So my friend Maggie graduated from grad school at UW-Madison last spring (Spring 2015) and with her graduation she took a 6-week Eurotrip! Which is freaking awesome. I was beyond jealous because I was supposed to go to Europe for my graduation and it never happened. But anyway, she invited me to join her for one leg of her trip! So that's where these first few travel posts come from. I apologize because this travel post actually took place last summer...summer 2015 but I'm just now getting a chance to write about it.
I was beyond thrilled to go and join her. I had never been out of the country and I had the money and vacation days, so it was a no-brainer for me. I wish that Greg could've come with me, but it wasn't the best timing for him. Anyway, I arrived to Berlin around 8am or so I think, and made it through customs and got a taxi to our hostel. We had a wonderful day doing the free walking tour and we were enjoying ourselves!
Then out of the blue that first night in Berlin, the anxiety set in. Anxiety is something that I didn't know I had until college. I have battled with it on and off but had been good for a while before the trip, so I wasn't expecting to have any issues. I remember we were sitting at dinner outside at this little restaurant and it just hit me like a train. I felt panicky and awful and was so upset. If any of you battle anxiety you know that as soon as you feel a wave of it coming on, it completely takes over your mind. Needless to say I couldn't eat and just wanted to cry. I know that travel is a huge cause of anxiety for a lot of people. I think being in a foreign country for the first time was definitely a little bit of a shock to me, even at 24 years old. I also think only getting 2 hours of sleep on the plane was a factor, Either way, I felt terrible for Maggie because I was a mess. We went back to the hostel and I just cried. I honestly thought I was going to have to book myself a ticket home the next day. That's how overpowering it can be. I wasn't able to talk to Greg on the phone and that didn't help either. I know that if he would've been there, I would've felt much more comfortable.
Long story short, I woke up the next day feeling better, but still not completely myself. I am so incredibly glad that I did not come home. I had been looking forward to the trip for the months leading up and I would've just wanted to die if I didn't push myself through. I continued to have anxiety on and off throughout the trip, but I didn't let it control me. It's so crazy that it has the ability to do that to you though....it can completely transform your psychological state. Despite my issues with anxiety, Maggie and I had an amazing trip and thank god for her being so understanding with me. If any of you have any tips to help with understanding and/or controlling anxiety (besides Xanax, lol) then please I would love to hear how you deal with it. My friend Carrie and I talk about it a lot because we both have our issues with it, but I am always looking to learn from others experiences with it as well.
Berlin overall was much different than I expected. It had a definite grunge feel. It's crazy to think that the Berlin Wall just came down 27 years ago. You could definitely still see a difference in East and West Berlin in how the buildings were designed and everything. It was surprising to me. Berlin is a city that has been through a lot and I'm really glad we were able to see it.
I hope you enjoy the photos. I'll give more info on our hostel experience in my next post about Prague!