Final days in Europe

Final days in Europe
Photo by Max van den Oetelaar / Unsplash

I'm currently sitting in a coffee shop in Copenhagen. It's one of my last bits of travel before returning to the U.S. A victory lap in a sense.

And it feels like a victory lap.

The past 5 months have been a movie. With highs, lows, and everything in-between. It was a journey from start to finish and it never stopped being interesting.

June 2022

My friends and I lay leisurely on the floor of my buddy's apartment in California. We're talking life, cracking jokes, and I'm thinking "hmmm... should I pull the trigger on this move to Europe"?

It's something I've been considering. I don't know if the logistics will work out, but I know the timing would be good. I want to do it. But, I doubt myself. Europe is a far way from home. And there's endless decisions I can make about what to do next with my life. It could be Europe. Finding a new job. Just going all-in on my side businesses.

I had been interviewing to jobs for weeks. Even got some offers. But, they always failed the gut test.

I always left the interview thinking, "man... this just seems like another step backwards from my goals". And looking back, I think my gut was totally correct.

But, this Europe idea was different. It passed the gut test. And I knew, good or bad, it would give me a binary response. I'd either love it or hate it. And that's what I wanted. I wanted to go so far outside of my comfort zone that it'd be obvious where my comfort zone actually was.

So I booked the housing.

August 2022

I touch down in Luxembourg. Boom. That's it. No going back now. Well, I suppose I can go back. But, at this point it's like bye-bye to $5000 if I do. So full steam ahead.

And it's a good feeling. I'm completely on my own path. The sun is shining and I'm stretching my legs before hopping on the bus from the airport. I look across the street and see a girl with a traveler's backpack on. It's filled with patches. NYC. Yellowstone. Madrid. Paris. Iceland. Rome.

For some reason that eased the tension. I'd never seen a backpacker like that in Minnesota. But they're here in Europe. And it's got me excited.

Now, if I could do it over again I wouldn't have started my trip in Luxembourg. As an American, it felt like everything was novel in Luxembourg. Everything from language, to their transit systems was totally different.

And for those reasons, those first two days were pretty stressful. Knowing you're on the other side of the earth from all your resources. Plus, walking around and hearing every language except English is pretty daunting.

And, the main thing I noticed from this period is how everyone looked so relaxed. People were laughing, running, arguing. It was just another day for everyone. I certainly didn't relate, but I envied that feeling.

Then, on day 3 I made a friend. It was really transformative. We'd be chatting and walking through the street and I realized I had become one of those people that I was watching the day before. I was the comfortable local.

I'd walk past areas that previously seemed crowded and chaotic, but now just felt normal. And after that moment I really never got stressed like that again. It was great.

Okay, I think there's many ways to know who the locals are, but, here's my favorite.

If you're taking the metro and know which end of the station you'll be exiting on at your destination station and position yourself to be on the train car closest to that exit, you're a local.

November 2022

This is the moment where reality hit me. Up to this point I'd been on multiple trips out of Amsterdam. Trips to London, Cologne, Brussels, northern Italy and more. Minnesota felt like a lifetime ago.

But, this was also a little over half way through my planned time in Europe. And, as much as I valued my time here, I felt like I got nothing out of it.

I was gonna return to the U.S. with no job and no money. I had many good memories, but I was still gonna be many steps behind then when I left.

Now, before I moved to Europe, I had considered all the story arcs that could take place. Maybe I'd love it and stay permanently. Maybe I'd hate it and want to leave right away.

With everything I considered, there was various good and bad outcomes. Going home jobless was not one of the good outcomes.

I'll also add, I had a lot of personal growth in this time. I knew that I genuinely wanted to get a job again. I wanted that stability and stress.

I loved working for myself, but my businesses didn't need me the entire 8 hours a day.

So I started a job hunt.

December 2022

After what felt like million rounds of interviewing, I finally settled on a role I liked. Not only one one that I liked, but one that I was excited for.

I always felt like a job that could play double-duty be teaching me skills and techniques that would be useful to my own ventures someday would be the ideal.

Issue is that those jobs are rare. And usually they're so demanding of your time from you that, while you learn a lot, you won't be able to put those skills into action.

So I accepted. And, booked my final europe trip to Copenhagen. The same trip that I'm writing this post from.


It's crazy. In a span of 5 months I went from stable job, to jobless, to jobless in Europe, to jobless and broke in Europe, to jobless and broke during a recession in Europe, to great new job in Europe, and now I go back to the U.S.

I feel like my life has been one of these memes. Never let 'em know your next move:

@waterintheamp keep your enemies guessing🥷 #neverletthemknowyournextmove #keepemguessing #fyp #foryou #humor #for #nextmove #fypシ #рек #recommendations ♬ original sound - Warren🖤

And who knows what's next from here. I think I have a good idea what my next year will look like, but beyond that who knows.