Backpacking across Europe has long since become a widely accepted rite of passage, especially among young adults in Canada.
For the past few years, I’ve been regaled with tales from across the pond and beyond, always yearning for the opportunity to create stories of my own. Now, having finally graduated from UBC, the time has come for me. I’ll be embarking on a month long journey around Western Europe this summer and documenting every part of it.
I’ve spoken to many people over the past half year that I’ve been planning my trip and the first words out of their mouths was consistently similar. “You’re going to get your stuff stolen,” they said, while casting a judgmental eye over me. Perhaps it’s my tendency to do things like turn my room upside down in seek of my phone only to find it in my pocket that contributed to the certainty with which they spoke these words. Being extra-conscious of pickpockets, however, is a small price to pay for the chance to experience all that Europe has to offer. From the renowned museums of London to the beautiful beaches of Barcelona, I’ll be making the most out of every moment and place.
With seven cities to visit and a huge range of activities to partake in, packing has actually become the most stressful part of this trip. Never mind all the connecting flights and trains that I’ll be catching – what shoes can I bring that are going to somehow suit everything from the Warner Bros. Studio Harry Potter Tour to fancy dinners in Paris? Packing worries aside, I’m looking forward to exploring a totally new environment. Vancouver is known to have a particularly large Asian population so I don’t stand out too much but once I’m in Europe, I feel as if people will be able to tell that I’m a tourist on sight. This is a chance to push myself out of the comfort zone of Vancouver, where I’ve never felt out of place, and see a different side of the world. Equipped with a wire-lined fanny pack to wear under my clothes to prevent the theft that everyone is so sure will happen, I think I’m ready to get this trip started.
First stop, London.