I first began my blog back in 2009, when I deemed it primarily for traveling purposes. I was getting ready to visit Ljubljana for the first time that June, having only visited Europe once before when I traveled to Spain with classmates when I was 17.
Fast forward two years and 100 blog posts later, and I’ve spent more than 12 months over living in Europe in two countries (Slovenia and England) while having visited 15 altogether now, some multiple times (Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Italy, Austria, Germany, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey).
Things I’ve learned along the way:
– They will never let you out of a ticket in Austria. (Pouting, acting confused, and tearing up are apparently ineffective methods there). You will be asked to pay cash if you fail to buy the stupid little toll sticker, which signs do not warn you about and which is apparently for sale right beyond that little check point where they give you a ticket for not having one. Thanks, Austria.
– Trains do not conform to stereotypes. This one again involves Austria. The stereotype I’ve been told is that German-speaking countries are militant about keeping trains on time, while Italians are often late. Thus far, every mode of public transportation I’ve taken in Italy has worked out just fine, while trains ran behind schedule from Austria to Slovenia, resulting in a kindly conductor calling a friend from the rural Zidani Most area of Slovenia to drive my roommate, Meleah, and me back from said Zidani Most to Ljubljana past midnight so I wouldn’t miss my 6 a.m. flight home to Boston for Christmas. Ah, trains. There is so much more to this story. So much more.
– Traveling is ever so much more fun with a friend. Thank goodness for Todd and his spirit of adventure: shivering through Bratislava, where some of the best hours of my life were spent, wouldn’t have been the same without him! And who could forget the inability to find ANY open restaurants in Budapest? Kinai Bufet, you will always be in our hearts.
– Hostels are fun off-season. Also they have fun names. Having stayed at the Wombats hostels in Munich and then Vienna with Meleah, and then again in Vienna with Todd, I can say that you truly get a lovely, quiet, cost-friendly experience in the winter. Also you meet a lot of Australians. This must be a popular time for them to travel? The Jazz/Blues hostel in Bratislava was also great.
– Blogging is ever so much more fun when you’re abroad. What kinds of stories do I have to tell from the U.S.? I can cite my opinions on things or recount funny events from my life, but opinions can get controversial, and my life isn’t nearly as interesting when I’m doing stuff for work/school 60+ hours a week. It’s the travel bug in me that finds the stories… maybe I just need to find new places to travel in the U.S. The problem, of course, is that–barring being the recipient of a fellowship–you’ve got to work in the U.S. for quite some time to be able to travel abroad.
In the meantime, I’ll keep blogging (though likely not as regularly as I did while away from home)… and I’ll keep looking for that next horizon, that next great place to travel.