Europe trip rekindled thrill of adventure

Huge snowflakes fell gently from the sky as we walked the narrow, cobblestone streets of Zurich?s old town. The majestic spires of the city?s historic churches jutted above the snow-covered rooftops, and the slopes of the Swiss Alps peaked through the fog in the distance.

I breathed in deep and took in the peaceful, relaxed atmosphere. It was moments like these that I wanted to always remember. The moments and feelings my camera couldn?t truly capture.

During January, I had the incredible opportunity to return to Europe. I was able to revisit places that I fell in love with a year and half ago and discover new places that captured my heart.

For three weeks, a group of seven other Tabor College students and I, along with our leader, made our way through London, Paris, Zurich, Munich, Venice and Rome.

I have almost 2,000 pictures to eternalize the beautiful sights and historic landmarks I saw, but some of my favorite memories are like the one I mentioned above. The ones my camera couldn?t possibly capture.

As my mind often wanders back to Europe during the monotony of ?real life? back home, I find myself returning to the amazement of staring at Jane Austen?s own handwriting in the British Library, the sense of awe at walking through the Bavarian Alps up to Neu?schwanstein Castle and the exhilaration of strolling the deserted streets of Rome at midnight.

Traveling is about more than seeing famous sights and eating delicious food, although I am huge fan of that part. It?s about experiencing a new way of life. It?s about feeling things deeply and seeing more of God?s creation. It?s about getting out of your comfort zone. The best part of traveling is the adventure that comes with it.

On this trip, I quickly realized that adventure isn?t always perfect. Our trip was full of mishaps and frustrations.

Sometimes my mind returns to the fear I felt after almost being pick-pocketed in the tunnels of the Paris metro, or the worry the consumed when I thought we were leaving behind two people in the London train station?and when we actually did leave behind two people on the train to Venice.

Every single moment, both good and bad, was a part of a great adventure. I learned a lot during this adventure. I learned about the history that shaped the world, and I learned more about who I am as a person.

One of my lessons, though, came after I returned. I learned that adventure doesn?t have to end when the plane lands back home. As Peter Pan says, ?To live will be an awfully big adventure.?

After just traveling overseas, I?ll admit it?s hard for me to see the daily routine of school and homework as an adventure. I still daydream about Europe almost every day and wish I could turn back time and be exploring new places again.

Until the next big adventure comes my way, though, I?m cherishing those memories and seeking out the adventure in the small things. I don?t have to be halfway around the world to keep an open mind, look at things from new perspectives, feel things deeply and step out of my comfort zone.

Adventure really is out there, and it?s up to me to find it.

Bailey Kaufman attends Tabor College. She can be reached at baileykaufman@tabor.edu.