Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Travel Tuesday: Story Time!

I went away on vacation to Europe last May/June, and I honestly had the time of my life. I went by myself, and it was probably one of the greatest things I have ever done for myself. I have tons of stories, as you can imagine, so I'm going to start writing some and posting them on here. I need to get them down somewhere before I forget. Here goes! Some will be fact, some will be fact mixed with fiction; I'll leave it up to you to figure out which is which.

The first time I saw him was an early morning in Prague, way to early to be thinking about making a good impression. He’s cute, I thought to myself, as I walked past him on the bus. I picked the seat across and one down from him, not so much because I wanted to sit by him, but because that was one of the only seats left. As the bus started chugging away from Prague, our tour group slowly relaxed and began talking to one another. It was the usual awkward, getting to know you stuff, but I find people move past that quickly when travelling; you have to. Everybody bonds over the excitement that is found in discovering a new place and embarking on an adventure.

I was craving human interaction. This bus tour was happening on the end of a long, solo journey through Germany and Austria. Weeks had gone by where I barely talked to anyone. Maybe that’s a lie, I talked to people, but as it happens when you are travelling, people flit in and out of your life, and sometimes you can walk around with them for a whole day, have pictures with them and have no expectation of ever seeing them again. One minute they are there, and the next they aren’t. Perhaps that’s one of the best things about travelling, the ability to make fast friends for a day with a complete stranger. You learn about their life and where they come from, and you make a connection that would take months or years to forge at home. Regardless, after about three weeks of hoofing it around Europe by myself, I was ready to meet some people, and stay with them for a whole week.

I wasn’t expecting him. Little did I know, this decision to travel in this particular group, with this particular company, would leave me feeling completely, well, lost.

He was on our tour as the companies official photographer, and for the first couple of days, that was all he was. He was the cute British boy taking photos; he was working. I barely exchanged two words with him as we toured through Olomouc, Kutna Hora and Krakow. Our interactions were limited to simple polite exchanges: “have fun on that rafting trip”, “lovely weather today isn’t it?”

We were at a restaurant in Zakopane, Poland and he wasn’t even sitting beside me at first. I’ve thought about this moment, the catalyst for when everything changed, and I wonder if I would do it all again? Of course, despite the "what ifs" that still pass through my mind, months after I’ve returned home.

He switched spots with my friend Leslie so that he could have easier access to the giant plate of meat that was being served up on our table which was your typical Eastern European fare: meat, meat, more meat and some potatoes. All of a sudden, there he was sitting right to the left of me our arms practically touching.

“Hi, I’m Paul, I don’t think we’ve officially met”
“I’m Megan, nice to finally talk to you!”

After that it was all over: my heart had swum up out of my body and was whirling around in happy little circles above me. I wasn’t thinking rationally, I was only thinking about this gorgeous British boy talking to me.

We talked all through dinner, it was like nobody else was even there. I told him all about my life back home and he told me all about his photography, his cats, his family. Never, not in my 26 years of life, have I ever connected with someone so instantly, so completely, I mean, I felt like I had known him forever. Like he was the guy who lived down the street from me, and we used to play together in the summer, running barefoot through the ravine in search of rattlesnakes. That’s how it felt. But I had just met this guy, this Paul.

to be continued...

4 comments:

carissajaded said...

Your life is so thrilling to me! I can 't wait to hear more, and I can't believe you've been to Europe by yourself! Something i dunno if I could do but would LOVE to try.

Laura said...

give me more!!!!

Laura said...

ps. kudos to you for going to Europe on your own. I came close to going several years ago after my engagemnet ended very badly but... I chickened out! lol

Meg said...

i definitely recommend going to Europe by yourself!! It was scary at first, but it was so worth it. You meet tons of people, and are basically free to do whatever you want! i want to go back....

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