Welcome to the conclusive, a 3 volume conclusion of my travels across Europe this 2019.
David Bowie once said, "I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring." that is also exactly what I said before starting my expedition. When I go back and think about what made my trip the most interesting? All I think about is the people I met and how they changed my perspective on life. A lot of the beauty in life comes from the people we surround ourselves with and the people we connect with. Each and every one holding their own views, perspectives, and personalities. When we first connect with a person so much happens, we start by deciding whether or not we like this person. Once we evaluate the persons' first impression, we either become more interested in what the person has to say or become quickly disinterested. It's when we continue to listen that we are able to discover who the person is, what they're interested in, as well as the morals they stand by. This is how quickly a stranger can become a friend.
In my travels, it was the same way. Though, to make it even more interesting, every person I met was from a different part of the world. It made every connection that much more intriguing and allowed me to bring so much more to the conversation. A simple, "what's home like?" or "where are you from?" and you'd find yourself wrapped into a conversation for the rest of the day. I got to hear what life was like in different areas of the world and to each their own story. There was one thing I had heard continuously: "I've always dreamt of going to America." I always asked myself, why? What was so special about the US? When I asked them, they would tell me about how they see everything in movies and are always hearing of this "American dream". Their entire perspective of the States was built on movies, tv, and the media. With that being said at least 50% of my conversations began with 5 letters: TRUMP. I couldn't relate with many of their perspectives but I still enjoyed hearing what each person had to say as I continued to laugh every time I was asked, "Do the schools really look like they do in High School Musical?"
One of my biggest concerns was that I was going out into the world completely on my own. Within my first week, I had found that solo, was the best way to go about travel. It made me push myself out of my comfort zone to make friends and meet new people in every city. I was on no one's schedule but my own, I could go where I want and do what I want whenever. When staying at hotels and hostels it was easy, I could simply go into the lobby and spark up a conversation with someone. Though when it came to Airbnbs and sleeping on friends couches, I had to go out and find unique ways of meeting new people. One thing remained the same, many of the people I met had gone from strangers to friends for life in a matter of minutes. Fifteen minutes into a conversation and we would find ourselves making plans for the next day or that evening. I would be out with someone I met the same day and people would actually ask questions such as "Are you guys brothers?" or "Are you guys traveling together?" People were in utter shock when we would respond with "No we just met today."
It was amazing to live in other people's cultures and try new traditions. Many of the locals I would meet were ecstatic to show me around their town. Many also invited me into their homes for a place to stay, where I was provided with home-cooked meals like none other. I was treated like family, everyone was so open and inviting. Suddenly, I had not only found faith in humanity but had also reached a level of acceptance I never had. It was an absolute treat to meet some of the people I now consider my closest friends.
I'd like to conclude with some honorable mentions. I was in Paris, one of my first stops and the city where I was having the most trouble finding friends. Suddenly, I was approached by these friendly-looking Danes. "Could we get on the next game?", they asked. I introduced myself and that is when the names Rasmus and Gustav became very common in my travels. They were best friends from Denmark doing the same thing I was. That same night I found their next destination was the same as mine, Barcelona, Spain. We booked the same place to stay and decided to go together. As a trio, we then traveled to Nice, France where I met a fellow American, Kenny. Gustav, Rasmus, and I quickly grew fond of Kenny, and soon enough the four horsemen began their conquest across Europe.
I hope you enjoyed reading! I urge you to comment letting me know what you think or if you would like me to go further into depth on any of these topics.
Stay tuned for the other 2 volumes which will cover other topics as well as a video edit I put together of my entire expedition!