Favored with good weather, the Servia arrived off Queenstown, Ireland, a week after leaving New York Harbor. The crossing had produced some seasickness among the traveling party but nothing unpleasant enough to dampen their high spirits. Jane wrote to her sister Alice in mid-ocean, “I hope you are feeling as cheerful as we do. … The party is jolly and goodnatured.” Her health was also improving. “The salt breeze acts on me like magic,” she reported. “I feel quite rested.”1
The trip was a great adventure for Addams and, although she did not know it, the beginning of a new phase of existence. Plunged into the meaning-laden world of Europe, she would be once more drawn into the life of ideas she had enjoyed at Rockford, but this time she would have no like-minded people with whom to share it. She would become a kind of intellectual hermit, posing questions to herself that only she could answer. From the outside, as the trip began, she seemed the quiescent tourist and agreeable daughter. In truth she had entered a period of incubation from which she would emerge transformed.
As the steamer crossed the Atlantic, the travelers, consulting maps and guidebooks, sketched out their journey for the first year. After visiting Ireland, Scotland, and northern England, they would spend three weeks in London, then travel to Holland before settling in Dresden, Germany, for the winter. In the spring they would travel to Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and France. The party's size would shrink in time. Mary Penfield and her daughter would split off quite soon. The Ellwoods and Alida Young would return home in April 1884. Then, for a few months, it would be only Jane, Anna, and Sarah Hostetter. In June George Haldeman, on vacation from Johns Hopkins University, would join them. The group planned to spend the summer in Great Britain, after which George and Sarah would depart for the United States and Anna and Jane, if their stamina held, would spend another winter in Europe before heading home.2