We welcome David Clare, this weeks guest blogger.
David Clare writes a blog on Public Relations and Social Media. A completely different topic, but travelers can be business men too.
I am not that well travelled. I have gone on holidays, plenty in fact. I have gone to America, Spain, Turkey and Greece. But these were all holidays… did I really soak up any culture? No, I just soaked up the sun.
Of course now I have been to far more places, and not on holiday.
Last summer, in 2009, my friend and I went travelling around Europe, using an Inter-rail pass and staying in Hostels. It was a holiday I guess, but not one you would book with Thomas Cook.
I went to the following places:
Amsterdam (Netherlands), Frankfurt (Germany), Munich (Germany), Bled (Slovenia), Zagreb (Croatia), Vienna (Austria), Budapest (Hungary), Krakow (Poland), Berlin (Germany) and Prague (Czech Republic).
I’m actually quite impressed with myself, I remembered the exact order in which I travelled.
I shan’t speak of each place individually, but more so of what travelling did to me. Because it did change me.
I only travelled for one month. When I compared this to all the people I met when travelling it was nothing, my friends I made were travelling for 6 months, a year, 2 years and some could not really remember. They were real travellers, I was just on holiday… but not a Thomas Cook one.
The train rides were magnificent, looking through the window and seeing magnificent lakes, mountains, forests and all the scenery you would not see in England; not because it’s not here, but you don’t travel your own country. Let me illustrate this; one French guy I met said he had never been up the Eiffel Tower, I asked why not and he simply replied ‘have you been inside Buckingham Palace’.
I did not learn too much about the countries when travelling, but I did learn about the cities and the people. I learnt drinking songs in German, I drank Vodka like a Pole, I ate Hungarian Goulash. The culture in Europe is so rich, it makes you feel negative towards the UK. If it weren’t for the people I met who assured me the UK was just as rich, I would have subscribed to the negative thought.
The people I met were the highlight. Staying in a Hostel is the best way to travel. I have come across people who went in Hotels when they travelled Europe; they did not meet anyone. I can understand why people stay in Hotels on normal holidays, but I don’t think I will ever again, until I have a family.
Hostels allow for travellers to mix. I met wild Australians, crazy Scots, hyper Canadians, cool Londoners, hippy Turks and one strange Spaniard… but he was still a nice guy. You hear horror stories of bags being stolen and people touching your feet while you sleep… all from people who have never travelled I am sure. The people are not like this, they are open minded, liberal and very ‘That 70’s Show’.
I had my best moments going on nights out with complete strangers, and having breakfast with my closest friends. This is what travelling is about. So don’t book it, don’t even Thomas Cook it! Pack a bag, get a train ticket and find a hostel. Meet people, soak up the culture and party in Europe.
I of course need to go to the Far East and Australasia, but I am certain Europe is unique. I really recommend just taking a month off and going for it. I also happen to like Thomas Cook, even though this article suggests otherwise!
Learn more about David at his website – www.theprview.co.uk
or follow on Twitter: @theprview