Where do I even begin? 10 years is a long time. How do I even start a conversation? “Hey! It’s nice to see you! Long time no see! How is everything?”

10 years is enough for the world to visibly change. From the last time I’ve been here, we’ve gone from paper maps, big cameras, and day-ahead bus ticket purchases at the booths to the ubiquitous, always-connected smartphone. From the last time I’ve really talked to these friends, we’ve gone from Facebook to Instagram to an opaque, increasingly toxic algorithm pushing away any sort of personal content and whittling away already-tenuous connections literally separated by oceans. It’s made keeping up even on a circumstantial level more difficult, and time has worn the initiative it takes to keep in touch.

From the last time I saw these friends, many now have children. I’ve only ever known them while travelling, and now our lives have taken very different directions. And for the most part, I admit I haven’t really been great at keeping in touch either. So it’s with a bit of trepidation that I proposed this trip — am I imposing on them, am I being a burden? Am I merely a reminder of a past life? Aside from the good times we’ve shared, what drew us to become friends in the first place, and do we continue to share anything in common 10 years later? It’s with immense gratitude and a little bit of surprise that I’ve been so welcomed with open arms.
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Thun, Switzerland

The scenery here is incredible. ¬†And the fact that I’m here – mainly who I’m with here – is surreal: Marlies and Flo, whom I met in South America! ¬†It’s hard to believe that over two months have passed since we said goodbye in Lima. ¬†With Marlies at work on weekdays, Flo drove me around various cities and villages around the region, all thanks to recommendations from Marlies’ mother.

Can Vancouver just cede the title of most beautiful city already? ¬†Vancouver’s awesome, but we just can’t compete! ¬†I mean, come on, Thun has two castles. ¬†Two! ¬†One by a lake!

Yes, there are the stereotypes: potatoes, cheese, and cows. ¬†R√∂sti, raclette, and chocolate. ¬†Delicious, delicious stereotypes. ¬†Oh, and cowbells, but you can’t eat those.

But the endless hiking, uncountable mountains, crystal clear lakes and rivers to dip your feet into, giant fields to frolic in, beautiful public fountains that are nearly all drinkable, pretty buildings, stunning valleys, houses perched precariously and in solitary, all just within a stones’ throw…it’s not fair.
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