Ana Raab

Blog

In the summer of 2016, I traveled completely on my own for the very 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, explored the stark beauty of Iceland and endeavored to discover a small piece of myself along the way (while doing my best to pronounce words like "Siglufjörður!").

Follow my past and future travels 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.