Ana Raab

Blog

During the summer of 2016, I traveled overseas completely on my own for the first time. Over the course of seven weeks, I wandered through Scandinavia exploring the Swedish heritage of my grandmother, made my way to Berlin by train, and confronted the stark beauty of Iceland—stretching myself along the way.

Follow my past and current journeys here.

Home

What a difference a sense of "home" makes. It seems silly even to me to admit I felt completely unmoored by a couple of bed bug bites, but tis the truth. I also realize what a privilege international travel is, and that is not lost on me as I wallow for a moment in a minor stroke of bad luck. In my third week of travel, I encountered the ultimate nightmare: waking up to welts across my arms followed by a sinking pit in my stomach. Knowing I couldn't stay another night, I eventually ended up at the home of Lisbet and Madsen who are friends of my parents. Before I even arrived, I confessed my situation (it really did feel like a confession as I fully expected them to turn me away!) and they immediately welcomed me regardless and we launched into wash-everything-in-scalding-water to eradicate any chance of bug migration. Bless their hearts, truly. With the bed bug scare, the city initially felt like a cold, unwelcoming place (dramatic, I know!) and I even considered immediately leaving on the next train to Berlin. But I stayed and Lisbet & Mads made me feel right at home and I'm incredibly grateful for that. A couple days later, Copenhagen feels like a brand new city. The whole experience clarified how important a safe place to call home can be, particularly given the nature of solo travel. Even simply in life: as they say, home is not just a physical location but a feeling.