Germany and Finding Independence

After my sister and I left my mother’s arms at the security escalators, I felt an instant panic settle in. I was about to embark on a brand new traveling journey with my twin sister, and it was either going to go well or have us end up in danger. It was our first time traveling by ourselves, and to say I was nervous would be an understatement. My hands were shaking as we ate dinner near our gate and I couldn’t stop watching the clock, waiting for our flight to be boarded. As we navigated the airport, I told myself that it was going to be alright. After sleeping some worries away on the plane and a brief layover in Dublin, we landed in Germany.

Whilst in Germany, my sister and I stayed with my older brother at his apartment in a small town in Bavaria called Bamberg. Each day, we were able to roam the small town square, lined with small cafes and shops filled with pedestrians. On the weekends, we rode to a different part of Germany where we filled our days with different hikes or visits to various castles. The first weekend we went to Heidelberg, a slightly larger populated area with historical artifacts. The second weekend we went to a small town on the border to Austria. Both of these cities were beautiful to visit and, when we were close to the border, we could see the Alps as we drove on the Autobahn. Traveling in Germany, my sister and I intermittently held conversations in German, which was scary but fun to use. I vividly remember talking to an older German woman just after one of World Cup games. We were sad that Germany lost one game. Soccer is practically a must-watch in Europe. On our small trips around Germany, my brother would let me and my sister go wherever we wanted and try new things. So, we started developing a sense of independence in a foreign country, which helped us feel less nervous and we began to feel like we belonged in our brother’s small town he called home.

On one of our last days in Germany, my sister and I decided that we should celebrate our independence by holding a twin “date” in the nearby forest by my brother’s apartment, where we would have a picnic and listen to music and enjoy the scenery. When we went to order food for our picnic, we ordered in full German at the bakery, which made me feel like we accomplished so much in the brief three weeks we were there. Then, we walked on one of the bike paths on the river to the forest. Observing our surroundings, we realized how much we came to love Germany and all of its bright trees and coffee-scented shopping squares. In our little forest picnic, I can easily say it was one of my favorite moments. It was just my sister and me and we were able to plan and execute our little date all on our own, which was huge. Just three weeks prior, we were two scared American teens. Now, we feel like “grown-up” travelers. 

As we traveled back through Frankfurt airport, we ran into some issues. My sister couldn’t check in to the second leg of our trip home. Thankfully, Germany helped us grow some confidence in traveling alone, so we were able to make it to Dublin and check in with no issues. From our first solo traveling trip, my sister and I stepped outside our comfort zone of family vacations. It was honestly worth it every step of the way. Sure, there were points where I wished we had parents to help hold our hands. But, it helped me stand on my own two feet and realize that, in life, you have to take the reins and do what you want and speak up about where you want to go. I really hope I can go back to Germany sometime soon and I can’t wait to see where I travel next.

 

All photos are courtesy of the author.