Let’s Finally Talk About Europe

It’s been six months and a bit since I left the continent of Europe to come back to my own homeland of North America. And so here I finally am, in true procrastination style, to write about my travels. Travels that I quit my job to experience, might I add. For those of you who don’t know, my three other gal pals and I went on a “backpacking” trip to Europe, exploring 8 countries within the span of 25 days. Backpacking is in quotations because well, we totally cheated and brought along a giant check-in luggage. Which we shipped back home while in Spain, and came home with two more check-in luggages. Girls, right?

Backpacking Europe are two words that, when put together, are most often found on bucket lists and dreamt about in the minds of youth. For the lucky ones, it can be seen as a right of passage, usually experienced after a high school or university graduation or during a gap year. We weren’t privileged trust fund kids, but instead your average post grads with student debt living under our parents’ roofs. As soon as we booked our first flight from YYZ (Toronto) to KEF (Iceland), I used the research skills I learned for thousands of dollars in university and read every single Thought Catalog, Elite Daily, Huffington Post, and every other millennial targeted article out there in order to gain some unrealistic expectations of how this trip will pan out. I wanted to know exactly what crazy adventures I would hopefully find myself in. But things don’t always happen like expected.

Things that didn’t happen:
-“Finding” myself or learning more about who I am
I honestly came back the same person, just with a hundred pictures of churches on my phone and some envious selfies to post on instagram.
-Falling in love
I suppose it’s kind of hard to bump into Mr. Perfect when you’re in a country for just two days.

-Meeting new people and learning about new cultures
To be fair, we obviously did meet people. But were they life changing encounters? Nah.

Things that did happen:
-Getting lost in Iceland. Because what’s a road trip without ending up in the middle of nowhere surrounded by mountains and sheep?
-Crashing a stag party and hanging out with a bunch of Brits from Liverpool who broke my dreams and told me my faux English accent was too posh.
-They say you never forget to ride a bike, and I tested that theory in the crazy, ridiculous, scary streets of Amsterdam. They don’t kid about the bike culture and while there are many lanes, try riding it through crazy traffic or crowds bigger than one you’d find at a One Direction concert. Ride a bike or die trying right?
-Eating Laduree macaroons while having a picnic in front of the Eiffel tower. This. is. what. European. dreams. are. made. of.
-Eating a lot of random “exotic” food. I made a pact to avoid worldwide fast food joints, and pretty much stuck to that the whole trip. Though I’ll admit, I did eat McDonald’s once in Berlin.

In conclusion:
Was Europe the life changing once in a lifetime experience I read about and hoped it would be?
Do I regret quitting my job and going on the trip?
Hell no.
But do I wanna try at it again?
Definitely. Yes please. 100%.

While I didn’t come back a changed person with a whole new perspective on life, I did come back with a bunch of really awesome photos. (See instagram).

But I must remind you that life isn’t perfect like the photos above. You have to put in effort and try, sometimes real hard, before finally achieving your goal. As you can tell by the vlog above, we had an amazing time, and the main message I want to share to anyone reading is that if you have the passion for travelling do it. Go for it. Make it happen. Because as cool as these places may seem in the vlog, they’re even cooler in person. Your trip may not end up as the stuff Hollywood teen movies are made of, but you’ll definitely come back home with one thing, whether it’s a changed outlook on life or one too many souvenir shot glasses.

When in Europe, one must always be totally and completely serious…

Sometimes, the “perfect” instagram picture, takes a few (hundred) shots…

Until the next trip! (Which, oh right, happens to be in two weeks. Miami, here I come!)
xo Naomi