All, I feel inclined to invite you to tune into the foibles of one chap’s trip off the beaten path to GTL this summer. I hope you will join me on my journey as my loyal and steadfast comrade.
Few have the privilege of pondering, “Where would you go if you could go anywhere in Europe?” I am now considered to be one of those lucky few. Never have maps looked so intriguing and invigorating to me. I relish each chance to just sit in front of a map and run my finger along each border, scanning, scouring, and perusing the most fascinating destination.
I close my eyes and imagine every picture, letting my mind unwind and explore the endless possibilities. There seems to be something for everyone, whether my friends and I fancy a cup of tea in London, the Tomorrowland music festival, the breathtaking Vanoise National Park, or the French Open. I envisage bikes in Amsterdam, paragliding in Interlaken, castles in Prague, and Dublin accents. If you’re a history buff like me, you’ll enjoy the Holocaust Museum or the four facades of the Sagrada Família Church in Barcelona. Soon, we will be in the working world and we will be too busy for adventure. So now is the time to plan trips we could never otherwise take. Maybe you’re a foodie and lover of music and culture. Italy is home to Osteria Francescana, the Michelin 3 star restaurant in Modena, Italy, featuring whimsical dishes such as “Oops, I Dropped the Lemon Tart!” Any lover of language can attest there is no better experience than full immersion.There’s something delicate about the molding and blending and rolling of the vowels and edges of consonants in the French language.
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
All my life, I could only dream of so many opportunities—snorkeling, Stonehenge, the Coliseum, Monte-Carlo Casino, locally farmed ostrich. What better captures the beautiful simplicity of nature? Allowing the aroma to waft through the air into your nostrils? What could be more delectable than encountering Mozart’s past in Vienna? Each provocative flavor and color entices another emotion. There is enthralling mystery in trying something new. I can’t wait to be intrigued and enchanted with the quaint cottages of the Yorkshire countryside, and perhaps even the Goathland Station set of Harry Potter. All this while still getting an education in one of the premier institutions in the world, studying what I was born to love—industrial engineering. I get to take four classes: statistical methods, Python with databases, evolution and the Industrial Revolution, and 20th Century History.
“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
― Dr. Seuss
I anticipate that one day I will have the chance to return to Italy and Paris. So my goal is to hit the exotic countries—Croatia, Bosnia and others that I will be less likely to return to when I’m older.
My preparation for GTL:
- I’m bringing a rain jacket!
- Toiletries: I’m going to pack all the toiletries and stuff I think I will need while I’m there. Shampoo, conditioner, deodorants, body wash, razor (and heads), face wash, toothbrushes, and toothpaste. I’ve heard it’s not worth it to buy it in Europe because it’s expensive and it will be too heavy to walk back with it from the store!
- Bring my own medicines: A lot of people get sick during the first month in travel, often because of the time change. Medicine is expensive in Europe!
- Bring at least one towel. Hostels will often charge you to use one.
- Bring walking shoes I can walk everywhere in!
- Make myself pack light: I shouldn’t worry about repeating outfits…no one will care! People are mainly going to be concerned with the awesome places we will be going to! By packing light, I will have room to bring home cool trinkets and fun souvenirs for family and friends.
- Stores: Cora (a cool thrift shop GTL sets up) and Simply (grocery store)
- Buy my Eurail pass in advance because it takes time for them to mail it
- Get the Eurail Rail Planner App
- Open a Band of America account and Get a Bank of America card to use to withdraw cash from BNP/PNP Paribas ATM’s. Get a Capital One Travel Rewards credit card to avoid international credit fees and accumulate rewards!
- Take pictures of your passport on my phone
- Get T-Mobile for best international cell coverage
- Lafayette-C12 bus at Seulhotte takes you to Gare (the bus station) and Republique(downtown Metz)
- Take L4 to return to Lafayette
“We naturally crave increase in all our endeavours.”
― Sunday Adelaja
Arpege Restaurant: http://www.alain-passard.com/fr/16-les-5-sens.html
http://www.korsaar.ee/bletchleypark.org.uk/http://www.cslewis.org/ourprograms/thekilns/kilnstour/http://www.tgv-lyria.com/en/discovering/select-your-city-break/lausanne Mont St Michel: https://nathankatica.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/f3062-mont_st_michel-01.jpg
My friend Arnelle (far left), my roommate Michael (far right) and I at an international art exhibition in Savannah, Georgia on Feb. 15, 2016.