3 Things I Learned While Travelling Overseas as a Student

  1. Uncertainty = Adventure

There are various things that can keep us from going out of our comfort zone and doing something big in our lives, such as traveling. We think we don’t have the money for it, we think we don’t have the time, or we have the FEAR of the unknown.  We fear getting into a situation where we are lost, don’t know what to do, or don’t even speak the language. I was making my way from Rome, Italy to Stockholm, Sweden. The reason for that is a much longer story I will get into in another post. When people asked me how or what I was going to do I said: “I have no idea, Ill figure it out on the way.”  This definitely isn’t for everyone, but it was the experience I desired. There’s a quote by Rolf Potts: “Having an adventure is sometimes just a matter of going out and allowing things to happen in a strange and amazing new environment—not so much a physical challenge as a psychic one”. Alright, so don’t think that I came up with this amazing thought by myself, I just wanted to have that adventure. I ended up one day in Hamburg, Germany.. I was hauling around my big backpack as I got off the train and I picked a direction and said, “I’m going to go that way today”. I knew nothing about Hamburg. I stumbled upon this building that was called “Miniature Wunderland” It is about 3 whole floors of the largest model train attraction in the world. I knew nothing about it and spent about 4 hours there. It was amazing. I didn’t have a plan, I had no idea what I was doing, and I ended up having one of the best days of the trip.  Another quote I love from him: “The simple willingness to improvise is more vital, in the long run, than research.”

  1. It’s a lot cheaper to travel than you think, if you are willing to sacrifice some comforts.

You always hear: “I wish I had the money for that”, or “I will never be able to afford to travel”. This can be true, but if you are willing to sacrifice some comforts you can make it work. Stay away from Hotels. Hostels in a room with 15 other people, or Airbnb are great alternatives and you will meet amazing people. Grabbing a sandwich at a convenient store or from a bakery instead of eating at a restaurant. Sacrifice is part of the adventure.

  1. There are good people everywhere that care about you.

I learned that there are good people everywhere. I constantly was relying on locals to help me to find where to go and what things to see. Some invited me into their homes for food and others gave me tours. If you are good to them they are good to you. People care about you. I was renting an Airbnb from this older lady who lived by herself. She made me breakfast, washed my clothes, she even WALKED with me for THREE HOURS to show me places to see. She barely spoke English.  I only paid 20 bucks for one night! I was felt like I was at home. There are good people everywhere, you just have to be good yourself.

I want to know what you think, what other lessons have you learned or you think are important? Let me know in the comments and subscribe to my Email Newsletter to check out more!

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How I Saved Money Travelling Around Europe for Three Months.

Everyone’s first objection or complaint is that traveling is expensive. And they are right. But if you are willing to make some sacrifices there are very simple things you can do to save loads of money.

  1. Stay away from Hotels. Use Hostels and AirBnB
    1. This should be obvious. Don’t be an old person and assume the old ways of using hotels for 300 dollars a night. Sacrifice a little and stay in a hostel with a shared room with 10 strangers for 10 bucks a night. You will have way more fun and meet all sorts of people, you will sacrifice some comfort but in a couple years you won’t look back on that hotel bed you had and remember it. I stayed in a hostel 20 min outside of the center of Rome for 25 bucks a night. I had a bed in a room of 9 other beds. They were filled with 9 Chinese ladies that barely spoke English. It was hilarious and uncomfortable. But I would do it again every time. Always check AirBnB, sometimes it is even cheaper than the hostels. A good tip is if you are willing to stay a 10 min or 45 min walk away from the center of a big city there is a good chance there are available AirBnb’s for extremely cheap. I went stayed a few nights in Belfast, Ireland and I got an AirBnB for 15 bucks a night because it was about an hour and half walk to anything interesting. But it saved me over 100 dollars from not staying in the city!
  2. WALK EVERYWHERE YOU CAN.
    1. If you can walk to where you’re going without being late, always do it. Stay away from taxis unless in emergency. They can be really tempting on a hot and humid day. Use google maps to see if their free trains or busses, but walking will allow you to see more of the cities that the average traveler does not. AND you will save tons of money. Taxi spending adds up REAL quick.
  3. Sometimes a plane ride is cheaper than a train ride
    1. This can seem crazy and is not always true. But there are airlines within Europe that are extremely cheap, such as RyanAir. I got a plane ticket from Stockholm, Sweden to Barcelona, Spain for 50 bucks. 50 BUCKS! Instead of taking several trains, maybe a day and a couple hundred bucks I got to Barcelona in a few hours for extremely cheap. The trick with these airlines is they charge you for EVERY little thing. You want to check a bag? Extra cost. You want a drink? Extra cost. Some even charge you to go to the bathroom. So, I was able to take a backpack and not pay any extra costs. The EuroRail pass can be a good deal if you are traveling between countries over a long period of time. I found it to be cheaper to just buy your train tickets in advance online and have all the tickets on your phone and have a printed copy.
  4. If you are feeling really brave, sleep on trains.
    1. This one is if you are really extreme on saving money. I was traveling from Hamburg, Germany to Copenhagen, Denmark and I spent a day in Hamburg and took an overnight train to Copenhagen and that is where I slept! Then I had a whole day in Copenhagen before I had to pay for a hostel. I’m sort of insane, so this isn’t for everyone, but it was an adventure.

I want to know what you think. Do you think these are good ways to save money? Do you think I am a fool? What are some other ways to do it? Let me know in the comments! Be sure to subscribe to my Email Newsletter to get other tips and stories!

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Sagrada Familia

Imagine having an idea for the craziest cathedral ever built and its gonna take decades to finish. You start construction and then 130 years later it is barely finished. That is essentially what happened to Antoni Gaudi and his masterpiece: La Basilica de la Sagrada Familia.

Let’s do a quick history run, to show you how amazing this place actually is. It began construction in 1882 and it is still under construction today! Gaudi is famous for his gothic style architecture and unique artistic style.  He is basically a god now in Barcelona. His work is some of the best things to see in the city. George Lucas said that some of his architecture is what inspired the Stormtrooper’s helmets in Star Wars.  Gaudi took over the Sagrada Familia project from another designer and applied his own ideas into what is being constructed today. When Gaudi died at age 73 in the year 1926 the project was less than a quarter complete. A huge reason it has taken so long is that it was stalled by the Spanish Civil War for a couple decades but was able to resume construction with help from private donations and funding from visitors.

The entire building is covered in symbolism. Its spires represent the apostles and other bible figures. The entire story of Jesus Christ is carved into elaborate sculptures all over the front of the entrance. One side is the nativity scene, the other is the calcification and other stories of his life. It is absolutely insane to look at in person and try to imagine the work and effort put into creating it. Besides the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome it is one of the most fascinating structures I have ever seen. Art Critic Rainer Zerbst said: “It is probably impossible to find a church building anything like it in the entire history of art”

The enormous number of visitors it receives each year is its primary source of funding as they strive to complete the building by 2026 with all the decorative aspects completed by 2030.

The video shows some incredible views as it towers over city of Barcelona. The inside has gigantic pillars extending into the sky that are carved to resemble giant trees and you feel like you are inside a forest. All the windows are perfectly designed to let the light in in just the right way to resemble a forest with sunlight beaming through the branches. It becomes very clear that there is not a single aspect of the cathedral that was not specifically designed to symbolize a religious concept or to give a certain feeling and awe to visitors.  Antoni Gaudi was buried in the tomb of his biggest masterpiece ever.

You can go in and take a tour of the whole cathedral for about 15 bucks and you can have an audio guide with headphones that will explain things to you as you go through the building. It is absolutely amazing and a must see for anyone visiting Barcelona, Spain.

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