The Aftermath of a Month Abroad

If you’ve ever visited a Pinterest travel board, you know this tired Mark Twain quote:

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”

This is all true. On your travels you become more humble and open to new people and new experiences. But that’s nothing new. Of course traveling does that. That’s kind of the point. What I didn’t realize is how fatal traveling would be to certain parts of my psyche.

Well, now that sounds like a bad thing.

Quite the opposite.

This month or so on my own in Germany has helped me to eliminate the “fluff” of my personality. Detached from my normal environment, I am able to see who I actually am. No one here expects me to be top of the class or the leader of a group. It’s just me. I am the simplest, most pure version of Jackie. Here’s what she looks like:

She loves getting lost.
She will sit and pray in any cathedral she sees.
She’ll take a Pilsener with dinner. Always.
She is incredibly nervous around new peers.
She could travel by train all day, every day.
She will always care a little too much a little too fast.
She is incapable of bottling things up, which always makes her seem crazy.
She can barely function without a dog.

I know this is just the start of what I will discover in the next few months, but I think it’s a good start.

I know who I was when I left the States is not who I am now, and who I am now is not who I will be when I return.

And that’s terrifying, and nerve-wracking, and completely fantastic.


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