My life is ruined. Because of COVID I can’t go on my post-high school graduation trip to Europe. If I can’t go backpacking in Europe, how am I supposed to discover myself?

I had been planning this for the last two years ever since I saw a senior’s Instagram posts from her Europe trip. Her photos, mostly of her in a bikini top near old buildings, were okay, but when I saw how many likes and shares her posts were getting I knew I had to go to Europe.

Daddy helped me choose 4-star hotels that were close to hostels, so that I could have my own room at night but then hang out at hostels during the day. There I would share stories of roughing it with other worldly, American, backpackers.

I’d already learned how to say, “take my picture” in French and German. How am I supposed to get people to think I’m cultured and experienced if I don’t have the selfies with European landmarks to prove it?

My selfie at the top of the Eiffel tower with the caption, “Falling in love with Paris, the city of love” was going to get so many likes. Not to mention the photo of me in a beret sitting at a cafe with one perfect bite out of a croissant and a shot of espresso (not that I would drink it without it being in a Triple, Venti, Half Sweet, Non-Fat, Caramel Macchiato).

I don’t really like history and stuff, but I was looking forward to walking on a cobbled street and pretending to appreciate things that are old. Europe was also going to be where I learned to acquire the taste of wine. Now I’m going to be stuck drinking Bacardi Breezers forever!

During the long train rides between countries, I was going to start a journal. I’m not sure what I was going to write, but I’m overdue for a coming of age epiphany. At the very least I was going to produce a teenage equivalent of Eat, Pray, Love.

Photos of me wistfully looking off in the distance, contemplating the grandioseness of life, would be accompanied by sage sounding posts like, “Life isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey.” How the fuck am I supposed to enjoy my journey if I can’t go to Europe?

Now I’ll never be able to use the Nalgene bottle I bought, and I got my mom to sew that peace sign onto my backpack for nothing. How am I supposed to impress people at university if I can’t humblebrag about my summer abroad in Europe?

This trip was supposed to complete me. I was going to have so many profound realizations and discover my true, inner self. Instead, I’m going to have all this free time, being stuck at home, alone with my thoughts.