This past February, I had the opportunity to travel by myself for the very first time. I was not expecting this to happen to me at eighteen, but I was excited nonetheless. I got to go to Berlin Film Festival as an intern for a PR company and a sales & distribution company on a one month notice. There were only a few spots open in the program I applied to and with minimal information, I was kind of convinced that I was being conned. BUT FEAR NOT. I did actually get set up with two internships and got to experience a week of a lifetime.
Before flying out, I lowkey was panicking hardcore because I still thought I was being conned, and then I was afraid that I would miss my flight, and that I would be kidnapped without a phone in a foreign country, with no knowledge of German other than “Nein” and “Danke.” The usual fears. But there was something so peaceful and triumphant about flying alone, despite the crying baby next to me. Upon arriving, I told myself I’d try to take their Metro but failed miserably and got a taxi instead. Apparently in Germany, tipping is not a thing? I tried really hard to tip the guy who drove me and he was utterly confused and told me to keep my money. Hm, never been told that before in my life.
Once I got to the hotel, everything was set up for me with my schedule and I had a roommate in the program, which is the first time I ever had a real life roommate (seeing as I live with my sister regularly and it’s not quite the same). Most of the day was spent in the office (which was at the Ritz Carlton and super nice – el oh el at places I’ll never be able to afford) and kind of mundane but with the very intern job of making lunch runs, I got to meander around the city to pick up food. Although when your bosses are vague, it’s really hard to know that you have picked the right food, especially when it’s their assistant who is guesstimating. Each time I was worried they would hate me but I think they were happy just not to have to get their own food.
Everything I remember is in a blur. I held Terence Davies’, Cynthia Nixon’s and Jessica Ehle’s jackets, walked on a red carpet, had journalists yell at me before the round table conference because it was running late, and heard the same promotional videos over and over. I usually napped when I got home and didn’t do much, but I did manage to go to my first few clubs, which were pretty fun, although creepy men and sweat & alcohol smells are not pleasant. I also had a few days to myself, where I completely navigated the city by myself after intensive Google Mapping and Metro stalking. I plugged my headphones in and was mostly lost, but it was beautiful to see this artistic city anyways. (Someone even asked me for Metro directions LOL IF ONLY THEY KNEW HOW CONFUSED I WAS). Altogether, I met some really cool people, and saw a really cool city (although I would love to have seen more) despite the blistering cold temperatures, and I had some serious post-Berlin depression when I arrived home. I definitely recommend everyone to travel alone at some points in their young lives because there is this wonderful adrenaline rush and sense of freedom that is unlike anything else.