The $$$$ of travel is a question I get more often than not. And of course, everyone who asks that questions knows the answer: it varies.
But yet, it’s still asked, and that’s okay. I get it. How does a 24 year old travel the world?
Scandinavia might have words like menneskerettighetsorganisasjonene, and the winters might be brutal, but if you’re looking for awe-inspiring landscapes, friendly people, and saunas with beer, it’s a region not to be missed.
Consisting of Finland (which I did not visit), Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, the Scandinavian region is famous for a few things:
The prices may scare some off, especially budget travelers. Going into it I had no idea how hard it was going to be to stick to our $40/day budget. But, I think it’s important (remind me when I say this again in the future) to avoid traveling somewhere just because it’s known to be pricey. We still came out under budget and it became one of favorite places.
So let’s talk about why you should also visit:
It’s officially been a year since I declined a full-time job after graduation to embark on a life-altering adventure. I could write a book (actually, I am writing a book…eek!) about everything that has happened in the last year alone.
From the Cies Islands off the coast of Spain to stranded at border crossings between Greece & Bulgaria, to the beaches of Italy and the mountains of Utah, I have experienced some incredible highs, and of course some incredible lows. There were tears, and laughs, and bruises, and swear words, but there isn’t a single moment I would trade. I wish I could’ve brought you all along on the adventure, but I hope you felt like you were there with me along the way.
Below is a series of black and white photographs from my journey in chronological order. 25 countries, 20 states, and one giant adventure.
When we think of Europe we often think of the quaint coffee shops of Paris, pubs of Dublin, and gelato of Italy. Don’t get me wrong, Italy’s gelato=one of my closest moments to reaching the clouds of heaven, but it’s nothing I’d consider a “secret” of Europe.
Although I love France, Spain, and Switzerland, I wouldn’t say they are my favorite European countries. Instead, Austria, Slovenia, Poland, and Bulgaria are closer to the top. Countries I had little-to-no opinion of before I left the states.
Poland was a country I knew of, but knew not much about. It all started on an overnight train ride from Prague, Czech Republic to Oświęcim, Poland. The night before we’d stayed up until sunrise and therefore hoped this train ride would be empty and easy. Wrong. Let’s just say a six person cubby which included two backpackers (us) and a homeless person didn’t smell the best and we each managed an hour or two of sleep.
Other than a rough start upon arrival, Poland proved to be one of the cleanest, most affordable, and completely wonderful places we visited along the trip.
I take travel photos. I’ve never put on make-up for a photo. Usually I’m hiking, sweating, probably unshowered and may or may not have shaved my armpits in the last three days. I have a decent camera, but about 50% of my Instagram photos are shot with my iPhone 5s because I’m too lazy to carry all my camera equipment up a mountain.
My travel snapshots include being in a beautiful place, taking some photos, and hoping one turns out decent enough to make it to my Instagram page.
So are photos on Instagram fake? Depends on who you ask. But not mine.
The world of photo-sharing is an interesting one. There are those who share solely for the ‘likes’, there are those who tell stories, those who share memories, those who share pets, landscapes, selfies, and inspiration cartoon quotes.
In the world of Instagram, it is arguable that pictures are fake. “Travel” Instagrams are nothing more than a posed, glamorized, over-edited photo that completely diminishes that reality of a destination.
True? Eh, for some people.
However, sharing travel photos that aren’t posed, glamorized, or over-edited but that are still breathtakingly beautiful is still completely do-able. Take photos, as you are, with who you’re with, without wearing designer clothes or doing your makeup.
So how do you take simple travel photos and turn them into travel photography?
We all know about Paris and Rome. We’ve added Santorini and Cinque Terre to our list of “must-see” places. Twenty years ago these sights were busy, today they are a tourist hell. Sure, some of them are worth a stop, but thanks to social media constantly promoting their beauty it’s hard to visit without feeling like you’re being suffocated in selfie sticks and Rayban Sunglasses.
Unique in every way, Europe encompasses thousands of years of history, dozens of independent countries, and enough small-town charm to put any Disney movie into real-life perspective. There’s more to Europe than London, Amsterdam, and Berlin. In fact, the large towns feel more like America than tourists want to admit. You can walk down the street and easily find someone who speaks English, you’re surrounded by other travelers and not by locals, and the true culture of a country isn’t gift shops and expensive meals.
I don’t mean to hate on big-city Europe. Many of them are beautiful, and fun, and have plenty of clubs that stay open until 5am. But if planning a trip to Europe, there are other cities not to be missed.
Gallivanting around Europe is nothing new to young explorers. For those taking the leap to travel Europe for an extended period of time, there is one key element that will make or break their trip.
How will they see it all?
The options are pretty simple:
Decades ago, renting a car was the cheapest option for travelers. This made the decision easy. Travel where you like, when you like, with no limits to where your wheels will take you.
Once the Eurail pass was developed, travelers moved to the new affordable option. It took the stress away from car accidents, traffic stress, and expensive tolls that can be found throughout Europe.
Today, many still use the other methods, but flying is becoming increasingly popular among travelers due to budget airlines like Ryanair. Flying from Paris to Rome for $30? Not too bad of a gig.
Hitchhiking was never that common, but heck, it’s a fun way to get around sometimes.
There are pros and cons to each major mode of transportation.