Just imagine..living out of a backpack in the dead of winter for 30 days. Parading around Europe, ALONE. Sounds amazing right? Wearing the same 3 outfits over and over and OVER. Okay, not to be cynical, I did actually WANT to do this. I have traveled many times solo before, but never for this amount of time and definitely not to 8 new countries. Here is what I learned from 30 days backpacking Europe.
- I am capable of a lot more than I give myself credit for. Here’s the thing bitches. I am damn good at traveling. I will research the shit out of a place before I go there. BUT this trip had me feeling a little un-easy. A confident bitch like myself never gets nervous, so why the cold feet? Was it the fear of the unknown?? The being alone part? Well, whatever it was, went right out the door as soon as I landed in Amsterdam. Throughout the trip and to my surprise, I WAS KILLIN IT. Navigating through side streets, hopping on and off metros like a damn BOSS. Sure, I had a mental breakdown a time or two when I called my mom crying wondering how I was going to survive. Then I quit acting like a little sissy, wiped my tears away and faced the world head on! WHAT NOOWWWW WORLD?? Don’t be scared to be confident when backpacking Europe and give yourself some credit! backpacking europe
- Go with the flow. 30 days, 7 countries. Might be tempted to book all accommodations first right? WRONG! I got some great advice from some fellow travelers before backpacking Europe that literally told me to just go with the flow. Now I will say this, I mapped out what countries I wanted to visit, made a route plan and approximated how much time I wanted in each place. That way I didn’t just get to Europe and be like oh shit, what’s close to France?? I had my flight to Amsterdam booked, my hostel in Amsterdam booked, and my flight home from Berlin booked. Oh, and a week in Paris booked since me and my honey bunny were celebrating our Anniversary there. BUT THAT’S IT. (Oh, Tatum you are so smart and adventurous!!) I know I know. Guess what ended up happening?? I saw a Facebook video that Budapest threw these absolute ragers in geothermal baths, and decided to add yet another country to my list! AND GET THIS, Budapest ended up being one of my favorite cities on the trip! Go fucking figure! If I would have booked all of my hostels/trains/buses etc. in advance I would of missed out on yet another weekend of partying! And we all know that would just be tragic. GO WITH THE FLOW PEOPLE. backpacking Europe
- Go balls to the wall on your trip! This is a vacation I REPEAT, A FUCKING VACATION! Stop being a frugal little bitch. Now, anyone who knows me KNOWS that I love a good deal. I’m the queen of everything..Ha-ha I mean the queen of bargain shopping and deal finding. BUT know where to spend your money! If a train ticket costs $100 and a bus ticket costs $20 and the bus only takes an hour longer than the train..hmmm?? 100-20 carry the 1…that’s like $80 extra you have to spend on food and booze! SCORE! You’ll most likely be too hungover to care anyways. Save and sacrifice before your trip so that you can actually enjoy it! I know I splurged on Airbnb’s, fancy dinners and expensive alcohol..so please, do yourself a favor. backpacking europe
- Ask for help. Since I am not a man, I have no problem asking for directions 🙂 you don’t know what a word means? You don’t know which train goes to the shopping mall? ASK. ASK ASK ASK! Shit, even harass people I don’t care! Okay, we’re getting a little out of hand here, but I can promise you that SOMEONE will be willing to help you. IT’S OKAY TO NEED HELP. In Vienna, I met two awesome people at the bus stop just by asking them if I was getting on the right bus. We all ended up going in the same direction and exchanging stories the whole ride to Budapest! backpacking europe
- Don’t do something just because you think that’s what you’re supposed to do. Let me elaborate because this was my biggest mistake. I spent a week in Paris with my wonderful boyfriend. The city of love and lights right? Well, after 3 long days we were OVER IT. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful city with a lot of rich history and culture but guess what? We don’t give a shit about any of that. Say what you want, but I found out that I am an adventure traveler. I thrive off of adrenaline and scenery, not historical museums and ancient art. The very best experiences I had, never included any of those stupid activities. OMG I love looking at old paintings of men with small dicks and no arms…said no one ever. You know what’s really crazy? After I syphoned through all the Asians and their selfie sticks, iPad’s, and fucking laptop computers…I was so underwhelmed by visiting the Mona Lisa. Like, there that bitch is. I’ve seen her how many times?? I think people go on vacation..and look up “top 10 things to do in..” and stick to that. I DID THAT TOO, and I really regretted it later on. SO if you know that you don’t care about any of that stuff…do some more research and figure out what fits best with YOU! backpacking europe
- Leave your comfort zone. Do I really need to say anything else? Figure out your fears and FACE THEM. That’s the beauty of traveling, no one knows who you are. backpacking europe
Side story: I was taking a stroll around Amsterdam, alone of course…and after leaving the Rijks museum like why the fuck did I just go in there? I decided that the only feasible thing to do was get drunk. So I remembered I saw this bartending school that hosted tastings (found this before my trip!!) and it was near where I was! So I head over there, walk up the steps and the damn thing is closed for renovation. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? Well there goes my day. Then, a man (dad age) and a guy (my age) who worked together were also saddened by the news. So we started to all walk separate ways and I just blurted out.. SOOO what are y’all gonna do the rest of the day?? They replied, “Guess we are just going to go to the beer and cheese tasting.” And without hesitation I say, “Oh cool, can I come?” In shock, they actually accepted my offer! We spent the whole day together eating, drinking ALOTTT and being merry! So moral of the story..get out of your comfort zone and make friends! The best memories come from the unexpected! backpacking europe
- Don’t be scared of being alone. The best conversation starter was always that I was backpacking alone. They were like, “ damnnnnn Tatum you got some big fat donkey balls to be travelin aloneee wasssupppp” Okay maybe not like that but people were very intrigued. Solo travel is so liberating. No one to hold you down and no one to tell you what to do! Sure, it gets a little lonely sometimes but loneliness is only a temporary feeling. I went to Delirium in Belgium, sat down alone at the bar, and started drinking when two Frenchmen sat down beside me. Old ass men too. I don’t know how they even heard me half the time, but they ended up buying my drinks all night. They were so interested in my travel experiences and hearing about my life. (Not in a creepy way either) See what happens?? If I was traveling with a friend, I most likely would have never sparked conversation with them! Don’t be scurrred. backpacking Europe
- Enjoy the view. We are all too familiar with this. I was really surprised when I got home, the few pictures I had from each place. Enjoy the moment, the people you are with, the view. Enjoy it all. No matter how many pictures you have, it’s the experiences that you FEEL in those moments that makes you really remember how great they were.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Seriously don’t! You will go crazy. I bought the wrong date for my train ticket, almost fought a lady since we both had the same seat number on the train, and ended up realizing it AFTER the train attendant told me..OOPS! There were literally times that I thought the world was conspiring against me since NOTHING was going my way. There will be curve balls, bowling balls, rocket ships, natural disasters, and babies, all thrown your way while traveling. Don’t let it get you down!! Learn from those mishaps and quit making mistakes damnit!
- As cliché as it might sound..just have some freakin FUN! Vacations are meant to be THOROUGHLY ENJOYED. Or at least that’s what I think. GO HAVE FUN! Whatever that may be. Clubbing until the sun comes up, shopping until you run out of money, stuffing your fat little face until you wanna puke?!?! Do what makes YOU happy. backpacking Europe
SO THAT’S IT BITCHES. Europe was so many adjectives bundled into one trip! I hope you learned something from my experience and can take a little piece of my pie with you on your next adventure! Have you been backpacking through Europe?? What did it teach you about yourself?
xo Bonvoyage Bitches