One of my dear flatmates for the last year has just moved away from Brisbane for the first time to travel Europe. I couldn’t be more proud and excited for him, knowing how the unforeseen will shape his life forever. In a recent conversation raving madly “but he’s only 22,” I squealed, my mom reminded me that I was only 19 the first time I roamed Europe by myself – and ten years later am still at it.
If I can offer any of my personal experiences to my soon-to-be worldly friend, here are some pointers:
- Firstly, pack only what you can carry. Europe’s a bitch of cobblestone streets. Go with the backpack wheely – the ultimate combo!
- Try the local food; even the weird stuff, even if just for a bite.
- Meet the locals; booze usually works. They also appreciate small attempts at speaking their language. Again, booze usually works – at the least it’s entertaining.
- Bring a good book. When your done leave it behind for someone else – scribble something mysterious inside the front cover.
- Carry a pen and notepad – then use them. You won’t regret looking back on your words.
- Stay connected – at least so they know you’re alive. Thank G for Skype and Facetime!
- Bring a good camera and a cheap one. Chances are you’ll lose one, and likely will be too lazy to bring the good one out.
- Stay at hostels with bars; it makes mingling easier – there’s always someone who’s thirsty and down for a chat.
- Still need a friend? Do the classic bum a cig move – always a conversation starter but remember backpackers are stingy with their cigs so throw a Euro out there as a piece offering.
- Pretend to be someone else, just for one night. Alfredo perhaps?
- Don’t forget to stay true to yourself – you realize after the above fails.
Have no regrets! You wont remember feeling lonely, scared, defeated, tired when you eventually come home – only the amazing people, places, food, adventures you’ve had – exactly as I’ll remember you and Sam!