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Reflecting. Contemplating. Life must go on.

Be advised. This gets a little personal.

I have taken the past few weeks to really reflect on what a great trip I had in Europe this summer. To be completely honest, I decided to take this trip, not only because I have some pretty amazing friends, and the best hosts for me, but...

I needed this trip.

I needed it to keep my mind right. I needed it to keep me sane in my life ahead. I needed this trip to start over.

Being a teacher, I think in academic years, and I had just come off the hardest year of my life. For educators, summer break is a time to reflect, to study up for the year ahead, and to simply recharge from the stresses of having, in some cases, 150+ young lives depending on you for their learning. This summer was meant for much more for me.

I got exactly what I needed. 8 countries in less than a month. Just a few of the highlights. These are all the things that make me feel as lucky as I do. (In no particular order and not a complete'd be here quite a while if I got absolutely everything down.)

Spend quality time with one of my oldest and best friends and his family in one of the most beautiful places I've ever been (Switzerland...incredible).

Get a personal tour of Cambridge University from an old friend that was graduating with his Ph.D. while I was there!

Drink "mass" in Munich in the world's largest and second largest biergartens with another family friend I got to go with me.

Row a boat on a lake high up in the Alps.

Have some traditional Kolsch in Cologne while watching the sunset behind the Cologne Cathedral.

Pet St. Bernards where they originated in the Great Saint Bernard Pass.

Go to the highest mountain in Europe and feel altitude sickness for the first time.

Every place I went, I got to completely take it in--forget about everything that was heavy on my shoulders from a trying year and let it go. I fully dumped it all somewhere over the Atlantic from my super nice economy seat on Singapore Airlines.

I did so many things, and didn't make time for blogging as I was going. I have posts planned to go in more detail (especially about Switzerland and Cambridge!!), but this will have to do...for now. I think I wanted to really have these memories all to myself for a while. ;)

I urge you: Get out. Get away. Do something new. The money will come with some proper planning and, maybe, some sacrifice. This trip was WAY cheaper than getting a therapist for an hour or so a week for the last year....and soooo much better. Better with good friends too--new and old.

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