Since my initial post about my trip around Europe was so rushed, I felt it worthy of a more refined introduction. As promised, I will be going into detail about each of the cities that I visited, but I thought it best to tell you a little bit more about the trip in general.
I am a pretty well-travelled individual. I have had the fortune to visit much of Europe, the United States, Canada and China and as a result I have many dear memories that will last me a lifetime. I wouldn’t change those holidays in any way and I am thankful to my family for their generosity over the years. However, I have always relied on other people to show me the world. This year, the independent side of me wanted a peak too. Don’t get me wrong, I love going away with family and will relish any opportunity to do so. I just wanted to try something new this year.
Like many other twenty-something students, I felt the urge to see Europe by rail. The Interrail pass (known as Eurail outside of the E.U.), like many before me, provided exactly that opportunity. While I was originally going to take on the world – or, rather the continent – alone, I later invited two of my old school friends to accompany me. Though I am sure there are many benefits to solo travel, I can say in hindsight that this was the right decision. Their presence was not only comforting (three heads being better than one, of course), it made the trip more than just sight-seeing and speaking as many languages as I possible. I had a lot of fun and am extremely grateful that we came to the end of the three weeks without falling out.
As I said before, what we did was nothing new. We stuck largely to Western and Central Europe and visited cities that countless other Interrailers have explored. This trip was never about going on an epic adventure, discovering little-known towns and jumping out of aeroplanes. It was about exploring a new kind of travel which I hope to continue in the future.
For those of you interested in the financial side of things, here are a few facts and figures that have been swirling around my head for the past year or so. I was determined to save £1,500 to fund the whole three weeks and, as you might expect, it took me a few months to do so. I already had some money set aside for an undetermined ‘big purchase’ but I needed a fair bit more if I really wanted to go ahead with it. When I eventually reached my goal, I made a budget for flights, trains, accommodation, money and food. Surprisingly, this all came to just under £1,000, so I rounded everything up, added a little extra as a contingency and was ready to go. In all, I think I did dedicate the whole £1,500 towards the trip, but I came back with quite a bit of money left over, so I didn’t spend as much as I had anticipated. We spent no more than £30 per night on accommodation and most of our food was bought in supermarkets. I should make it clear that this was no culinary adventure – I have had more crisp (that’s potato chips for all those outside of the U.K) sandwiches over the past three weeks than I care to remember – so if you’re looking to try some local cuisine, mine is not the example to follow. I will talk more about how well this budgeting lifestyle served us in the posts to come.
At the very least, I hope that you find my next few posts interesting. Whether you’re a traveller or not, I would be delighted if my modest blog could provide you with just a few minutes of entertainment. Esteemed travellers, I hope that you can relate to this novice’s experiences and, of course, give me any advice for the future. Deep down though, what I really want to do is encourage others who aren’t sure about travelling to do it. I was convinced that this trip would forever remain an idea, that it would never truly come into fruition. I didn’t think I’d have the money, the determination or even the confidence to organise three weeks on the continent. Now that I’ve done that, I would really like to inspire others. If I can encourage just one person to believe that they can do it, that you don’t have to be particularly rich, confident or experienced, then my greatest ambition has been achieved.
Welcome to the adventure.