It’s been a minute since I returned from my trip overseas, and I’m ready to finally finish spilling my guts about it!
The last week of my trip in Europe included a try out in Luzern, Switzerland. It was cloudy and rainy the entire time I was there and it was still stunning. I want to visit again during the warmer season next time. My volleyball experience in Luzern was not what I had expected. I enjoyed some of the girls on the team, but things were off. Communication between the coach and I was difficult and it was some of the most frustrating volleyball I’ve ever played. Any-who, the players that hosted me were fantastic and gave me a true Luzern experience. I can’t thank them enough for that.
Switzerland was my last stop for my volleyball endeavors. I was fortunate enough to conclude my trip in my new favorite country, Ireland. I always loved Ireland, but now that I’ve actually experienced it for myself, I’m sure it’s my favorite. The rolling green landscapes, the delicious beer, and the people all exceeded my expectations for that country. My first night, I roamed the streets of Dublin and met the rowdiest bunch of Irish lads. They took me from pub to pub and I loved every second of it. Finding my way back to my hostel after a few pints of Guinness at 3am, however, was a completely different experience…I eventually found my way back and slept for a few hours. The next day I wandered about Dublin and saw the Trinity Library, which has been on my bucket list forever. I spent the rest of my trip in Galway, Ireland and saw the Cliffs of Moher. I teared up the second I arrived at the Cliffs. I will never forget that day. Galway was a sweet and friendly city. The streets were cobblestoned and the bay was lined with colorful cottages. The people of Ireland are so active, always out and about, enjoying their stunning country.
One of my favorite parts about traveling through Europe was experiencing the trains. I started my trip absolutely dreading having to use them…I did not understand how the worked and reading the schedules was impossible. By the time I arrived in Ireland, I was a pro. I can’t wait to get back and use them again someday!
Getting to Europe was an experience of a lifetime and it is something I will hold close to my heart forever. I learned so much about myself, the sport I love, and the vast unknown this world has to offer us. I can’t wait for my next adventure.
It’s hard to believe I’ve only been overseas for 6 days now. So much has happened! So far, I’ve had a practice session with both the Straubing and Lohhof 2nd division teams here in Germany. They went very well and I will be in contact with the Lohhof coach regarding next season! The Lohhof coach and team were very hospitable and friendly. On my way there, I took the wrong train and was fairly late getting picked up by the head coach. I found him standing outside the station with a volleyball and asking for a “Chelsey Walter”. I felt so terrible, but he was sweet about it and understanding when I finally introduced myself. I never want to make that mistake on a train again, it was terrifying! After practice that night, the ladies invited me to dinner at an Italian restaurant across from the sport complex. We talked and laughed and they asked a lot of questions! I loved getting to hear their stories of how they made their ways onto the team. I stayed that night in an apartment with some of the players. All of the players varied in age, ranging from 18 to 29 years old. The next morning I woke up to a very nice breakfast laid out for me by one of the players. I packed, ate, and said my goodbyes before I had to catch a train to Salzburg, Austria.
I was meeting Christy there to play tourist for the day! The train ride was beautiful, especially when the Alps came into view. We couldn’t have asked for better weather that day. It was sunny and blue skies everywhere we looked. Christy showed me everything! The castle, the churches, town squares, FOOD, cemeteries, her secret spot! I experienced Salzburg in a matter of a few hours! I can’t wait to go back again someday.
Salami, kase, pretzel sandwich
Christy and her Kase Pretzel
I’m currently on a train headed for Offenburg, Germany. I will practice tonight and tomorrow night with them and stay with girls on the team. I have so much down time tomorrow that I might even be able to catch a train to Strasbourg, France before practice. Then on Thursday, the 9th, I will take a train from Offenburg to Lucerne, Switzerland for my final try out of the trip.
On January 31st, I flew from Billings to Seattle, then Iceland, and finally landing in Germany on February 1st. It was a very long trip but found ways to enjoy it, like taking selfies in the airport bathrooms (you’re welcome). Christy, my friend of 5 years and now helping me as my agent, picked me up from the airport with her husband Mark. We then drove an hour back to Vilsbiburg where Christy lives and plays for the Dingolfing Volleyball League. I had my first practice that night with her 4th division team and it went very well! Got a lot of good reps while also realizing how out of volleyball shape I am…yikes. Her coach drove us home after practice and we had a very good chat about how overseas and professional volleyball works. He was honest about my skill level and told me which leagues and divisions I would best fit with.
Germans are as straight forward and intimidating as everyone says they are. Nice, but intimidating at first. Being overseas is not as scary as I was anticipating. I actually feel very comfortable, almost natural being around people I can hardly understand. I’m really digging it. I know I’m out of place, but I know that I’m safe and if I slow down enough, I’ll be able to figure out anything while I’m here. It’s also pretty nice having Christy around…have to give her a lot of the credit. 🙂 I wouldn’t have made it here with out her.
I’m sitting here with Jay, realizing that I depart for Germany in exactly one week. The thought of professional volleyball was just a pipe dream that started last August, and in a mere week, I will be stepping onto a plane and going on the grandest adventure of my life. I can’t believe I’m making it happen. It hasn’t been easy that’s for sure. There have been so many frustrating moments with training all week or slipping with my diet, especially over the holidays. Just the unknown of the whole trip has been frustrating. But it has also been the most adrenaline-inducing experience. Every time I wanted to stop early and slack with my preparation, I had to think “do it for Germany”. I have to give a lot of the credit to my roommates. They have held me accountable to my goals. I owe them everything.
I have received endless support. It’s extremely humbling. The community around me has shown so much encouragement, even from people I don’t know. My fellow trainers and friends at Granite have helped me build, strengthen, and mold my body back into the athlete it once was. Landon taught me everything and more about the nutrition aspect of my training. I feel in control, fueled, and healthy.
So much work, filling in clients to almost every available hour in the day to save up for this opportunity. So much preparation, training at least 6 days a week and getting reps in when I can.