It’s been exactly 2 months and 2 days since I got back from my summer adventure in Europe. I thought that I should pen my experiences down before it all starts to blur out cos I have a goldfish memory. I’d like to start with the beginning first, mainly on how this trip came about.
Originally, it wasn’t my idea, it was actually my dorm mate, classmate and best friend, Tiffany’s. She wanted to travel across Europe before returning home, sort of like a graduating gift for herself after 3 years in law school. I was invited to come along as the thought of travelling solo can be quite daunting though I’m sure Tiffany is braver than I am. We initially planned to travel through 7 countries in Europe, starting from Portugal, Spain, then France, Germany/Switzerland, then Austria, Italy and finally, Greece and we would fly home from there. This was to happen in a period of 26 to 30 days, almost a month. However, after doing some research and going through our itinerary, we decided to forgo Portugal and Spain as we do not have enough time nor money.
Eventually, the plan was set on 5 countries namely France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Greece. We would make our way from London to Athens by flight then after reaching Italy, we would start travelling by train across the remaining countries. At the end, we would travel home from Paris, France. This was due to the fact that Greece would be increasingly crowded with tourists when June comes to an end, especially on the islands that we’re heading to. Also, flying to Malaysia from Greece was expensive. Luckily, we were able to find cheaper ones departing from France and we can just proceed with our plan but by changing the course where we go backwards instead with Greece being our first stop and France being our last.
To be honest, the whole trip was more of an epiphany that came to us when we were rushing our coursework and revising for our finals. We didn’t brainstorm this for months like how some backpackers would do (which we could’ve during Easter break). We basically just settled on the mode of transport during our travels, packed our bags, and booked for accommodations and planned our itineraries along the way. Moreover, I think that strictly speaking, when saying that this was a backpacking trip, we were more like novice as we did not actually just carried a backpack with a few things nor did we planned to travel for a few months.
I’d like to think that we combined both aspects of normal family trips and backpacking into our journey. We traveled with one cabin luggage and one backpack each, stayed in both hostels or budget hotels and have couchsurfed depending on cities we’re visiting, as well as doing both touristy and non-touristy activities, in a span of 26 days.
This trip was a first for me in terms of venturing out into the world on my own, figuring out on how to get around in foreign places that I’ve never been to. Hence, it was truly an eye-opening experience and I took it as once in a lifetime adventure. A big thank you to Tiffany for without her enthusiasm and courage, I think I would’ve came home from the UK without achieving nothing more than a degree.