I’m into the final stretch. It’s been incredible, that’s about all that I can say. I have just over three weeks left, but there is no way my travels with stop there. I have loads of trips within the States and Canada (which will actually be a first time there) to see various friends from home, from University, from Chicago, and many that I’ve met around the world.
I’ve considered doing some time on the East coast of the States (never done that before), road trip through bits of Canada, bicycle across the states (although I foresee this one waiting a few years), and exploring the west coast of the States as well. So many incredible state and national parks throughout California, especially Northern Cali, Oregon and Washington. I’d love to see British Colombia and visit friends there as well as in Alberta as well.
It’s no secret however that money doesn’t last forever. That every Euro I continue to spend is absolutely eating away at my budget at a rate about 3x faster than it was in Latin America. In particular this train ride from Brussels, Belgium to Basel, Switzerland – a 7 hour journey is costing me over 90 Euros, ~$120. I spent less than $30/day for EVERYTHING in Guatemala and about the same in El Salvador. To put that into perspective – 96 hours of living, eating, partying, sleeping, and surfing in Central America costs the same as simply 7 hours of transport in Europe.
I’m making the most of the journey though and dividing it into two days. I’m on my way to Luxembourg City, Luxembourg now. Who knew I’d ever go there?! But if I’m passing through anyway, how can I pass it up? Plus, it breaks up my journey. That said, one quick look at Google and I’m pretty certain I’m really going to enjoy my time there.
Next, on to Basel, Switzerland where I’m meeting up with a German friend I was traveling with in Nicaragua and Costa Rica. He and I have been bouncing around the idea of doing Southeast Asia together for a few months now since he headed back to attend pharmacy school. Southeast Asia is quickly moving up on my to-do list. As it’s a younger backpacking crowd so the sooner I go, the better. It’s the cheapest place in the world to travel and the culture is so insanely different from anything else I’ve ever experienced.
Post Basel, I’m really not sure, but ideas are formulating. Visit Interlaken, Switzerland – I’ve heard of its beauty, but I’ve also heard of it’s unreal price tag that comes along with it. There are loads of great adventure activities there, but I can also do those around the world elsewhere for a fraction of the price. Here, I’d meet up with a cousin of a girl I went to grade school with. I’ve never met her, but her cousin, Emily, linked us together via our respective travels on Facebook. Regina has spent significant time traveling in Africa and has posted up in Switzerland recently to enjoy the Swiss lifestyle.
Lucerne, Zurich, Bern? – They’re also in the cards, but I don’t know a thing about any of these places – but that’s a good thing isn’t it – all the more reason to visit. From there, I’m going to try and minimize travel times to get to my main destination for this leg of my journey – Croatia! I hope to meet up with an Israeli girl I was traveling with in Guatemala. I’m looking forward to taking it easy a bit, spend some time on the beautiful beaches and islands of the Adriatic. My tentative plans would lead me to Zagreb, Split, Hvar, and Dubrovnik.
Post a week of relaxation, I enter the final two weeks of my trip – through the Balkans. This an area with so much recent history and natural beauty, I’m quite excited to experience it. I’m not sure why I’m even bothering putting my tentative goal locations in writing, considering I’m unsure what I’m doing two days from now, but it’s always fun to look back at them in retrospect.
The conclusion of my trip looks to be formulating like this (I just came up with this idea via Google Maps and the help of my cousin who did a similar journey through this area two summers ago):
Black Sea Coast – Bulgaria
Does anyone have any advice/suggestions/day trips/hikes? Or any info on Montengro and Kosovo as they’re just a quick train/bus ride away. Would love any advice anyone can give me as I know this is a less traveled portion of the world.
All of this, however, depends on my flight home, which I have yet to book, but Bucharest, Romania was looking to be a cheap one. Hopefully will book that within the next few days in order to be home in Chicago for my best friends from high school’s wedding September 1st.
My future life/travel plans are then completely undecided, but new ideas are constantly brewing in my mind. I think I have a pretty good idea of where they are going to lead me, but for now, I’ll keep myself and the rest of the world guessing. It keeps life more exciting and if there’s any thing in the world I’m constantly striving for – it’s the thrill of the unknown.