11.10.2013

Top Five Things To Do Differently Next Trip

Hello dear blog-readers and facebook-stalkers!

You may have heard a rumor that I am back in the U.S. of A. This may be true. But wait--my blog last said I was in Hamburg--was that the end of the trip?

God no. There were a lot of cities. Like, a lot. Fifteen? Twenty? Something like that. Some of them were pretty sweet. You're going to have to hear about them, too, as I get caught up on life and blogging. I promise at least a couple more awesome photos. I apologize for the poor form on getting so far behind. I assure you, it won't happen again.

That aside, I gotta pause for a few moments and recognize the pure unadulterated awesomeness that was the last four and a half months of my life. I am super grateful to the confluence of events in having a job I could sort of take with me and the driving angst of the postgrad-poor-economy-fugue that allowed me to drop everything and live the dream. And to everyone I've met, that's hosted me or bought me a drink or spent an afternoon getting lost and making fun of street signs--I want to say thank you. You are awesome and you made this trip amazing x 1000. 

But I learned a thing or two with this trip. And I think next time I will do a couple things differently.

1. Stay Longer in Each Place
I wanted, during this trip, to see as much of Europe as possible. So I hit at least one city in the following places: England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Italy, and Spain. Sure, it was four and a half months, but if you hit that many countries, it gets to be a lot of moving around.

2. Stay with More Local Hosts
I won't say I don't love hostels, because I do. But if you spend a lot of time meeting and hanging out with other international travelers, you can miss quite a lot about the place you are actually visiting. Some of the best experiences I had were staying with cool people that lived in places I wanted to visit and/or had never heard of. 

3. Bring Camping Gear
I love European cities. I love walking around city centers and looking at architecture. But after the 500th example of neoclassical, Gothic, or Tudor architecture, you realize you just want to go camping near a goddamn waterfall.

4. Keep it Open Ended
If you have an end date picked out way in advance, new travel invitations and ideas will come up immediately before you are set to leave, and you will regret getting on the plane. Besides, you might not even be out of money yet! What business do you have going home?!

5. Pack Solo Cups (Red Cups)
"Oh, you're American? With yellow school buses? AND Red Cups!?"
While Europeans love American-style drinking games, the color choices are often limited to translucent. And that's a problem. You have to party it up in style. Forget the clothes, pack your suitcase full of red solo cups. Then you are guaranteed to make friends. 
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