Feb 14, 2017
By Mikkel Paige Mihlrad
Fearless Through my European Travel Initiative
You know those people who say, but don’t do? Who wish, but take no action to turn dreams into reality? Though I’ve never been one of those people – always a leader, always a do-er, always one to take the path less traveled and an eternal optimist – there was a certain point in my life I allowed others and circumstances to hold me back from seeing the world.
So when I was presented with a unique opportunity to go to Paris and London seven years ago I had to make it happen. Up until that point I had only dreamed of visiting Europe. But the stars aligned and I was able to fly solo to meet my aunt there for a few days, which was scary and comforting all at the same time. The truth was I didn’t have the money to go. I recall crying with fright in the airport realizing how much those two cities cost wondering if I should turn around and go home. I focused on taking comfort in some financial assistance on the heels of my aunt’s hotel stays, where I was invited to tag along, and went anyway.
Three years after that incredible trip I had the itch to go back. I had a dilemma, or fork in the road: no one would go with me. Friends had the excuses you’d expect (time off from work and lack of money) and I didn’t have a travel companion or relative to meet there. Fearful of falling into the same trap from years prior, this time nothing stood in my way.
I ended up booking a few city visits including Barcelona, Amsterdam, Prague, Bruges, Berlin and London. It was the affirmation of embracing solo travel I needed to give me the confidence to always say “yes” if a travel opportunity ever presented itself.
While the 2009 trip ignited a spark my return in 2012 fueled it into a flame. Never again would I turn down a trip for lack of someone to stand beside me in a museum or sit across from me at a foreign restaurant. The desire was within ME and that was more than enough to press “confirm” on a flight purchase.
I’ve realized travel is my form of magic. It’s the interesting cultures you get to be a part of, or strangers you encounter you would never otherwise meet. It’s the places you’re able to visit if you’re solo because your itinerary is yours alone to determine. I recall sitting alone in a cafe in the Old Town Square in Prague, being grateful for the history surrounding me and feel of warm soup and cold Czech beer entering my body on a chilly day in July. And that’s simply one of hundreds of memories I’m thankful for since that 2009 trip.
That resulting spark grew into a flame and turned into an inferno, which has since led me to spreading my travel experiences through my travel blog, Sometimes Home.
Presented with a fork in the road I chose to go with my heart’s desire and travel the road I selected, recognizing the only thing ever holding any of us back from achieving our dreams is ourselves. I’ve traveled from Europe to Asia to Central America and beyond. I continue to be grateful for the spark that ignited my wanderlust heart and the fuel within myself to keep it burning.
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About the Author
Mikkel Paige Mihlrad
Mikkel is a professional photographer who started a dedicated website for travel, Sometimes Home, when her wanderlust continued to grow along with her passion of sharing helpful travel information along the way. Europe and Asia are thus far her favorite continents to explore, as this thirty-something woman who calls the east coast of the U.S. her home base (particularly New York and North Carolina) adds more stamps to her passport.