The only times I have woken up this early here at Campingplatz Obermenzing were for the early morning reception shifts at Stoke. Those mornings were filled with sleepy yawns, big stretches as I exited the tent (or van), and a free coffee from the machine.
This morning is different. It is 7:30 and the sun is hiding in a light fog that hovers above the trees. The trees here hid the sun from awaking anyone at the campsite. When I awoke at 6:45 to carry my pack out of the tent, there was no one around. Not even the campsite workers. I walked alone to the humid bathrooms to try and fix the mess that I’ve become while living at a campsite for 28 days.
I brushed my teeth in silence remembering all the times I struggled to find my toothbrush in the dark. A smile reflects back at me in the mirror as I recall the conversations I had heard in the bathroom. American girls complaining about how dirty everything is, Australian girls complaining about the cold and German girls chatted vigorously in German about God knows what.
This morning I sit alone outside the campsite shop reading messages from friends. I have more than enough suggestions for Berlin thanks to the power of social media and the kindness of others.
My noteboook is filled with pages for Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague and Budapest. Fellow travelers sharing their successes, including favorite clubs, hostels and attractions. I find that travelers are also so incredibly kind. Even though we only have what we can carry on our backs, we are willing to share anything. If a stranger in the bathroom asks for toothpaste, we don’t hesitate to spread some Crest on their toothbrush (or finger). If a fellow backpacker has their power adapter, we are happy to share some extra charge with them. “Sharing is caring,” I heard last night as we passed around a Stoke cup filled to the brim with Jack and Coke – mostly Jack.
Our last night at Stoke felt exactly like it should. It felt like we were one big happy family. All the sleeping bags were packed up in a pile outside the kitchen with all the Stoke staff laying on top of them. Paddy and the boys were in the kitchen preparing chicken wings and a delicious salad for dinner as we cuddled in the bags watching a movie on a laptop with surround sound speakers. During the month, we all became really close. Some of us in different ways, but all of us share the same bond. Some of us have the Stoke cough full of flem and caused by days of drinking, cold weather and camping. Some of us share inside jokes and fun memories. But we all share the same desire to travel, meet others and have an effing good time while we do it.