Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day 7: Tell us about your favorite vacation

Santorini, Greece

My favorite vacation was when I backpacked through Europe for 3 months after my Sophomore year in college. I went alone and I fell in love...with myself. I truly learned that I could manage in any situation and that I am a lot stronger than I thought.

I flew into Athens, Greece and flew out of London, England. I traveled to LOTS of places in between. It all started when I was about 15 years old and I decided I wanted to backpack Europe. It took me 4 years to plan it, save money and then my dream was realized. The summer of 2003 was one of the best summers of my life.

I started out in Athens - I was there for 1 night. My plane landed at midnight and my dad was too worried about me on the other side of the world for me to find my hostel that late so he booked me a room at the Hilton Athens. At the time my dad traveled A LOT, he was a platinum Hilton member - he used points to get me my room. The van picked me up from the airport and I get to this BEAUTIFUL hotel - it is me and my backpack. I am given a top floor executive room - so fancy that I couldn't figure out how to turn my lights off and on. I opened the windows in the morning and there was the Acropolis. I had an amazing view. I asked for a late check out (I got it at 6pm!) I saw the Acropolis and then went to the hotel for a great shower and headed to my boat for the Greek isles. I was in the isles for a week. NOT LONG ENOUGH.

After Greece I went to Italy. I was in Italy for 3 weeks. NOT LONG ENOUGH. I fell in love with Rome, San Gimignano and all of the little towns in between.

I will say that one of my best friends, K (the blonde in the picture that makes me happy) was studying in Paris that summer. She met me in Florence for 3 days. IT WAS GLORIOUS to KNOW someone. We did LOTS of shopping, eating and seeing all kinds of art.

After Italy I went to France, Monaco, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France again and then England.

There are SO MANY stories. I kept a journal and made sure I journaled EVERY single day. It was the best thing I could have done. I met lots of people - hostels are friendly! I actually met Karen, a girl from Australia for the first time on my way from Greece to Italy. We traveled for about 4 days together. When I was in Germany, I heard people talking in the Hostel and I was like "wow that sounds like Karen!" And it was. We traveled a few more days together. She introduced me to more people and I traveled with those people as well.

So anyone that is thinking about if they should or shouldn't travel alone - DO IT. Hostels are great places to meet all kinds of people. I loved it.

Check out the rest of the blogs on the 30 Day Challenge here:


Kelly V. said...

wow! I can't imagine backpacking alone, how awesome!

katmcd said...

AMAZING. I am a bit jealous.

Brittany said...

That picture is GORGEOUS!

Mrs EyeCanSee said...

I can't even imgaine, what an amazing experience! Santorini has been at the top of my to-go list for years!

Katie said...

I do not think I would ever be brave enough to do that myself, but it sounds so amazing!