It's hard to believe, but I have officially reached the halfway point of my massive trip through Europe! I have been traveling for eleven weeks so far and still have another eight to go, and I've already learned and grown so much. Solo-traveling through countless beautiful cities, exploring different cultures, and eating so much good food along the way has been so good for my soul, and instead of writing out some of those details, I've decided to do something totally new and different! Here is the first "Real Talk with Gennean" video! Warning: get ready for all the quirkiness.
So there you have it: a little update on all of the cities I've been to (minus Florence... I somehow forgot about that beautiful Italian city!), some of the super fun things I've gotten to do, and some of the lessons I've been learning along the way. So far, this trip has been amazing, life-changing, and totally worth all of the hard work it took to get here, and I can't wait to for all that's to come in France, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, and Scotland!
And here are a few more questions that I've been asked about this trip:
How long did you plan for your trip?
I spent about a year saving for the trip, and started planning the details at the beginning of 2018, giving myself about three months to do allllll the research and to begin booking some of my itinerary. By the time I left for London in early April, I had already booked almost all of my lodging and transportation through mid July, when I would be getting to Ireland. I have since booked the tail end of my trip: Ireland + Scotland.
What was your budget?
The budget that I originally planned fo and am trying to stick to is around $10k, which is definitely a lot of money, but when considering that I am traveling for for over 130 days, that number breaks down to be around $77 per day, That cost includes lodging, transportation, food, and fun stuff, not to mention travel insurance and my international flights. So really, it's not that much money for the amount of time that I am traveling.
Even though you've been able to work through the trip, have you noticed anything big In your "everyday" budget?
Great question! The added income is so nice, but I didn't originally plan for it because I didn't know I'd have a little remote gig while traveling, so I'm trying my best to stick to my original budget. I think that the biggest thing I can save on — considering that most of my lodging and transportation between cities was booked before I left — is food and fun things, so that's what I'm focusing most on with my budget now. So while I do treat myself to a nice meal or a drink here and there, I am trying my best to come under my original budget.
What has been the most difficult/challenging encounter while traveling?
I honestly don't think I've had one apart from my hellish 27-hour travel experience from Sorrento to Dubrovnik, which, in the grand scheme of things, really isn't that bad. I have yet to feel unsafe, concerned about pick-pockets, or stressed about a travel or lodging situation.
Have you had any problems in a hostel or with AirBnb hosts?
The only issue I had was when I was checking into my hostel in Barcelona, where I quickly realized it just wasn't going to be my scene (plus I wasn't feeling well at the time). So I quickly searched for and found a last minute AirBnb and cancelled my hostel reservation. It was definitely more expensive to do, but ended up being worth it in that circumstance. Otherwise, I've loved most of the hostels I stayed in, as well as the AirBnb's (especially in Croatia).
If you could write a letter to yourself one year ago, what advice would you give yourself about this trip?
This is such a great question, to which I would say three things. First, leave room for flexibility, because there will be times that you're going to find out quickly if you love a city or not, and you might want to spend more or less time there. And second, don't be too hard on yourself when you realize that you're tired and need a break. It's okay to have a slow morning, take a nap, or watch a movie instead of going out if that means recharging you batteries. Know what your soul is in need of, do that, and then get back to exploring. And third, have the time of your life. Try to live as much in the present as humanly possible, be open to new people and experiences, and say yes to the things that will give you the best stories to take home.