From College Roommates to Travel Mates

By Anna Idler, '12  |  Photos

Rachel and Anna_TuscanyOctober 1, 2015: Rachel and I are both at our jobs signed onto and talking on G-Chat, as usual. But this time, we weren’t sending each other a million articles on travel and following your dreams; this is what we would do almost all day, while of course being diligent employees and completing our excel spreadsheets, conference calls, and client projects simultaneously.

That day, it was time to finally put our dreams of long-term travel into action; on Oct. 1, we booked a one-way ticket to Dublin, Ireland, to begin our trip around the world.

Rachel Sims and I met at Loyola University Maryland our freshman year. We both lived in Hammerman, Loyola’s freshman-only residence hall on the east side of campus. We both had rooms on the third floor, and during those first few months our entire hall would go out together. It was an amazing way to meet people. In fact, after almost five years out of school, my best friends, who I still see often and talk to every day, are the girls I met my freshman year in Hammerman.

Rachel and Anna_ViennaRachel and I became close friends and lived together sophomore and junior year in a quad with two of our other best friends. We would stay up late at night together creating presentations and writing papers for our classes, taking so much longer than needed to finish our homework because we were so busy talking about our dreams and our passions, what we hoped to be and to accomplish when out of school.

During our sophomore spring semester, it wasn’t a question of if Rachel and I were going to apply for a study abroad program. It was only a question of where!

After attending information sessions for all of the wonderful programs offered through Loyola, we decided to apply for Loyola’s program in Rome, Italy. We were ecstatic when we found out we’d gotten into the junior fall semester program, and applied to room together in a homestay.

Our time in Rome cinched our deep passion for traveling and experiencing new places and cultures. We grew very close to our homestay “mom,” Paola (below), and to the other students in our program. We explored Italy, cheers-ed beers the size of our heads at Oktoberfest in Munich, climbed the Eiffel Tower in Paris, danced our way around Barcelona, and met some of the friendliest people in the world in Dublin.

Anna Rachel Paola

When our program ended in December of 2011, again it wasn’t a question of if we were going to go back to Europe, it was simply a question of when. And also, of “where else should we go?”

Fast forward five years, and Rachel and I left June 7, 2016, to begin our trip of a lifetime. We are starting in Europe and are there for about 12 weeks, then move on to Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. We’ve done ample amounts of research on where to go and what to do, while still keeping our itinerary loose; we will do a lot of planning while on the road.

We left our jobs for this trip and were so lucky to have worked with such understanding and enthusiastic colleagues who fully supported our decision and want to be updated of our travels along the way.

I think Loyola has a way of bringing people together who were meant to be friends. Rachel was one of those kinds of people for me. I cherish our friendship, shared love for travel and adventure, and need to see the world. I feel lucky that we share these interests and get to experience this trip together.

From Hammerman, to Rome, to wherever else our journey takes us during our world travels, I know we will be friends for life.


Anna Idler is a 2012 graduate of Loyola University Maryland. She is currently a freelance writer and maintains her blog Anna Idler Writes where she lists her published work and writes about her travels. She and Rachel have also started a travel blog to write about their trip called Outlaw Summer.

Bookmark and Share

1 Comment

  • Posted by Shirley | July 19, 2016

    This artlice went ahead and made my day.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment