by Julie Pumarejo

I’ve spent many hours – nay many days – dreaming about European travel. We’ve all seen the carefully curated Instagram posts and the dreamy Pinterest pics of #SoloFemaleTraveler! I just never thought that would be me. This is partially because I am a very social animal but mostly because my dad wouldn’t be Liam Neeson if I ever got “Taken.” It wasn’t until I got to college that the opportunity finally presented itself: study abroad!


only had two requirements for my program:

  1. Not a billion dollars (a.k.a. under 15 grand)

  2. Somewhere in Europe.

I stumbled upon a program in Switzerland one rainy Thursday afternoon after eavesdropping on a stoner kid talking about it in the business school lounge. Somehow it was the only one that I didn’t already obsessively inspect. Fast forward five months and I was gazing at beautiful snow-capped mountains while eating fondue and living my best life!

Eventually, my last month in Europe rolled around, and I wanted to go on an adventure. However, none of my friends were interested in joining. This was either because they already visited my desired countries, or they were worried that finals were fast approaching.

I decided to fly solo and I was absolutely terrified. What was I to do when I ate at restaurants alone? How would I feel going weeks on end without talking to a companion?

My answer: travel journal.

This little book saved my mental health whenever I felt lonely. From writing my very first bucket list when I thought my plane to Amsterdam was going down, to getting drunk off my a** from a fat glass of sangria in a tapas bar in Barcelona while detailing every time my highschool crush looked my way, this journal became my appreciated companion.

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