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Saint Malo, France. By Hallie Rybka. Saint Malo, France. By Hallie Rybka. Saint Malo, France. By Hallie Rybka. Saint Malo, France. By Hallie Rybka. Saint Malo, France. By Hallie Rybka. Saint Malo, France. By Hallie Rybka. Saint Malo, France. By Hallie Rybka. Saint Malo, France. By Hallie Rybka.Saint Malo, France. By Hallie Rybka.Mont Saint Michel, France. By Hallie Rybka.

This isn’t my usual piece of Wednesday Wisdom. Instead of a quote from someone much wiser than me, I’m sharing a little story in which I created a bit of my own wisdom. For once.

I know. Everyone who studies abroad talks about their awesome experiences and, to be blunt, a lot of people who weren’t there just don’t care. But this is a story about conquering fear, the joys of travel and the importance of following your dreams.

When my program ended, I spent four days in Nice (you already heard about that amazing trip here and here), but then was left with four days to travel alone until my parents crossed the pond. Sounds simple? Well, my bank account was dangerously low, and because I foolishly waited on other people before booking trains and hostels, my options were scarce.

My lifelong dream was to visit Mont Saint-Michel on the northern coast, but when I left the sunny riviera and arrived in a gloomy, rainy Paris, only that one night was available at my hostel. Even though I couldn’t pin down somewhere to sleep, I bought a train ticket to Saint Malo and cried myself to sleep, counting the dollars left in my account and praying it would all work out.

The drizzling rain matched my mood when I stepped off the train (and realized with dread there’s no way I could spend the night in this tiny train station if nothing was available). But as I walked toward the walled-in town and then along the beach to the only hostel I knew of, the sun began to peek from behind the clouds. I got the very last bed.

I spent the next few days doing a lot of thinking and exploring, meandering through the distinctively northern French town. Unlike Avignon, where I had been living for three months, lush grass was abundant, and I enjoyed noticing architectural aspects of the area’s English influence.

My meals consisted of carrots, radishes, a discount baguette and Boursin cheese, and I lapped the same streets more than once to fill my time alone. Despite my fear of having nothing planned and no back-ups, I took a leap into uncertainty. I went on an adventure, completely alone and free and liberated. Oh yeah, and I got to spend a full day at the awe-inspiring Mont Saint-Michel.

These pictures might not evoke the same emotions in others as they do in me, but I hope they’re enough to spark a bit of wanderlust and adventure on this rainy day, as well as the courage to take a leap of faith during your most gloomy times.

Photos by moi (and thank goodness for self-timer and selfies when you’re traveling alone!).

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