April 21 was a beautiful and sad day all in one, as I said farewell to my friends from all over the country and set off to meet my family in Rome. I knew I would be returning to Florence with my family, so thankfully it was not quite my time to say goodbye to my home. After a rather exhausting week of finals, I was more than ready to see my parents and brother, who I had not seen for the longest stretch of time in my life. I left at 6:30 AM for the train station with my very overweight luggage and was on my way!
There was a snag in communication, however, with my family. My dad was supposed to be able to contact me with his phone plan, but when I tried texting and calling upon my arrival I was unable to get through to him. Thankfully, being the seasoned traveler I am after many months of travel, I was able to easily find their hotel address and meet them there in perfect timing! I’ll never forget dragging my bags through the front door and the huge smile on my brother’s face when he saw me. Perhaps it was both happiness to see me and laughing at me struggling with 80 pounds of luggage. Regardless, it was a perfect moment seeing my family again.
After a week traveling with my family, and our trip almost coming to an end, I have noticed some major differences between traveling Europe with them versus traveling Europe with my friends. First of all, I am EXHAUSTED. My parents, being responsible adults, very thoroughly planned out this trip with their travel agent. Every day we have been experiencing a lot and walking even more. From a walking tour around Venice to a tour of the Palace of Versailles to exploring the colosseum, I am definitely burning off the carbs I’ve been enjoying.
While this is wonderful, it’s very different from traveling with my friends from college. For example, while we always have a wonderful time, we don’t plan that much. Not only are we really busy during the week with classes and studying, but we are also on a budget and can’t afford to take the same tours my parents have arranged. When you’re traveling for 10 days you can splurge more than when you travel every weekend for almost four months. We also tend to have a better time walking around and exploring than sticking to a strict schedule, which my parents prefer to ensure we cover everything we wanted to in a short amount of time. I love traveling with both family and friends, but let me tell you that I could not keep up with my family every weekend the way I did with my friends. I am so thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to do both, and that I was able to show my loved ones the place I called home since January. I hope I can return to Europe sometime in the near future to visit the places I didn’t have time for, as well as reliving some of my favorite experiences in Italy.