(Written for the Iowa State Study Abroad Center)


My family and I flew to Zurich, Switzerland where we drove two hours southwest to the town of Interlaken. Our lofted airbnb stood high in the clouds overlooking Lake Thunersee. We woke every morning to brisk fall air and fading colors of fall. Each day, we drove through winding roads that gifted views of the encompassing Swiss Alps. The sunlight and overcast painted a new image at the end of every tunnel. As the seasons shifted, we watched nearby towns prep for the upcoming winter season.


Day two in the Swiss Alps, the famous Eiger Trail was our agenda. Google Maps decided to take us to the opposite side of the mountain where we had a view of the trail instead of a view on it. A single lane road brought us half way up the mountain where we parked our car and hiked a few miles using the maintenance road as our trail. The road gave way to the perfect lunch spot featuring the surrounding Alps and the town of Grindelwald below. We sat and took in the impeccable views. Another incredible moment where I was reminded of my never ending love and appreciation for the natural world.

Mountains are truly one of the most amazing pieces left on this breaking earth. From country to country, we see these strong figures stand tall above the clouds. As the clouds weave in and out of the peaks, together, they paint their own ingenious image. In glaring daylight or a serene moonlight, the same peaks and valleys sprawl to create a variety of painted landscapes.


After nights of watching the sun disappear behind the peaks, wandering through Swiss antique shops, and driving endless hours through the Alps, I am so thankful I was able to spend Thanksgiving with my amazing family. As I grow older and the distance grows farther, goodbyes never get easier. With only a few weeks left in Europe, saying goodbye to my family was harder than the goodbye we shared three months ago. This goodbye was different. In this crazy world full of unexpected tragedy and loss, you can’t help but grip the people you love most. So hold your love ones close and please, hug them any chance you get. 


To the two most inspirational people in my life,

Thank you for giving me the world.