Life Lessons: My Journey Through Europe

This past year and three months abroad have been a very satisfying and fulfilling time for me. Leaving Europe is very difficult, especially when you have to leave friends behind who ask, ‘When will you come back?’


I don’t have an answer right now, but I know for a fact that I will come to Europe often. Europe has always been home to me. In the last 10-15 years, I have been in and out of Europe, traveling often in this wonderful continent. It was only a matter of time before I moved and lived here. The biggest takeaway from this experience is feeling very lucky to be able to do this. I used to wonder why a lot of people don’t travel often when it’s an experience that shapes you as a whole. Now I understand that, aside from money, it’s a personal decision and some people just don’t have the motivation.

For me, travel is ingrained in my nature. I’m a curious-minded, adventurous fiend, and I absolutely love it. I am well aware of how lucky I am to be able to live and travel in Europe. I understand that not a lot of people can do this, and I don’t take it for granted by any means.

Looking back, there are a few lessons that I learned and will never forget.

  1. Traveling alone 
    Traveling alone is still a work in progress for me. However, if I can move to another country without knowing the language, I can definitely travel alone.
  2. Listen
    Listening was difficult since I didn’t know the language. However, I learned to listen very well; it’s a powerful skill to have when trying to understand someone who’s communicating their thoughts, or when you need critical documents processed.
  3. Speak Up
    Speaking up is important. There have been many times when I was the only person who didn’t speak another language, making me feel uncomfortable. I learned to defend myself and stand up for what I felt was right, even if I had to repeat myself over and over again.
  4. Diversity
    Diversity was an eye-opener for me. Coming from L.A., I thought I was living in a multi-cultural city and living a diverse lifestyle. However, sitting in a room full of people who spoke 3-6 different languages made me realize that what I knew may not always be right, and someone else may do things better.
  5. Communication
    Communication is a powerful skill, and learning a new language can help you defend your thoughts and ideas to someone who doesn’t speak your language. I wish I had learned Italian before I came, but my Spanish skills helped me a ton.
  6. Customer Service
    Customer service in the USA is one of the best in the world. Americans in a service-oriented environment are able to explain things better than anyone from the beginning of a process to the very end.
  7. Quality
    Quality food and drinks in Europe, especially in Italy, take it home, even though Americans are great in customer service.
  8. Competition
    I never realized how competitive I was until I came to Europe. However, I learned to pick my battles and let things go when necessary.
  9. Roll with the punches
    Rolling with the punches is something I learned to do. I’m an impatient person, but when things don’t go as planned, I definitely learned to roll with it. Some things are out of your control.
  10. Taste
    My taste buds have completely changed, and I’ve discovered new and delicious dishes that I never would have tried before. From the fragrant herbs and spices in Italy to the rich cheeses in France, every meal has been a new adventure for me. It’s incredible how much my palate has expanded, and I know what I like and don’t like now more than ever.

Until next time….ASA


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