A little over 2 months ago, my best friend Tracy and I set off with our 2 9kg backpack to a journey that we will never forget.
It was both of our first times backpacking, and actually Tracy’s very first time travelling without her family. It was both exciting and nervewracking! The trip that we’ve been thinking about since Grade 12 and planning for half a year finally came into reality.
Over the next few weeks (but knowing me during the school year, probably months :P), I will be sharing snippets of our trip. You can also check out some our posted travel pics with #bpeuropewithtrae on IG!
We visited the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. As an overview, our route was..
July 25 |Bags packed, ready to go
YVR (Vancouver Intl Airport)-> LGW (London Gatwick Intl Airport)
July 26-28 | Wales
July 28-30 | Cambridge
STN (London Stansted) -> GLA (Glasgow Intl Airport)
July 30- Aug 1|Glasgow
Aug 1-2 | Edinburgh
EDI (Edinburgh Airport) -> BHD (George Best Belfast City Airport)
Aug 3-4 | Belfast
BFS (Belfast Intl Airport) -> CDG (Charles de Gaulle Airport)
Aug 5-8 | Paris
Aug 9 | Antwerp
Aug 10-11 | Brussels
Aug 11-12 | Rotterdam
Aug 13 | The Hague, Leiden
Aug 13- 14 | Haarlem
Aug 15-17 | Amsterdam
AMS (Amsterdam Airport Schiphol) -> LGW
Aug 17-21| London
Aug 22 | Brighton
Brighton -> LGW -> YVR
Home sweet home (:
There were many challenges that came along the way, both prepping for the trip and during the travels. Overlapping themes of challenges and reflections include..
Minimalism– I didn’t think it was possible to pack a month of life inside a 40L backpack.. If anything, I am definitely a maximalist, but due to flight regulations of some of the low-cost intercity flights, we had to compact our belongings into one single carry-on. I remember spending hours on Youtube seeing how minimalists pack and travel, and that really helped me break down what was truly essential and what was not. From the process of learning to pack lightly, narrowing down my necessities from accessories, seeing what can be shared with Tracy, finding versatility and being flexible while travelling, I definitely learned a thing of two of living minimally. I unexpectedly started growing an appreciation for the common “less is more” saying.
Budget– Props to my girl for saving up for the trip! Every single cent she spent was earned through work, whereas for me, I only had enough savings for the roundtrip airfare and thankfully, my parents were willing to support me financially for the other costs. With that said, I definitely made budget a priority. It was not one of those luxurious European trips, but we found ways and made compromises to check off all of our bucket list without breaking our wallet. Will probably do a detailed breakdown with my expenses, but we totalled around $3300, all inclusive.
Compromise– Travelling alone is hard but from my experience, travelling with friends is equally difficult. Throughout one month of backpacking, I feel like our friendship grew a lot as we were able to come out of fights with better understanding and care for one another. When living together for such an extended period of time and seeing each other non-stop for 24 hours a day, there were definitely both trivial, petty bickering and arguments with deeper roots that surfaced. It was scary because we never fought prior to the trip! However, I am grateful that we were able to compromise and strengthen our friendship through all the small but big challenges. (Ily baeeee.)
And I’ll save the deets for later (most likely after midterms haha) so stay tuned!
Hope you had a great September, and happy fall!