It’s quiet. Far too quiet. Even with Ezra, easily the most exuberant of my brothers, still inside, it’s perfectly silent. I believe he’s perched on a stool in Grammy’s art studio, constructing a birdhouse out of popsicle sticks and a good deal of glue. With the other boys gone, he’s been left to his own devices. It’s quieter than it’s been in years. I’ve been trying to drown it out with the radio.
It’s a bit odd to think about how we’re in the process of scattering across the globe. Elisha and Gabe hugged us goodbye at the airport just a couple of weeks ago and flew to Indiana. Gabe’s going to be working on the biggest hydroponic lettuce farm in the Midwest over the summer, and Elisha’s been working hard at Jan’s Village Pizza in Westfield. I’m quite proud of both of them. But man, do I miss them. I haven’t spent longer than a week away from them at a time, so this has been a bit of an adjustment. Part of traveling as a family is that your siblings truly become your closest friends. Since they’ve been my constant companions, sharing in everything, my traveling buddies, fellow adventurers, and a reliable source of fun (or irritation, depending on the day, if we’re being totally honest), it’s not terribly surprising that we have pretty good sibling bond. Ez and I have been feeling a tad lost without our brothers. And we’re about to experience another parting of ways! Soon enough Mom and I will be off to Europe to adventure for a month, and Dad and Ezra will be headed to Brule to stay at an off-the-grid cabin that’s been in our family for a while. I’m sure you’ll read about that on the boys’ site!
For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been planning a backpacking trip to Europe for some time now. I’ll be spending five weeks traveling through Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy. Along the way I’ll be staying with some really cool people who’ve offered to let me stay and show me around a bit.
Meet my traveling buddy:
He’s a pretty cool dude. He’s quite adventurous, and can usually be found wandering medieval towns in search of the unusual, sporting a leather jacket and hat. He also happens to be into all things steampunk, and is a pretty fantastic writer. His name’s William Wellman. We met last time I was in Europe, when I was twelve. I beaned him over the knuckles with a bamboo pole, which was my primary method of meeting other kids back in the day. We’ve been buddies ever since, although we’ve only actually seen each other twice in the past six years. He’s lived in Germany for most of his life, and he’ll be the first person I see when I arrive.
To say that I’m excited… That has to be the biggest understatement of the year. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for anything in my life. There’s only twelve days left until I arrive in Europe, not that anyone’s counting. I’ve packed and repacked my bag about six times, debated which instrument to bring (that took me about a month. I decided on the fiddle), done probably far more research on Amsterdam and Geneva than is strictly necessary, and worried myself sick. What if I miss my train? What if I lose something important? With me, that could happen. What if I manage my finances incorrectly? I feel rather bad for Will. He keeps having to talk me down from the cliff, poor fellow. Truthfully, I’m not terribly worried about it. It’s not exactly my first time on a solo trip, though it’s close. It should go fine. I’m simply so excited I can hardly see straight.
(Oh, also. Should you happen to know anyone in Italy who’d be willing to host us for a few nights in return for help around the house or something similar, that would be fantastic!)