The people you meet along the way

I mentioned in a previous post that one of my favorite parts about travelling is the people I meet.  Sometimes you meet people who will become very important to you even after your journey, others friends, and others just friends/travel buddies for part of your trip.

After I travelled around Athens, I was making my way back to Milan.  I was exhausted and just needed some downtime.  But what to do when I was by myself and didn’t have access to a computer (thanks to long ferry and train trips)?  Several people back home had friends of friends in Europe who said they might be able to help.  In the end, my aunt’s husband’s ex-wife’s parents in Nottingham, England, said I could stay with them for as long as I needed.  So when I got to Milan, I made my way to the airport and caught the first flight to Birmingham.  I looked pretty dishevelled after travelling for a couple days and I imagine Continue reading “The people you meet along the way”

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Solo Travel Can Lead to the Trip of a Lifetime

beach-walk
I was born without any sense of direction.  And I mean that quite literally.  You can tell me that in order to get from A to B, I just need to walk in a straight line, and I guarantee you I will get turned around.  Most of my life, I have always relied on friends and family showing me how to get a new place.  So I was very apprehensive about my first trip travelling on my own.

It was my last night in Italy as part of a summer abroad program.  My friend and I had this grand plan to go to Greece, spending a few days in Athens, then hitting the Greek Islands, and making our way all over Europe until we finally ended up in Ireland to start our creative writing class.  But the night before we were supposed to leave, she flaked on me.  She wanted to stay in Italy because of this boy she liked in our class.  He was going to hang out at the beach, so she wanted to stay and do the same.  I was so disappointed, and honestly I was a little scared about travelling alone.  Not scared for my safety, just nervous because I had never travelled by myself. Continue reading “Solo Travel Can Lead to the Trip of a Lifetime”

A failed attempt at riding the Couchsurfing wave

Maybe you’ve heard of couchsurfing.  Maybe you’ve tried it.  It sounds like a very cool concept.  You go to www.couchsurfing.org, fill out a profile, and search other profiles of people in the location you are visiting.  You can find people to grab coffee with or find someone willing to host you during your stay.  Browsing through profiles, you can see what people’s interests are as well as feedback left my people they have hosted.  There is also a whole community of surfers.  In Wellington, New Zealand, couchsurfers have drinks every Wednesday.  They also attend other events together.  You can search different cities to see what is happening in the couchsurfing community. Continue reading “A failed attempt at riding the Couchsurfing wave”

Hostels–not just for the 19-year-old backpacker

I used to have a bad connotation about hostels.  I had heard some had curfews, some had age restrictions, and images of dirty shared dormitory style bathrooms made me stick to budget hotels and B&Bs when I was travelling.  But then I was planning a trip with some friends and decided to give it a try.  It is now my preferred type of accommodation.

Hostels have come a long way.  Most are for all ages, and some are even geared towards families.  Depending on the hostel, you can choose from female only rooms, to co-ed, to private.  You can find hostels that used to be an old castle or an old jail.  Some even claim to be haunted.  Most of the hostels I have been to were very clean and modern–only one or two have we had to walk away and find another place.

The Stay Okay hostel, aka the Rotterdam Cubes
The Stay Okay hostel, aka the Rotterdam Cubes

Continue reading “Hostels–not just for the 19-year-old backpacker”

I want to see it all…

When I was 19, I hopped on a plane to spend a semester on the German side of the German/Polish border.  I had never been outside the country (well, a day to trip to Vancouver with my parents, but I don’t think that *really* counts!).  My idea of a vacation was the beach and Disneyland.  I was in for quite a different experience!

My professor chose that part of Germany because the majority of locals did not speak English (unlike the rest of Germany, where most people I’ve encountered want to practice their English).  In fact, many people from that area had not even come across Americans.  They thought we were British when we spoke German because of our accents.  Though I went with classmates from Seattle, I ended up making friends with a girl from Spain, who introduced me to her group of friends, made of other people from Spain as well as Italy and Poland.  Even though the students spoke English, we all agreed to only speak German when we were together so that we could learn and help each other. Continue reading “I want to see it all…”