No. 20: European Adventure Part II

Studio Sunday by Gianna Andrews
Collage of photos from Europe trip

The Mediterranean Sea + anything is possible...

As I sit here sipping my coffee, awaiting the ferry that will sail us away from this Greek island to Athens for one last day before I hop on a long flight home, I can’t help but dream of all of the other places I want to travel. Of all of the other things I want to do in this one life. At the same time, I can’t wait to squeeze my dog and hop in my van for a fall camping trip on the coast. 

Right now, anything and everything seems possible. 

I like how my friend Rachel put it (whom I’ve been traveling with the past two weeks since leaving the painting class): “There’s an expansive quality to travel.” 

And after being gone from home for three weeks now, away from all familiarity and routine other than the three outfits I packed in my suitcase, I couldn’t agree more. 

When I first left home, this trip felt like a mountain to climb. I was teary-eyed most of that first ten-hour flight because it was so hard to leave my dog, Arrow, behind. It was like ripping off the Band-Aid. I could barely imagine this adventure would go by so quickly, but after several days in Italy, I found my travel groove. 

Over the past three weeks, I’ve experienced many amazing opportunities: sailing on the Amalfi Coast, painting in the streets of a small Italian mountain village, meeting Italian relatives for the first time and using Google translator to communicate, traveling with my best friend, hiking to the highest point in the Cyclades (Mount Zeus), eating authentic Greek and Italian food, etc. The list goes on!

I’ve also become clear on a few things: I love and miss surfing, I want to become fluent in Spanish because Mexico has my heart, Greek salads are my new favorite meal, I love painting in my style, traveling while sick kinda sucks (I’ve had a cold/cough the past week), my dog is my best friend, etc. This list also goes on! 

Most importantly though, I’ve reinforced the idea that putting myself out of my comfort zone, away from everything I identify with, allows me to view my life from a bird's eye view. It is vital to my growth.

I think this insight explains why over the course of my life I’ve signed up for wild adventures, learned new things, and pushed myself to expand beyond who I thought I was. Like mountaineering in the Himalayas for instance, biking across Montana, or selling everything and bailing to Mexico for a couple months. 

It’s actually an innate human trait to push past what we know to be our own reality, to sail through unknown seas, only to find ourselves again. 

What I love most about returning from an adventure is the inspiration and vitality these new experiences bring to my daily life. Like I said at the beginning, this trip has shown me that most anything is possible. If I want to learn to sail, I can. If I was to train for ultramarathons, I can. If I want to head out in the van down the California coast, I can. The best part is that I get to decide what‘s next. 

It’s been a pleasure to be a student on this three-week trip through the Mediterranean. I can’t wait to integrate all of these experiences into my life back in the PNW.

Onwards & upwards!

Gianna at the top of Mount Zeus

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