101 Things I Did on my Summer Vacation

This is not an all inclusive list. Merely a snapshot of 65 days in 11 (officially 13, if you count Northern Ireland and The Vatican) countries.


1. Learned that everyone smokes in Europe. Everyone.

2. Spent a homeless night in Spain

3. Fell asleep on a train, a plane, a bus, a boat and a bench. And a bed.

4. Improved my Irish accent

5. Had the most surreal experience in Budapest. The sky looked like it was on fire. That’s the best way I can describe it.

6. Stood in two hemispheres at once.

7. Went to a bar for the first time. And I don’t think I’ll ever be able to top it.

8. Ran around Barcelona at 5 in the morning. Literally ran around.

9. Was taught how to eat a proper French meal.

10. Cut myself on rocks in the Mediterranean.

11. Avoided the dreaded jellyfish of the Mediterranean.

12. Scared the shit out of Justin with my sleepy ramblings.

13. Didn’t use my cell phone for so long I forgot I had one

14. Benefited from the kindness of strangers. American strangers at that.

15. Went to a coffee shop in Amsterdam. And did not partake.

16. Got mean mugged by people from 12 different countries.

17. Perfected my “I have no idea what you’re saying” smile.

18. Cheered for a French rugby team with French rugby hooligans. USAP!!

19. Saw people get patted down by the French Secret Police

20.Learned how to say “Thank you” in 8 languages. And promptly forgot 3 of them.

21. Danced with a Spaniard.

22. Got addicted to Battlestar Galactica. Frak.

23. Shopped for produce in 11 countries.

24. Learned what Kozak means.

25. Tried hookah. Decided that if I have a taste for an orange, I’m going to eat an orange. Not smoke orange flavored tobacco.

26. Got homesick

27. Couchsurfed in Belgium.

28. Stayed in a hostel that put most hotels to shame.

29. Stayed in a hostel that made my skin crawl.

30. Smelled urine. Everywhere.

31. Learned that European girls don’t’ wear swim tops until puberty. And then stop again after 18.

32. Ate paella. Loved it.

33. Walked the length of Dublin in 30 minutes.

34. Had frittes. Just like fries.

35. Learned that Polish bus drivers can get even the strongest of stomachs a bit queasy.

36. The mullet is alive and well my friends.

37. Played the most impressive game of Jenga ever. So intense, that Justin and I moved past our competitive nature and more marveled at our joint accomplishment.

38. Learned the treachery of the Italian Railway workers.

39. Did not get sick.

40. Spent a day on the beach in three countries.

41. Missed a birthday because of the time difference.

42. Cried while talking to a friend on the phone.

43. Sat on the steps with a bunch of college kids late at night in Perugia, Italy.

44. Had epiphanies about America.

45. Had epiphanies about the rest of the world.

46. Learned that I could live out of a backpack.

47. Had 6 shirts, 2 pants, and 2 shorts for 65 days.

48. Rode public transportation in 12 countries.

49. Smelled B.O. in 12 countries.

50. Toured a salt mine. The same salt mine that Pope John Paul II toured.

51. Was heckled for running in Ireland.

52. Saw a giant fireball explode from an Ice Cream truck. It was awesome.

53.  Had hot chocolate that made me believe in heaven.

54. Popped another persons toe blister for free cider. I know I have a problem and I’m working on it.

55. Got told by an English girl  “I like the way you party! If you’re ever in London you look me up.”

56. The Irish love Elvis. Love. Him.

57. Slept in the crack of a janky bed in Florence in the blistering heat in between Annye and Krysta. It was the best I slept all trip.

58. Was asked for my hand in marriage by a dashing and debonair Italian man named Giancarlo outside the Coliseum. While 20 years my senior, I still considered it.

59. Got bit.

60. Blew my chances with a Punjabi Prince. I could be sitting in a hammock being fanned and fed grapes by servants right now if it wasn’t for my standards and razor sharp instincts.

61. Had a German say this “Yeah, so we killed a few Jews…”

62. Ate in a pub that was older than America. By more than 100 years. NBD.

63. Got my butt kicked by a wave in the Atlantic. Or the Bay of Biscay. Minor details really.

64. Had Sangria.

65. Got catcalled by lesbians in Torremolinos, Spain.

66. Learned that Paris really is a dirty city. Saw a storekeeper litter in front of his own building. It’s just not considered a bad thing there, I guess.

67. Slept next to a naked Brazilian woman. I will forever rub that in my brothers’ faces.

68. Awakened my love for walking.

69 Realized how young America is as a country. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

70. Learned the job does not make the man.

71.  Got sick of hearing about other people. Yes, I realize how selfish and condescending that sounds but it was the truth.

72. Had chocolate and waffles in Belgium.

73. Would have strangled a puppy for Mexican food in Spain.

74. Had my fill of ancient relics and other important artifacts. Seen one old statue, seen them all.

75. Was told by a Belgian that he learned everything about America by watching The Simpsons and Family Guy. While there could be worse shows to base your American expertise on, this particular fellow was telling me how the Confederate Flag was a symbol of national pride for Southerners, not a symbol of years of slavery and racism. Needless to say we disagreed a bit.

76. Ate cereal with warm milk for breakfast. Oh, and a sandwich consists of bread, meat and cheese. Nothing else.

77. Learned that to the French, a 3-egg omelet is considered a “snack.” And they say America has an obesity problem.

78. Kabob.

79. Confirmed that Irish is a foreign language. As is most British English.

80. Woke up and didn’t know what country I was in.

81. Found out how many things in Poland are “A gift from Comrade Stalin.”

82. Lody.

83. Got lost with a geography major. 6 years of school and he’s bested by Barcelona!?

84. Listened as 5 Asians watched a video of them doing Karaoke, and were so inspired by their work, they decided to redo the song again, at that very moment. And film it. Again.

85. Actually found myself thinking. “Yeah, I’m okay with not visiting (insert exotic foreign land here), let’s just go to the beach.”

86. Got lost and found.

87. Was chastised by a nun in Rome for wearing shorts in Vatican City. She waved finger at my exposed legs, tsk tsk tsk’ed, and then gave me the universal sign for “shame on you.”

88. Was told, and later learned, that American’s do not know how to “holiday.”

89. Affirmed my love for cider.

90. Couldn’t throw a stick without hitting an Australian.

91. Said, “It’s so green here,” in Ireland. *locals slap hand to forehead*

92. Found out bargaining is harder than everyone told me.

93. Got the following responses when saying I’m from Chicago: “Jerry Springer!” “Michael Jordan!” “Oprah!” “Obama!”  “Where?”

94. Learned that like a fine wine, my trip gets better with age.

95. Ran along the French Riviera.

96. About 55 days into the trip, was so starved for any entertainment in English that I squealed in excitement when we got to watch “Yes Man” on the train from Madrid to Malaga. Then in Torremolinos, we watched a Spanish dubbed Jean-Claude Van Damme movie in including Laurence Taylor, the former football player. I actually said, “You know, Laurence Taylor isn’t that bad of an actor.”  He is.

97. Officially went to 13 different countries and only got 6 passport stamps. I’m not happy about it.

98. Made daylong friends.

99. Left my chapstick in Belgium.

100. Climbed more stairs than I’d ever care to remember.

101. Learned there’s no place like home.



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