This year for my 22nd birthday, I asked my parents for a trip to Greece. My parents were okay with paying for the flight as long as it was cheap- so off to Corfu I went for 130 euros.
At first, traveling alone wasn’t really my scene. I was staying in Amsterdam, my first stop on a three-month trip to Europe.
“Maybe I hate this city because of its inherent melancholy, flowing through the pipes of the old houses, lining the underbelly of the dark-watered canals,” I wrote in a very dramatic journal entry.
I basically wandered around the narrow streets in the drizzle, cold, jet-lagged and lonely. Sartre would have been proud.
Packing for a backpacking trip can be a daunting task, but can be accomplished with a bit of preliminary research.
The pack I use is the REI Women’s Ridgeline 65. It’s small enough to carry on a Ryanair flight, but big enough to store all that I need. It expands as well.
Eating is one of my absolute favorite activities while traveling. Some of my best travel memories are through food; whether it’s finishing dinner in France with a plate of oozing, raw-milk cheeses or devouring a fresh, cilantro-flecked ceviche in a Chilean seafood market, food ties you to a place in a way like no other.
When I first started traveling at 17, I paid too much attention to backpacker safety. I held back from talking to strangers and used a money belt for the first three days (THANK YOU, Rick Steves).
Needless to say, being overly cautious takes the fun out of travel. But there is also such a thing as being downright irresponsible.