Some pretty righteous dude once said, “Life has no opposite. The opposite of death is birth.” The people I’m closest with know I love this quote. I think it throws a whole lot of things into perspective about the triviality of the day-to-day and how you really shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. I also think it can push you to start thinking about what you want to do and who you want to be. The first time I heard this quote, I was by myself in Europe. I was traveling from a small town in the German countryside to Vienna, Austria by train, listening in on conversations of people in languages I didn’t understand. When you hear enough of something, you tune it out until another stimulus enters the picture. That’s what happened on my train ride. After a couple hours of not understanding other people’s conversations in German, I turned to a book I’d brought with me on my trip. Completely enamored with the characters, I tuned out the other conversations and lost myself in the descriptions of the antagonist and his tragic interactions with the other characters. That’s when a stimulus caught my attention. There was someone speaking English on my train. I perked up and peered around my seat edge to a few rows in front of me. He was talking to the ticket collector (who also spoke English) about what sights to see in Vienna. Excited at the chance to talk to someone who knew English, I grabbed my bag and plopped down in the seat across from him. Daring, I know. If I were in the States, I probably would’ve stayed in my seat, but since I was on my own little Eurotrip, I figured why not mix it up? We ended up talking the rest of train ride about the usual stuff: where we were from (he worked at a ski resort in Utah), why we were here (he just decided to up and visit Germany and Austria), and what our plans were (he didn’t have any real set plans). It was perfect. During the duration of that train ride to Vienna, I had found a new friend. We ended up spending the next couple days in Vienna meeting other new people (he actually spoke some German), seeing some sights, and making some memories I’ll never forget. He was actually the first person who had told me that quote I mentioned before. Though I know he didn’t make it up himself, I still can’t help but give him all the credit for it. If I hadn’t taken a chance and gone to Europe by myself, and if I hadn’t gotten up from my seat on that train, I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to make the great memories we made. Taking a trip by yourself may seem like a scary notion, and it is – I’m not denying that. But I’m also not denying that it’ll be one of the greatest decisions you make. Ever since that trip, when I stepped outside my comfort zone, I’ve changed. I still am the same core person I was, but now I’m like the improved version. I’m more confident, more daring, more adventurous, more willing to take a chance in an uncertain situation. The only certainties are birth and death, so why not make the most out of life? Even if you don’t meet a new best friend on a train during your solo-Eurotrip, you should still get out there and take a trip somewhere alone – even if it’s just another town or state. Make some new memories, and you’ll end up with some great stories in the process. And isn’t that what life is really all about?