The last weeks of 2017 and first weeks of 2018 had me on the road. From the sunny hills of Portugal to the snowy mountains of Switzerland I was in Mulhouse for only 3 days out of 6 weeks. When I woke up in my bed at the end of it I had no idea where I was.
I spent time in 5 countries, 13 cities and 12 beds (including one overnight bus). I took 4 different trips to Strasbourg. I performed in 3 theaters. And best of all I had 7 beautiful people visit me. I love this- seeing new places and experiencing the world with amazing people.
Sometimes travel is magical.
But sometimes travel sucks.
I know it can seem like being an expat ballerina is all croissants and tiaras but that’s only one aspect of my life.
In my whirlwind past 6 weeks I experienced:
- 1 diverted flight
- 1 unplanned $185 taxi ride (due to said diverted flight)
- 1 accidental bite of pork (my first in 20 years. I did not enjoy it.)
- 1 barf in a 5-star hotel (on Christmas day no less)
- 1 evacuation of a theater due to the roof threatening to collapse on the audience right before showtime.
- 1 quest for a knee brace in Portugal because dancer joints fail at alarmingly early ages
- 1 busted lip from falling off a faulty bicycle
- 1 hour locked out in freezing cold Paris at 2am because the old-fashioned key didn’t work
- 1 wheel knocked off my new suitcase in transit
- 2 days of not showering because I was creeped out by my AirBNB hosts
- Embracing a “They’re running; should we run?” method of figuring out rail schedules
- 1 bottle of alcohol-free wine consumed because, well, Portugese is hard
These are only the bad things I remember! Not to mention all the missed or late modes of transport which are just a fact of life in Europe, the language fails which are usually funny but sometimes make me despair, when a bottle of water costs 16 euros in Switzerland. That time a woman asked me if I spoke English and I inexplicably answered, “A little bit.”
But there is also so much to love and so much to be grateful for. Like the fact that in vending machines in Switzerland you can choose between cannabis tea, a pregnancy test, or M&Ms. I know what I choose…
Seriously though….Even though I am 4,600 miles away I am so grateful to have supportive friends who come visit me. Grateful to live in France and have a job dancing. Grateful to get to travel to so many places. Grateful that I’ve never lost a passport and haven’t been robbed since Costa Rica.
When travel isn’t always on-time departures and Instagram-worthy shots, I try to take a breath and realize that even if it’s pouring down rain it’s a privilege to travel and live this life. It’s my favorite thing, in spite of all the ways it can sometimes suck. As they say, some people dance in the rain, others just get wet.