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Kiental, Switzerland

This photo was taken right after my January arrival for a 3-month volunteer stint. The program coordinator led me into the room that I would call "mine" for the entirety of my stay, introducing me to my roommate (pictured above) who would quickly become my confidante.

"You can take any bed," she said, referring to the four unoccupied beds in our room. "Or perhaps you want this one?" she said, motioning to the one on which she lay.

I thanked her but chose one on the opposite side of the room. After setting down my things, she offered to show me around the mountain village that would be our temporary home. Walking the streets, we marveled at the surrounding beauty, gushing about how lucky we felt to be housed at the base of the Alps. The valley turned into a place where we hiked, searched, laughed and cried throughout our journey with hopes of leaving lighter, giving all baggage to the mountains.

- This photo comes to us from Matador community member Nikki Crane, a 25-year-old native of Nashville, Tennessee who quit her job to set off on a three month excursion through Switzerland. She keeps an active blog, posting a photo a day and chronicling her adventures at jnicolette.com.

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