The End is Near

The end is near, verily it is upon me.

I find that hard to believe, after months of trekking around this continent. It has finally come to an end.  It feels like forever ago that I left New York…it´s like a faded dream in the back of my mind. The life of a backpacker has been MY life for three months now, and it´s still my current reality, and it´s weird to think my life is about to change again! So much change. But change is good.

When I left New York, I was an unhappy man craving adventure, wanting to see the world and whatever opportunities may be out there for me. After everything, I have learned the real lesson:  The value in having friends and family and loved ones, in a place that you know and can call home. That is what matters in life; your own little universe that you create within your own little sphere of influence.

As human beings, that is all most of us can ever have, and even for the ones who wield more control over the masses, their own little circle matters most to them as well. I have seen so many countries and cities, and I am continually baffled by the sheer numbers of people in this world. It seems like there is just an endless amount of people. Even now, as I am in the Internet cafe, I look around and see dozens of people staring at their screens, typing away, sending messages to their loved ones and friends, and reading about the things that matter to them. They each have their little world, and I have mine.

So, now I return to New York, a place that I have grown to miss considerably. I return to build my little world, live in it, and be happy. But I come with a greater knowledge of the world at large, forever changed by experience, a new person, never to go back to the unhappy rut I left months ago. What I will do, how I will accomplish all of this, I do not know. But I do know that my journey has not ended. It has only begun.

Here now, is a list of the countries I have been to, and the cities I have either seen extensively or passed through for a few hours and got a nice glance. The latter will be marked with a “*.”

Israel:  Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Netanya, Tiveria, Haifa.
Bulgaria:  Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas*.
Turkey: Istanbul, Cappadokia, Pammukale, Selchuk.
Greece: Samos, Mykonos, Athens, Delphi, Patras*
Italy: Brindisi*, Naples, Sorrento, Capri, Pompeii, Rome, Florence, Venice.
Switzerland: Bern, Interlaken
Germany: Munich, Fussen, Dachau, Berlin
Czech Republic: Prague
Netherlands: Amsterdam
France: Paris, Nice, Cannes, Monaco, Montpellier*
Spain: Madrid, Toledo, Seville, Grenada, Algeciras, Gibraltar, Cordoba, Barcelona.
Portugal: Lisbon, Sintra, Lagos.

So, the final count is 12 countries (13 if you count Monaco as its own country) and 50 cities. Whoa…the enormity of my trip just hit me. That´s a lot of ground I covered in 3 months!  A lot of train rides…a lot of youth hostels and hotels. A lot of figuring out the currencies, studying maps, getting over “new city” anxiety. This list does not include all the little towns I stopped in to change trains, or just passed through on the fly. Between this list, and all the amazing countryside I have seen from the windows of my trains, I think it is safe to say I have seen Europe, no?

Today, June 6th, is my last full day in Barcelona. Tomorrow, I hop British Airways, stop over in London, and head back to NYC. My last day. It´s over…very strange to think about….

By the way, I don´t think I am going to stop writing these updates. I have enjoyed writing so much, and I have heard so many things from the people reading them about how they have enjoyed them too. So, I may just have to do a “Jared at Camp” series, and after that, who knows?  But it seems this is becoming my journal. So, if along the way anyone gets sick of these emails, let me know and I will be happy to remove you from the list, no hard feelings 🙂

I hope to see everyone at Luna Lounge on June 15th, Thursday, 7:00 pm.  Early evening pah-tay. I will bring my sword for show and tell. Oh, yesterday I bought a hand made drum from Africa, so I will have that to show off too 🙂

Thank you everyone for reading, for all the messages of support. And to all the people I have met along the way, YOU helped make my trip an amazing time. Please keep in touch with me.

So, that´s it. The final update from Europe. End chapter. Let the new chapter begin……NOW.