I wish I could write all day about time spent in Vienna. I wish I had the ability to relay every little representative oddity of the city. I wish, truly, that I could expertly discuss Austrian culture, cuisine, and historical antiquity, but I can’t, because that would all be a facade in relativity to my time here. I spent less than 48 hours in this city and it would only be a falsely-laced injustice to pretend as if I became learned of and from it all.
This resistance to glorify my Vienna trip all truly stems from inaccurate portrayals of adventures we see on the internet all the time, someone experiencing a fraction of a complete venture or experience or in this case, a city, but because they’re in control of what’s to be shared to the public, their superficial experience blossoms into an elaborately spun affair. Maybe I’m just ranting because I’m coming off a night of very little sleep, riding a train from Vienna to Venice, next to a very nice girl who was playing “Big Girls Don’t Cry” by Fergie far too loud– or maybe I’m just whistleblowing the inaccuracies of travel stories accepted as reality nowadays.
Less than 48 hours were spent in Vienna and truthfully I’m leaving the city knowing not much more than when I came in. That’s the reality of rapid backpacking. As my first cross-continental European trip, I’m realizing the ineffectiveness of hitting tons of cities with minimum exposure. I’m loving my time– it’s just the reality of my inexperience. That, along with dying camera batteries. There’s really no way to romanticize forgetting to charge your batteries other than being young and careless– every now and then your brain will forget to remind you to charge your battery overnight, and you’ll of course realize it the next day as you’re taking what was probably going to be a revolutionary image. Poor Vienna was only 5% documented.
It was in a cafe waiting out the slow rain that I jotted down quick thoughts on a loose piece of paper before beginning a book just purchased, Very Good Lives, a commencement speech given by J.K. Rowling to Harvard graduates in 2008. I’m sharing my written thoughts, not because it’ll benefit anyone by reading what was originally meant to be kept personal, but because sharing the intricacies of how I work might help create an image of the essence Vienna enabled me to feel.
“Maybe this is the setting people are envious over. Sitting in an Austrian cafe waiting for the rain to pass. I can hear tires driving over the wet streets. I’m on a green couch and I feel like I belong in this moment where I don’t speak or understand the way of life around me but I don’t mind. Maybe the fact that I’m writing on a ticket stub that took me even farther from home. I’m so thankful for that. It was pointed out to me that I haven’t paid American rent in 2 months. That made me feel so refreshed and alive. How do I go home? With the promise that I’ll be back, quickly and triumphantly. Permanently.”
You are nervous to begin reading this. You bought it to become acquainted with the personal interworkings of the author, but as you’re opening the first page right now, you’re realizing you might as well be taking this advice personally. YOU ARE GRADUATING, and it’s finally hit you, that the next half year will pass very quickly, and then all that’s planned is taking the advice of commencement speeches and trying desperately to be “something” that makes you happy and your parents proud and is satisfactory enough for Navient.
You are scared as hell but I believe that you understand the gravity of the crossroads that will be approaching and I hope that you read this in a few months time with a graduation cap on your head, laughing comfortably at how clueless and silly all of life’s problems seemed in the summer of 2017.
What a beautiful city Vienna was though, with its moody clouds huddled together in the sky and its aged architecture reminding me happily of Prague.