As the end of my semester abroad approaches and I begin to prepare to return to the States, I decided there is no better way to end my journey than to plan a two-week solo journey through the eastern part of Europe. I knew a few destinations I wanted to go to and had to sort out how I would get to each place in a decent yet affordable timeframe. This idea took a month of planning and researching and lots of confidence in budgeting and my independent abilities to pull it off. I managed to figure out a perfect route for my itinerary and booked all transportation and hostels. I was very particular with where I was staying and assured that each destination was easy for me to arrive at from my point of arrival and mapped out my plans when it came to arriving and departing to the second, to avoid missing any flights or busses. I planned a two-week trip from London to Budapest, Vienna, Krakow, Berlin, and Prague. All places I have never been to but have heard endless great things about, so I decided it was my time to check them out.
Arriving in Budapest I stayed at the most amazing hostel where I met a group of solo travelers. I would say this journey highlighted the beauty of traveling and the lovely new people you meet along your journey. It requires you to be open and adventurous. I made friends from Canada, the Netherlands, England, and Finland. I still had solo days to myself to engage in activities of my interest. I feel meeting a great group of people can bring lots of comfort but the importance of solo backpacking is not getting too comfortable and staying on your feet. There were days were I faced the dilemma of the group of friends I was with already engaging in an activity I wanted to do and found myself struggling in sticking with them or doing what I wanted to do. It is so easy for me to step into the comfort of being with a group but I am glad I took the initiative to step away and do my own thing. Overall Budapest was great, despite the rain and cloudy weather I still managed to visit Gellert Hill, Buda Castle, Thermal Baths, and try amazing Hungarian dishes.
While I was only Vienna for a day I instantly fell in love with the beauty in every coroner. They hold beautiful architecture, being it was one of the few places that were not bombed during the war. I took an early morning walk in the Schonbrunn Palace and walked along the garden surrounding it. Walking around the streets alone had me speechless at its beauty. Shortly after my stay there I headed to Krakow. Poland was one of my favorite places to visit because of how affordable most things were and how much history is held there. It was very eye-opening to hear about WW2 and the German people that occupied the space in Poland. My entire trip taught me so much about different cultures, history, food, and people. I am grateful I had the opportunity and funds to take this trip and experience more of the world.
I returned from my journey yesterday with a great appreciation for people and how our companies can bring so much light. I am yet again proud of myself for planning the trip and doing it all on my own. I feel I grow more as a person each day I am away from home. This only sparked more light in my interest in seeing the world and traveling, I will be back for more.