There really aren’t any words to describe how great my 4 months in Europe were. I’ve seen so many amazing sites, seen almost all of the major cities in Western Europe and, more importantly, met so many amazing people from all over the world. Since I’ve been back, the first thing everyone asks me is – what was your favorite city? What I’ve come to realize over my trip is that you can see all the cathedrals, museums, and monuments you want, but what really determines whether you like a city or not are the people you meet there. Whether you like a city or not is usually based on your experiences in that city, and the best experiences come when you’re hanging out with interesting fun people, sharing stories, and just enjoying their company. It also helps that you meet so many like-minded people as you, many who have gotten sick of the same-old boring 40-hour workweek (or what is now more commonly the 60 or 70-hour workweek), quit their jobs, and decided to travel the world for a while. After hearing people’s stories of all these amazing places they’ve seen, it makes me want to become a professional traveler. Too bad there isn’t too much income associated with traveling.
Another thing I’ve realized is that traveling is infectious. Once you start seeing different places, it only makes you want to see more. You have your entire life to work and sit in a cubicle, so why be in such a hurry now? I know I’m definitely not. There are way too many people in America that are too job-focused. It feels like people live to work instead of working to live, which is where there is a major cultural difference between the U.S. and Europe. I recently saw a statistic that boggled my mind. 80% of Americans don’t have passports!! Now I know that there are a lot of places to see in this country, but there’s so much more as well. I traveled around Europe for 4 months and barely scratched the surface. There is a guy who, by the age of 30, has visited 100 countries. I think that’s a pretty reasonable goal, considering I’m at 14 after this trip.
I’ll be honest. Living out of a backpack for 4 months is great, but it also gets a little tiring after a while, wearing the same clothes all the time, sleeping in rather uncomfortable hostel beds, and eating spaghetti and sandwiches for almost every meal to save money. Even though being a backpacker is a very different lifestyle to get used to, the pros far outweigh the cons and I can’t wait to start planning my next trip!!!