Katie Epner
August 21, 2014

I had planned to write this “predeparture” post during my layover in Chicago, but even still, this would have been late. I’m no stranger to this awkward position, as my chronic procrastination has given me quite the concrete trait. But that is something I plan to work on in the four months I will be out of my element, able to really focus on myself and my goals, which are many.

Packing was stressful to say the least. Sure, pulling clothes out of closet with the thought that, “yes, that will be accepted in Europe” was easy enough, but narrowing my selections to 100 lbs. (50 per bag), proved to be the real challenge. I should credit my mother now, who was telling my weeks in advance to start packing, and like I stated before, I of course put it off for just 4 days before departure. My mother really knows best. So my remaining hours in Rochester consisted of sitting on my suitcase to zip it closed, weighing it, distributing extra weight, and repeat. I ended up ditching 2 bottles of shampoo and a heavy pair of red corduroy pants. (I regret the latter, because they really are great pants). I ate a quick breakfast with my wonderful mother, kissed the dogs goodbye, and drove my car for the last time to my dad’s garage to be stored. I was at a stop sign when the thought hit me that I’d forgotten a vital item: a winter coat. Of course I prepared my adrenaline-junkie-self with my bright green down-feather ski jacket, but it completely slipped my mind to pack the more fashionable option, and no way would it be fitting in any of my luggage. Add that to the list of things I’ll be requesting my sister to bring over in September. Also after I left my house, I immediately regretted packing so much–another bad habit I hope to curb on my weekend getaways and adventures. Quite comically, my luggage didn’t arrive in Vienna with me after we unexpectedly touched down in Cleveland to wait out thunderstorms (really, I think they just had to refuel), making my connection in Chicago impossibly short. So here I am in Mariazell, Austria for the next 3 days with only the clothes on my back, a rain jacket, and my carry-on luggage. Thankfully we’ll be going into town tomorrow where I can buy some clean necessities that will likely be reimbursed by the airline.

Back 14 hours ago, I was still in Rochester, quietly observing the life that I’d be leaving for four months. To be honest, I am tired of the “American way”, and am so looking forward to experiencing a new, refreshing take on life. I’d been thinking of a few comparisons between America and Europe, and some that come to mind are gluttonous vs. efficient, ignorant vs. informed, patriotic vs. neighborly. Of course these are harsh to my home country, but I am coming from a very objective standpoint, being a 20 year old among a society that has let social media far too into their everyday lives and routines; it is literally revolutionizing society in good ways and bad, and no one can deny that. I’ll admit that even I am sucked into the madness, which is why I’m running for the Austrian Alps to get back to reality. That is the theme I am hoping to uphold on this blog; the value of the physical world around you versus the fake reality we create simply with our fingers; it’s like we are casting spells on each other. I don’t believe in magic. I don’t believe that everything happens for a “reason” other than the line of successive decisions that got you to that place in time and space. Right now, I can barely explain how I got here. This year in itself has been such a blur. Here, I hope to slow down and take it all in for the wonder that it is, one mountaintop at a time.

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Katie Epner

<div><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Katie Epner. 20. Pitt. Rochester, NY. Curious, bold and uncommon; here to remind you that there is so much more than meets the eye. Let&rsquo;s get out and explore. (Add me on Facebook!</span></div>

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Information Systems
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