One of the many benefits of writing for Travel Freak is getting the chance to meet other travelers and have them share their stories on the site. We recently met Hadley and were so impressed by her time abroad and love of world travel that we decided to take her on as a contributing travel blogger. Join us in welcoming Hadley to the team by learning a little bit more about who she is and where she’s been! — TF Staff

As the newest member of the Travel Freak team I hope to provide insight to all the fellow nomads of the world who share my passion for traveling to near and far away places.

Throughout my teenage years I was fascinated (actually, more like obsessed) with everything European — the fashion, the people, the culture. Now, as a 21-year-old entering my final year of college, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend over a year and a half studying around Europe (6 months in Edinburgh, Scotland and a year in Paris, France) due to my major in International Studies.

I figured I could fulfill every European hankering in my body by basically trying to become a European while traveling and studying. I even enrolled in the European schools in the country, not some American study abroad equivalent. When I travel, I do not like being a tourist. I prefer living like a native and trying to blend in as much as possible, capturing the total sense of being, say, an Italian in Milan. However, this way of thinking slapped me in the face when my 5’2″ brunette self was clearly the outsider in a plethora of swarthy, blonde, Scandinavian 6’2″ model clones.

So after 15 months of living in Europe, I think I’m Euro-ed out for the time being. It is clearly impossible to be a total native anywhere you go, whether it is New York City or Estonia, but I hope my travels help you see through the eyes of a native a little more on your journeys.

My experiences in Europe satisfied all that I was looking for (although Kate Middleton shattered my dream of becoming royalty) and opened my eyes to things I didn’t know I even wanted. As we all know, the world is a massive place and after having a taste of Europe I now have a craving to keep exploring. I would attach an extensive “life list” if I had one (okay, I’m already saving go to Brazil for the World Cup and plan to start learning Portuguese) but honestly the thrill of going anywhere entices me. Dollywood, Tennessee?! Sign me up!

Photo courtesy of John Gilchrist via Flickr

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