A Eurotrip is high on everyone’s list after graduating high school or college. With the increase in social media, pictures of trips taken by our friends and family are even more readily available to us to see than they used to be. Pictures are continuously on Facebook or Instagram waiting for us to look at them and wonder why we don’t take that trip we’ve been considering. You may be curious why it’s drawing so much attention. Sure, you have heard of the Eiffel Tower or the Coliseum. But that isn’t enough to see during a month long trip. What is really going on out there?
With the improvement of infrastructure and increased cooperation between European nations, a “Eurotrip” is as appealing as ever. Fantastic offers like Eurail and budget airlines such as Ryanair have helped make traveling cheaper and easier. But, we are here today to tell you that taking a big backpacking trip is more than just glamorous cafes and world-renowned landmarks. It is time to shed some light on the true meaning of traveling!
Backpacking Europe: What Is It Really Like?
English is considered the universally spoken language. It isn’t all that uncommon for a Dutch woman and an Italian man to be overheard having a conversation over coffee in English. This is certainly a helpful development. It makes traveling across the European nations all that much easier.
A Eurotrip Is Not Always As Easy As It Seems
Even with an established “common international language”, it isn’t necessarily a cakewalk to travel these countries. It takes a certain amount of courage to make the leap of faith and hit the road on your own. Once the initial wonder of touching down in a new country fades, it takes some effort on your behalf to navigate the city and find a tasty place to eat lunch. The unfamiliarity can be confusing, but like many things in life, this has an upside too.
Exploring a new and confusing land gives the opportunity to discover something unknown. This is one of the joys of traveling. Although it takes effort, the rewards are profound. You may get frustrated when you are walking to a destination in Paris and you realize that you are completely lost. But, then you might stumble into a quaint café, get a coffee and take in the view around you. You’re still in Paris, after all!
Watch Out For Scammers!
Another thing that people don’t often mention on social media is the number of opportunistic people you will meet on the road. What do I mean by opportunistic? It isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it can get a bit tiring when you are traveling for an extended period of time. I’m talking about the inevitable taxi driver who doesn’t happen to have the change for the bill you paid with. Or the souvenir salesmen underneath the Eiffel Tower. He won’t let you take a photo because he insists you absolutely need the keychain or selfie stick he’s selling.
It doesn’t really sound like that big of a deal, but the problem is that it happens over and over again on the road. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be getting scammed non-stop because that would be misleading. It’s more like people are being opportunistic. In the sense that they are trying to put the squeeze on you for a few extra euros. On one hand, you understand that everyone has got to make a living. On the other, you don’t want to be on your guard every moment that you leave the house (or hotel or hostel!). In the grand scheme of things, though, these opportunistic hustlers aren’t really going to impact your trip all that much. They fade into the background when you consider all of the wonderful people that you will meet.
The Upside To New Friends
If you know anyone who has recently taken their Eurotrip, they have surely riddled you with a tale that you “had to hear” about how they met one incredible person or another. It may just be the lasting excitement from a pleasant trip. But there really is something to be said about the people you meet while you’re on the road. It is a truly unique relationship and it has the potential to be very meaningful. From personal experience, I have made many great friends while traveling. Aside from making those amazing lifelong friends, every traveler would love to have, plenty of awesome people will pop into your life for one hour or one afternoon. Then disappear after making their impact on you.
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Home Is Where The Heart Is
Lastly, and maybe the most difficult to believe of all, is that after an extended period of time traveling, laying on the couch at home doesn’t sound like such a bad idea. For anyone who is fantasizing about their next vacation, it is blasphemy to suggest that anyone might want to vegetate in their own home. But, 99.9% of us will get our fill of traveling after a while, albeit temporarily. It truly is a strange thing when you start to take for granted all of the amazing things around you. If you are on a 14-day marathon starting in Dublin then to London then to Brussels followed by Amsterdam then Paris and then Rome before a flight home from Zurich, you start to become desensitized to the beauty around you. However, if you get to that point, you’ll realize that it’s time to come home.
With that being said, you will always have the incredible memories that you created on the road. Although some days you might feel like lying around and doing nothing, those might end up being your favorite days of the trip once you muster up the energy to get out and seize the day.
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So What Am I Trying To Say?
It’s true that nothing in life is all good or all bad, not even taking the Eurotrip of your dreams. There are always going to be some difficult situations when you are traveling, but that’s all part of the experience. Once I was in Brussels near the end of my Eurotrip. At 9 AM I had a connecting flight before my long haul flight back to the United States. I woke up early and was heading to the airport when I arrived at the metro.
The line I needed to take was under construction! This was about 5 years ago, long before we had the awesome apps to keep you updated on events like this, so I was completely taken by surprise. I didn’t have much time to spare so I had to make a quick decision on getting to the airport. A taxi was out of the question because I was flat broke. I ended up hopping on a regional train to bypass that metro station before jumping back on to a different line. This was an incredibly nerve-wracking experience, but it made me more skilled when it comes to dealing with pressure.
Backpacking Europe is really just a mixture of all the things I mentioned above. It is unbelievable, and it can be draining. It is hard work, but it is incredibly rewarding. Although it seems like everyone is off taking a European adventure, it still takes courage to do so. If you have been able to do it, you should give yourself a pat on the back. At the end of the day, if you are thinking about a Eurotrip of your own, get out there and do it. You will have some unforgettable experiences and become a better version of yourself along the way.