When I had originally thought of how I was going to blog about traveling in Europe for ridiculously cheap, I didn’t realize it would be done with the help of so many friends along the way. I thought I was going to do it all on my own. However, because of the friends who took care of me during my time abroad, I am unable to give readers a practical guide to cheap travel… I’m not complaining at all.
I was given shelter, offered meals, a place to do laundry, shower, amongst other luxuries I had not expected to receive for free during the course of my European backpacking trip. Of course, I can still give lots of tips on how to lower your expenses for a trip: doing laundry in the sink, taking budget airlines and buying transportation tickets in advance, buying groceries and not eating out, etc. But I think the majority of those blogs have been written. What needs to be written about are the heroes (or maybe even angels) who showed me the most astounding acts of compassion, generosity, and trust that I have ever seen in my life.
Throughout my travels, I crashed on six different “couches” (sometimes beds, sometimes air mattresses) and seven more people cared for me in other really special ways in which I benefited from either through the exchange of knowledge or friendship. I was left in complete bewilderment by the ways that these people showed love to me and I was humbled by the evident hospitality illuminating from these humans. I had been especially humbled because on day five of my 46-day trip I had been stripped of all my important belongings: my passport, debit card, and money. In order to travel comfortably, I had to put myself out there, and respectfully ask for a place to stay from strangers, friends of friends, and even people I’d known for a long time. Regardless of the quality of my relationship with the person, I still had to ask, putting myself in a place of potential rejection. But never once was I rejected in any way from the people with whom I asked to stay.
I spent six and a half weeks in Europe for a little under 3200 dollars. The only way that was possible was because of a certain kindness and trust which showed me that it is worth it to have faith in humanity. I will be writing about these experiences separately because each individual deserves their own thank you. I, in turn, will help those who need it and choose to also put trust in people because of the faith that was invested in me once upon a time. I can’t wait for the opportunity to reproduce this selflessness in order to help others and I truly hope that this kind of culture can become more of a norm here in the United States. I was heavily influenced by the “open door” policy during my time there. No one let me stay out in the cold, people made sure I was fed, and all I can offer in return is the promise that I will do the same for someone else one day; and of course, the most genuine of thank yous.