If I look at my feet, they seem normal to me. But the reality is, these feet have been to five different countries in the last five months, which is almost more than the countries I have ever visited during my whole life. This doesn’t come without consequences: now I’m incredibly good at packing, my wallet is filled with a bunch of currency I don’t recognize and I have pictures from cats from all over the world. Seems like a good life to me.
If you’re a fellow European, I know the question that may bug you is, how can you travel so much? Of course, first there’s the money matter, and the thing is, traveling is expensive, but not that expensive. Especially if you’re willing to make a couple of compromises, (i.e. sleeping in airports, booking very cheap hostels, spending 6 hours on a bus), you’d be surprised at how cheap Europe is, in particular from Maastricht. This charming little town, in fact, is close to three airports that happen to be served by very cheap airlines. Not to mention that it is right in the center of Europe, making traveling by train or car a very significant option too. That and the fact that the Netherlands seem to never run out of cute little canal-side towns means that I can count the weekends I spent in Maastricht on the fingers of one hand.
In my opinion, an exchange in Maastricht is better than an Interrail around Europe: cheaper and you get a couple school credits in the bag, too.
If the question, instead, is why the answer is ‘non-Europeans’. Seeing Europe through their eyes made me realize truly how lucky I am to live here, where I can take a train to another country, without even having to change my money. It made me see with brand new eyes all the tiny little gems encrusted between the irregular borders and made me tick off places I didn’t even know were on my list.
Another question though may be, only five? In fact, I haven’t traveled nearly as much as some of my friends. But there are reasons for this. First of all, like I said at least a thousand times, I am European, which means I don’t have the carpe diem pressure other students have. Countries like Spain and Portugal are actually closer to home than Maastricht. Other than that though, traveling constantly has its downsides. First of all, it’s very tiring. Second, Europe is not that diverse at the end of the day: how many gothic cathedrals can you take pictures of before that becomes your Instagram theme? Finally, and most importantly, the excitement wears out. After all, anything you do for numerous times becomes a habit (but eating Pinkie’s waffles, that’s the exception to the rule). That being said I reached the point of which I used to feel more excited for a day trip in my own country than for jumping on a plane to Budapest. Oh what a wonder, being able to consider spending the weekends hopping through Europe the norm. Also, what a shame. Because now that’s my norm, and I’m living on quite a crazy high. Sadly, I don’t think there’s anything that can beat the ‘I think I’m going to Paris this weekend’ lifestyle.
That being said, one month away from having to fly back home, I hope I’ll take some of this traveling frantic with me. Now that my eyes have been opened to the wonders of Europe and Wizzair, I really hope I don’t lose the nomad kick. All there’s left to do now is convince my fellow European friends.