My First Trip Overseas: Landstuhl, Germany

I thought I’d do a full-blown post today for Throwback Thursday, instead of just posting a photo on Facebook.

Lately, I’ve been more obsessed with travel than usual. Maybe it’s because of my recent stint as a bonafide guest travel blogger, maybe it’s because I just made a payment on my trip to Greece… either way, all I can do in my spare time these days is think about my future trips and reminisce about past trips.

So, I thought it only fitting to pay homage to the trip that truly started it all.  In 2003, my college bestie invited me to come and visit her in Germany—she was in the Army at the time.  Back in my early twenties, I loved traveling within the U.S. and I had friends all over the country I’d go and visit at least once a year.  The notion of overseas travel was a distant, rather unassuming thought in the back of my mind. I always figured I’d get to it someday. I really WANTED to travel overseas someday. But I never made a plan and stuck to it.

When she invited me to visit, I actually had hesitation about going!  Not because I didn’t want to go, but because I was suddenly terrified to travel to another country by myself. I always envisioned my first overseas trip would be with a group of friends and/or family. Getting onto a plane by myself and flying to Europe had never occurred to me. Hence, the terrifying thoughts never ceased:

I’ve never flown so far all by myself; how long will the flight be? Will the plane crash in the ocean causing me to never see my family again? I don’t speak German; will I be able to communicate with people there? How will I contact my friend once I get there? How will I find her at the airport without a German cell phone? Am I allowed to be on an Army base? I don’t want to get in trouble with the US Government in another country, with no one in my family nearby to bail me out!

These were the types of worries that were running through my mind constantly until I stepped off that plane in Frankfurt and realized… Oh my gosh. I’m in another COUNTRY right now! 

Once that realization finally sank in, I was able to let all the worries go and just enjoy being in the moment.


At the train station headed to Kaiserslautern!

We traveled to a nearby city called Kaiserslautern, known to the soldiers as K-Town. It was the nearest “big city” to Landstuhl, which by the way is a lovely little German village. Picture the architecture from Epcot’s Germany, amp up the authenticity of the people and food by 1,000, and you’ve got Landstuhl.


View from the tower at a castle in Landstuhl

One day we took a hike around the town and ended up at the most adorable little hotel ever—the Schloss Hotel:


I immediately fell in love with this hotel in Landstuhl. I’m going back there one day, and I’m staying at that hotel.

And last but certainly not least, this trip also gave me my first Paris experience! We took a 1-day bus tour from Germany to Paris, about a 5-hour drive one way, and COMPLETELY WORTH IT! Everyone who knows me, knows how I feel about Paris. Well…you have my college buddy to thank for the fact that I’ve been there three times now, and for how many times you’ve heard me go on about Paris this, and French people that, and French food this, and French wine that.  It’s HER fault for taking me there!  And I can’t thank her enough.

My first taste of Paris—even though it was just for a day, it was stunning.

My first taste of Paris—even though it was just for a day, it was stunning.

In so many ways, this trip changed my life. It definitely wasn’t planned as this life-altering event for me, it all came together very casually, but coming back from that trip I had a new-found love that I knew I wouldn’t be able to shake.

What was your first overseas travel experience (if you’ve had one)? How do you think about travel now, as compared to how you thought about it then?



I can’t even contain my level of excitement right now… because… drumroll please…

私は日本に行くよ! (Need a little help on that one?)

Granted, it’s not until 2015. Probably sometime in September. So… really far away.

But seriously. I am THAT excited.  I’ve been wanting to go to Japan ever since high school when I was in a Japanese class and a bunch of my classmates went for 2 weeks in the summer.  I was so jealous I couldn’t go!  Then, my college had a sister school in Japan called Doshisha Women’s College that offered exchange programs.  I really, REALLY wanted to do a semester at Doshisha, but ended up doing the Disney College Program instead for a semester (which pretty much landed me where I am now, so I guess I can’t be too mad about the decision).

Fast-forward many many years, I’m now in my thirties, and I still haven’t been to Japan. So I was having lunch with my friend this past weekend, and the conversation led to a discussion of how we both really wanted to go, and I realized I’ll be celebrating somewhat of a birthday milestone in 2015.  It was pretty much decided over lunch that we’re going to make this happen next year. Plus I figured, pretty sweet to make it happen as part a big huge birthday gift to myself!

I am so flippin’ psyched. WOOOOOOO!!!!!

More to come as plans are solidified….stay tuned!