Today I leave for London and I won't return to the stateside of the Pond until August! I am elated! I am studying abroad for the month of June in London, Brussels, Paris and Geneva. I will be taking classes on international economic law, international institutions, and sustainable development. During the trip my colleagues and I will travel to various international organizations and institutions to be briefed on the work they do there while traveling across some of Europe's most beautiful, historical, culturally rich metropolises. This year may have been hellish but it all seems worthwhile with an opportunity like this. In July I will be visiting a dear friend in Paris, taking French lessons, possibly working on a WWOOF farm in Aix en Provence, meeting my DC roommate and longtime friend in the UK, and just letting fate take me along for a little ride. After traveling with my trusty travel partner for the last few years I'm on my own this time and looking forward to the independence, confusion, and adventure that comes with traveling abroad. After three months in South America I'm hoping that I am prepared to take on the EU all by myself!
I struggled to decide whether to forgo the backpack in exchange for a real suitcase since amongst my gear I am toting some suits, gowns, several pairs of pumps, my trench and other goodies. Alas, it turns out you can't take the backpacker out of the girl quite that easily. As I reluctantly placed my pack in my closet, opting to be a "grown up", something caught my eye; a baggage tag from Air Peru dangled proudly from the left strap "IQU" stamped on it like a badge. Ahh Iquitos and the Amazon. I fondly recalled trekking in the jungle with my big blue pack, rain boots tethered to the outside thumping along as I hopped across giant puddles and hot rain beat down on my back. My pack has become a travel companion, we've been through a lot together, and I don't think I can see myself going back to the days of wheelies flipping over on cobblestoned streets or hitting the backs of my legs in a mad dash for the train. I guess you could call this my "Ode to the backpack", and even though I will be carrying a separate bag filled entirely with shoes (Shhh no judgments), I still think the spirit of backpacking is something I won't ever fully let go of.
Tomorrow I arrive into Gatwick and I couldn't be more excited if I tried! I have never been to the UK although I have read about it all of my life and fantasized about it even more. I'm staying at a friend of a friend's flat before we move over to our hotel on Sunday just in time for class to begin on Monday. Somehow I don't think law classes in London will plague me quite as much as they did this past year. Much more to come, check back soon mes amies. On my own and ready to take on the world, let the odyssey begin!