When I told family and friends about my idea to finish out the year in Europe many of them asked if I’d be starting up my blog again. My stock answer was “If I feel inspired to write then I’ll write.” I enjoyed blogging during my last trip, but I quickly realized after returning home that I wasn’t interested in being a “lifestyle blogger”. I’m a dude, and I don’t think any other dudes care to read about the cute boots I bought or see selfies of my new hair color. If you kept up with my previous blogging attempts then you may have noticed that I’ve been a lot less prolific this go-round. In my downtime I’ve been trying to figure out why that is. Here are a few reasons why this trip hasn’t been quite as inspiring as my last.
I bit off more than I could chew
I don’t like planning things. Call it procrastination or laziness but I prefer the positive spin of calling it spontaneity. I like to plan trips in a big-picture style. So with two things in mind: 1) my cousin is in Rome and 2) “it’d be cool to see friends in England”, I booked an outbound flight 1500 miles from my inbound flight, with two months for the journey. That was dumb. Now a month in I feel less like a traveler and more like a tourist, checking off cities like to-do list items. I hop off a train in a city, spend two days taking photos of all the sights, hop on another train, repeat. The fact that I locked myself into a far-away departure point means I can’t be very spontaneous (multiple travelers have told me not to miss Berlin and Prague, for instance).
I don’t travel to shop
Most of the cities I’ve been through are all about two things: museums and shopping. I don’t mind a bit of shopping—I feel good in new clothes just like anyone else—but I’m willfully unemployed and there’s room in neither the budget nor the backpack for more clothes. I’ve walked the streets of shopping districts in Florence, Cologne, and Amsterdam that would make a fashionista’s heart skip a beat but I’d prefer to be hiking up a mountain. I do like architecture, however, and you can’t beat European cities for stunning cathedrals and top-notch museums (save these for the rainy days).
I picked the wrong time of year
Related to the above; I like to be outside. I don’t mind being in the cold, preferably in the snow, but I like trips that allow me to hike, explore an area by bike, take a surfing lesson, go caving, swim in the ocean. It’s tough to lazily stroll around a city or read under a tree when temps are 0C (that’s 32F for the Americans). Thankfully Italy was warmer than expected but it’s getting colder as I head north later in the year (funny how that works).
And finally, not really a lesson here, but blogging takes time. If I’m blogging a lot then I’m probably in a boring place or not being very social with my fellow travelers. I’ve met some great people on this trip: a couple from Barcelona with whom I shared two dinners, wine, and gelato in Florence, traveling duos from Mexico, South Africa, Australia, and some new mates from the UK who I’ll see again in about a week.
I regret not having done any work exchange on this trip (HelpX, WWOOFing). I tried in Switzerland but the guy got back to me after I had already hopped a train to Germany. It’s a great way to meet locals, get out of the tourist grind, and save a few bucks, or euros, or swiss francs, or pounds.
Some absolutely inspiring moments while biking around Lake Brienz, a surprise waterfall, and a few shots from the hostel in Interlaken, Switzerland…