Nina Out and About’s Accidental Europe Adventure

January 22, 2019|Lena Scheidler

This is a guest post by Nina from Nina Out and About about her 8 months trip in Europe (and a couple of other places).

I asked her to describe her trip, travel style, and budget, to share her biggest challenge and one thing she learned from traveling.

She shared  5 essential items she traveled with, her favorite experience and accommodation and also told me what it was like to go back home after her extended trip.

If you are still looking for inspiration on what to do on your trip around the world (or part of the world) this guest post might help you make a decision. You can also head to the RTW Travel Planning Blog to find more posts about round the world travel and travel planning or read another guest post, either by Julie about her 16 months backpacking Latin America or Zenja about her trip around the world in 6 months.

Want to do a trip around the world?
Start planning NOW!

Using the RTW Travel Prep Checklist including 50+ planning tasks

After not being able to find a job once I graduated university, I decided to spend my unexpected year off travelling Europe.

Well, Europe, Morocco and Turkey.

The trip was initially meant to last 9 months, but I shortened it to 8 to head home for a summer job (so I could afford my next year of travel).

My 8 months in Europe were an intense learning experience for me. I started the trip with 4 months scheduled to the day on printed off calendars. When I finished, I was contently booking accommodations 1 day in advance.

Without those 8 months, I wouldn’t be who I am now.

That’s why I encourage everyone to take the time to travel. It helps you find yourself in a way a classroom never could.

nina out and about's accidental europe adventure

Countries I Visited

In 8 months, I managed to visit 14 countries: Switzerland, France (day trip), Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Spain, Morocco, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia (day trip), Hungary, Croatia, UK

I didn’t focus on countries that were necessarily close to each other. Instead, I chose countries I hadn’t been to before or that really interested me.

My Travel Style

I used a few different travel styles during my trip.

For the majority of my adventure, I stayed at Workaways. Workaway is a program where you can volunteer in exchange for room and board. That saved me a TON of money during my trip. (There are other websites similar to Workaway that can save you a lot of money. Have a look at a list of 14 websites that let you stay with locals.)

I usually stayed at Workaways for 2-4 weeks. Afterwards, I’d travel in that country for five days.

While I travelled alone, I would stay in a private room in a shared Airbnb (or a whole apartment if I got lucky!).

In Morocco, my mom paid for our accommodation when she met up with me. That was my first time in a hotel in 4 months of travel.

In Turkey, I did a group tour through the country so I could cover more ground (an expensive option, but worth it!).

In Serbia, I stayed with family I have never met before. That was the most unique travel style of my trip, as it involved a cultural immersion and familial tie that no other style could offer. If you have family around the world, go meet them!

My Travel Budget

As you can imagine, 8 months in Europe is not a cheap adventure.

My trip ended up costing about 13,500 CAD (10,000 USD). This included all of my transport, insurance, expenses, accommodations, food, experiences and souvenirs.

Admittedly, I did buy a carpet that cost a few hundred dollars. It’s currently in my closet in Canada.

My tour in Turkey was the most expensive part of my trip. Two weeks cost a couple thousand dollars (once you add in meals and activities).

Throughout my travel, I supplemented my costs by working as a freelance Legal Assistant, Writer and Editor for a number of companies.

My Essential Travel Items

Microfiber Towel

I could not have survived my trip without my microfiber travel towel! My sister actually gave it to me as a present and I had no idea how much I’d love it. It’s great for hostels, as a picnic blanket or as a beach towel. It dries super quick and sand shakes out easily.

If you don’t have a microfiber travel towel yet, buy it now on amazon.com!

Daypack

When I travel, I spend a full day away from my accommodation. Having a good daypack like the MEC Campus Book Bag is key! I picked up mine from Mount Equipment Co-op in Canada, but any outdoorsy store will have options. I love mine because it is ergonomic, has tons of pockets and has chest straps that help take the pressure off my shoulders.

Reusable Water Bottle

Having a reusable water bottle is so important when you’re travelling! Many European countries have safe tap water. In Switzerland, there are taps all over the cities. Not only can you save money, you can also save the environment!

Get one that is easy to carry (both in and out of your pack), and that you can drink from on the go. Super Sparrow Stainless Steel Water Bottles are a great option and can be bought in different sizes on amazon.com. Buy yours now!

Fleece

Having a fleece as a sweater saved me last year. Since I travelled throughout winter in Europe, it got cold! My fleece was able to easily transition to a spring jacket when the weather warmed up. On top of that, it ended up being a signature look for my vacation.

I didn’t actually buy my fleece. I stole it from my mom! It’s an Eddie Bauer jacket that was so comfy I often slept in it. If you can’t steal a fleece from your mom you can buy it here on amazon.com

Protein Bars

I always travel with a bunch of protein bars, because you never know when your train will be delayed or your blood sugar will drop. Having protein bars on hand can easily fix that!

I like muesli bars with real fruit or protein bars with a low sugar content. I choose protein bars over nuts, as they’re often less messy and easier to carry around.

A Lesson I Learned

The biggest lesson I learned traveling Europe was that it’s ok for things to not go as planned. So often, I would plan every detail of my trip in my head, from the food to the friends I would make.

But I couldn’t possibly control those things.

I had to learn to go with the flow and experience things as they happened. Being more flexible allowed me to go on a girl trip with some friends from Spain since I hadn’t pre-booked everything for the month.

The rough parts of life are the most interesting. They teach you about your own abilities and allow you to grow. After 4 months of travel, I learned to appreciate the hiccups (after complaining a bit) and figure out how to turn them into a positive.

Want to do a trip around the world?
Start planning NOW!

Using the RTW Travel Prep Checklist including 50+ planning tasks

My Greatest Challenge

There were a lot of difficult moments during my trip, but the biggest challenge came when I was in Berlin.

I was supposed to spend a month at a Workaway in the city a few months into my trip. However, the Workaway didn’t work out. After a week of not sleeping in their storage unit, I realized I needed to leave.

I had to accept that my trip was going to change, my budget was going to take a hit and that I would need to do some quick thinking to re-plan everything in a few nights.

That was probably my greatest feat while travelling, as well. In 2 nights, I had resigned from my workaway, found a great apartment in Wedding and moved myself across the city.

Don’t get me wrong, the month didn’t magically become amazing. I spent a lot of time feeling lonely in an apartment alone. I nearly went home for Christmas, which probably would have turned into ending my trip permanently.

I had to figure out how to spend my days to pull me out of my funk. Otherwise I might give up on the entire tirp.

I found Christmas markets and freelance work to entertain me. I learned German recipes to experience the culture. And I spent my first Christmas alone – which went much better than I expected!

I would never have imagined that I could handle such a sudden change in my plans. That was the biggest catalyst to making me more laid back throughout the rest of my trip.

My Favorite Experience

I had a lot of amazing experiences: from cantering up a mountain on horseback to baking cookies with Moroccan women. But the one that stands out most was hot air ballooning in Turkey.

Hot air ballooning in Cappadoccia is a serious must do while you’re in Turkey. And you can book your hot air balloon flight via Get Your Guide.

You wake up before the sun rises and drift into the pink sky with a hundred other balloons. That sensation of floating with your feet firmly on the ground (because there really is no sensation of motion) is absolutely magical. The incredible views just made it that much better.

If you ever have the chance, go hot air ballooning in Cappadoccia!

My Favorite Accommodation

I usually stayed in Airbnbs, which were mostly unremarkable since I had a low price point. But if you are interested in trying Airbnb for the first time you can get 35 US dollar off your first stay if you register using this link.

The best accommodation of my trip came in Marrakech, when my mom came to meet me. Moroccan riads unto themselves are fascinating in their construction. They have two courtyards and brilliant mosaic designs.

Our riad was even more brilliant.

Riad Le Clos Des Arts was in the city centre, just five minutes from the main square. A four-course breakfast was included every morning in the dining room or on the terrace. I took full advantage of the constant supply of fresh mint tea (which made me endlessly jittery since I can’t handle caffeine).

Best of all were the owners, who happily planned our stay for us and helped me find my way around during my days alone. I also had a fantastic time at one of the Hammams in Marrakech.

Seriously, visit Marrakech just to stay at Riad Le Clos Des Arts. You won’t be disappointed! And you can book your stay via booking.com

Returning Home

Going home after 8 months abroad was a challenge. I’ve lived abroad for 4 months before in both Italy and Glasgow, so I expected issues. However, I wasn’t ready for just how weird it would be.

After travelling for so long with a single suitcase, it felt weird to have so many possessions. Within my first few days home, I’d donated half my wardrobe.

I also couldn’t get used to the fact that everyone spoke English and that I could read everything in the stores. There were foods I would look for, like muesli, that were rarities in Canada.

It’s always hard to come home from travelling in the social media age. There’s no need to share travel stories or photos now, because by the time you’re back everyone has already heard or seen them. Or at least they think they have.

I was so excited to share my stories, but had no audience.

Want to do a trip around the world?
Start planning NOW!

Using the RTW Travel Prep Checklist including 50+ planning tasks

It’s also hard to return to a group of people who remember the old you and still treat you that way. 8 months abroad, especially on your own, have a huge effect. I was nothing like the person that had left in October and cried about her adapter. Now, I had easily tossed aside clothes and had thrived in fourteen different cultures.

It takes a lot of time for people to see those changes.

The culture shock didn’t last long, as I only had two weeks before I started a full-time job in cottage country. Throwing myself into something that way really helped, because it forced me to stop dwelling on the differences.

It didn’t hurt that this was a whole new audience for my travel stories.

In Conclusion

After spending 8 months in Europe, there’s nothing I recommend more than taking the time to travel. Exploring the world opened me up to culture and history in a way I never could have learned otherwise. It also introduced me to incredible new friends who taught me so much (like how to light a fire!).

If you’re struggling with whether or not to “take a break” from society’s preplanned paths, do it! It’ll be the most valuable experience of your life!

If you are ready to plan your trip around Europe, or around the world find out how to get started here.

About Nina

Nina is a 23 year old, Canadian girl who loves to travel. She has been to 5 continents, 29 countries and had countless adventures on the way. From hot air ballooning in Turkey to cooking classes in Morocco, she’s sharing them all to inspire other solo female travellers to explore the world!
You can find her on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

If you enjoyed this post,
consider subscribing so you will never miss a new post!

Authors Note:
This post is a guest post, it might contain affiliate links. I receive a commission if a product is purchased through one of these links, at no extra cost to you. Please support me by buying products through my links!

Spread the love
  • 11
  •  
  • 3
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
    14
    Shares
Search
Categories
About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to help bussy millennials plan an unforgettable trip around the world, through stays with locals, without wasting valuable time and money.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

If you are a business we might be able to work together so check out the Work With Me page for more details

Amazon Disclosure

The Social Travel Experiment is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Affiliate Disclosure

Posts on The Social Travel Experiment contain affiliate links. I receive a commission if a product is purchased through one of these links, at no extra cost to you. Please support me by buying products through my links!

Ads
Subscribe
Facebook
Search
Categories
About Lena

Hi, I'm Lena the founder of The Social Travel Experiment. My mission is to help bussy millennials plan an unforgettable trip around the world, through stays with locals, without wasting valuable time and money.

Find out more About Me and The Social Travel Experiment

If you are a business we might be able to work together so check out the Work With Me page for more details

Amazon Disclosure

The Social Travel Experiment is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Affiliate Disclosure

Posts on The Social Travel Experiment contain affiliate links. I receive a commission if a product is purchased through one of these links, at no extra cost to you. Please support me by buying products through my links!

Ads
Subscribe
Facebook