Published: April 4th 2006April 4th 2006
So I have finally decided to do one of these travel blog things. I don't really know if it is or will be worth reading, but I'm writing it anyway. I'm only really now starting travelling, although you could say that I have been for seven months already. Well, perhaps not travelling, but at least foregoing some sort of an adventure.
At the moment, however, I am no longer in Stuttgart and have actually not been there for almost two weeks now. Instead I am sitting at a computer at my uncles in Switzerland, writing and looking out the window at snow covered peaks such as Mt Pilatus and the Eiger, which from here, climbint it looks like no problem...
It might be silly that I know this, but I spent exactly 205 days in Stuttgart. Give or take a few hours and those days when I wasnt actually there
there. As I took the train away down to Switzerland I simply felt... sad. In fact it was probably one of my saddest days ever for me. Leaving Canada was nothing like it. I knew and know that I am going back to Canada at one point, but Stuttgart was another story. Stuttgart isnt a particularily nice city, nor is it overly exciting, or alive. I would probably rather ride a train at 5 in the morning to Bonn after drinking 5 liters of beer from an oversized Masskrug (mug), than go out to the clubs in Stuttgart, and it sometimes seemed that the people there couldnt get any less friendlier. However, the name Stuttgart for me now has a correlation with what has been the best 7 months I've ever had and may ever have (hopefully not the latter, but it's going to be hard to beat.) As said, the city itself is nothing special, so were I in Vienna, Madrid, or Bucharest, it wouldnt have made a difference. It is true that I am about to embark on the second half of what I call my adventures, but I am skeptical that it will be able to bring everything together as perfectly as "Stuttgart."
So what was it then that made it so great? I too pondered this and came up with a sort of explanation that doesnt really involve specific events or details. Instead I looked at it broader and as follows: It seems that our goals or perhaps dreams, in one way or another, demand that we step out of reality. This is generally why people have and take vacations, go skiing, diving, climb mountains, etc. Even reading books or watching movies can be seen as a short step out of reality. Why exactly do we even drink sometimes? The problem(s) with this is that even a given amount of any of the above can get boring. It seems as if humans also have the need to tend to strive for a sense of worthfulness and self-fullfillingness; essentially a purpose. So something such as an overly prolonged vacation tends to work against this. You might say, reality's way of biting back. So perhaps it is possible to find a balance, or to push the boundaries of what reality actually is. Now the point being, this is what Stuttgart was for me. The particular combination of studying (yes I actually did some,) drinking/partying, travelling and basically being paid to do so, all while being around similar minded people from almost every corner of the world resulted in this. Obviously, there are other means of doing this and for perhaps longer periods of time if not for the whole length of life. Why exactly do so many people look up to those they see on T.V or in magazines all the time? Have these people found that balance? Are some of us living vicariously through them in order to get this feeling? I myself am not a big fan of celebrity personalities (as some of you may know, so I will spare the rant,) so I would recommend, if such an opportunity ever presents itself, although it may look difficult at first, to take it.
I was asked if I had any regrets about 3 weeks ago about undergoing this exchange. Never having really thought about it, I came to the conclusion that I really didnt. In my late teens I always figured that skiing would be how I would achieve that quasi-reality life or experience, but letting that slip through my fingers, this was the next best thing. So any regrets? Not one, save maybe the 100 euros spent on watching the Snowboard Super G event in Torino... So from international dinner nights (where I cooked up some mean Mr Noodles) to Colombus ever sunday for dinner. From liters of beer at Oktoberfest and falling asleep while standing in a stripclub to quiet trips to castles and cathedrals. From crazy WG (res) parties to little group get togethers and hanging out with a little Singaporean and from learning (or trying) German, to learning all the bad words in most European languages. And finally, from all those just really good days to even those occasional rough ones, thanks for the good frickin times Stuttgart!!
So in two days it is off to Egypt than Greece. At the end of the month I will be back in Western Europe, so long as I dont become a Pharoah, or a Pharoahs bitch at some point of time and will write another one then, or try.
P.S. If any of the above stuff didnt make any sense, take into account exactly what I wrote about the fact about me not being fully in reality for a while... :) Oh wow, I just used an emiticon.