed in Berlin is a night missed in Berlin.” This quote from a friend in my program stuck with me throughout the semester. I felt like I needed to do everything every single day, otherwise I would miss out on something.
At times, I would find myself going places just to go places. I had a bucket list and I felt the need to check off everything. This mindset hindered me from fully appreciating some of the experiences I had. I knew I wanted to visit as many museums as possible, try as many different types of food as possible, see as much of the city as possible; but the want slowly turned into a need; into a chore.
My rigid plans limited me while in Berlin and exploring different cities. When I visited Dublin, London, and Paris, I had an itinerary that planned out each hour of the trip. Literally. While this was helpful and I got to see so much, I wish I allowed myself to spend more time with individual places. Quality over quantity is definitely a lesson I need to learn when it comes to planning.
I don’t know when I will get the chance to come back to Europe, so I put a lot of pressure on myself to do it all. This pressure, combined with academic responsibilities, made me lose some of my excitement. Traveling is extremely stressful and exhausting, but I kept pushing myself to do more. After my fall break, I was tired and stressed, but I continued to plan things almost every single weekend. I don’t regret all of the places I visited, but I do wish I gave myself room to breathe.
The biggest lesson I learned from this is that you don’t have to do it all. If you go in trying to do it all, you will be disappointed. It is impossible and draining. I also realized that many of my favorite activities ended up being things I just stumbled across. Cities have many hidden gems that you will miss if your nose is stuck in an itinerary and your mind is on checklist mode. In the future, I will give myself more unstructured opportunities. My itineraries will still put any travel agent to shame, but I will ensure that there is some flexibility in them.
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Hallo! My name is Kassidy Witt, and I am a senior political science major at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX. I moved around the United States a lot growing up, yet my travel bug is still not content. I love adventure and I am a huge history nerd, so I am beyond excited to study in Berlin this fall!