Learning to travel with Laura’s first European trip

Do you remember how you felt about your first big trip? I pretty much grew up travelling yet I can still remember feeling close to terrified before I left for Japan to live – even though it was something I really wanted to do. It didn’t take too long before I realised it was the best thing I’d ever done. Travel’s like that – it’s pretty rare that you find yourself disappointed by doing it.

Regular readers will remember Laura, my “beginnner world traveller“. She’s recently come back from her first “big trip”, travelling through Europe for a few weeks. Sadly (in some ways) it’s now “no big deal” for me to do a trip like that – so I was excited to follow Laura’s progress and remember some of the particular excitement and thrills from early travels. I’ve interviewed Laura again and included a few gorgeous photos from her photography website too (click through for some more). Thanks Laura, once again, for being involved and I hope to interview you again when you next pack your backpack!
What was the most unexpected thing you loved about travelling?  
The actual travelling! Sometimes, the thought of travelling via bus or train from country to country made me a little worried, as I thought it would be very tiring and exhausting and I didn’t want it to spoil my first experience adventuring around.  Being on the buses, trains and boats actually allowed us to see the places we were visiting more, because we weren’t just exploring the city centre.  We drove through the countryside in Amsterdam and France, which was beautiful but completely different from the inner city.
Was there something you didn’t like so much about the trip?
The only thing that I did not enjoy about the trip was the Red Light District in Amsterdam. I am not a prude, and I am very open minded and accepting to all cultures, however, I did find it difficult to understand that it is a “normal” everyday thing. I found it quite uncomfortable walking down the narrow alleyways, to have the girls displayed as if they were a new bag for sale. I know that it is a legal profession for these young ladies, and they make good wages, pay taxes and receive a payslip just like anyone working in an office would do – but I did find it quite daunting.
Tell us about some of the people you met.
The people that I met were amazing.  It is probably what I miss most about the trip.  We never met anyone who was English, which was quite surprising.  We travelled with a lot of South Africans, Australians, Americans, Malaysians and we also met a few people from New Zealand. I made good friends with four South African girls who were all teachers in Abu Dhabi who were as crazy as I am. We also spent quite a lot of time with a young Australian couple, who lived in Newcastle, Australia, which I thought was amusing as I am from Newcastle, England.  I have never met so many wonderful people in my life. People we could share travelling stories with, talk about the differences in our countries and even try to impersonate each other’s accents (which proved harder than I first thought). My fellow travellers definitely made my trip utterly amazing.
Which place would you most like to return to?
I REALLY want to go back to Berlin and Venice. Being very interested in history, I felt like I could immerse myself into all that both of these cities offer. I was completely in awe of Venice, and as I am reading the autobiography of Giacomo Casanova, I found myself feeling familiar with the place.  Berlin was utterly beautiful.  I never considered Germany as a place I would want to visit, but it proved me wrong.  It was stunning. We even visited Dresden, Germany, which took my breath away.
Holocaust Memorial in Berlin
What’s next?
The world really is our oyster, there are so many places we would like to visit and it is hard to make our mind up until it is time to start booking.  I am planning to go back to Paris for a couple of days in December, as I adore the city. However, our next big trip could be anywhere.  I am very keen to get myself to Thailand, as I really want to do some volunteer work in an elephant conservation, visit the temples and beautiful beaches.  I also want to spend a few months travelling Australia, working and travelling (however, I think that won’t be for a couple years so I can save up!). I would like to go to a Rio festival too.  There are so many things I want to do, I can’t make my mind up just yet.
Thanks, Laura! I can see lots of similarities between Laura’s experiences and my early trips – in particularly, discovering that the people you meet are some of the best parts of travelling! And of course I’m glad she loved Berlin, one of my all-time favourite cities. I’m looking forward to seeing where Laura’s travels take her next.


  1. Made me nostalgic, since I recently did 7 months in Europe with a lot of ‘first-time’ travelling! Funnily, Berlin was a city even I wasn’t too keen on visiting but I did and after 3 days I dint want to return – absolutely loved the city, and Germany in general!
    Love your posts – inspiring! keep them coming 🙂

  2. I am so surprised that Laura did not meet up with any other Brits on her travels, they must be travelling further afield!

    • I wonder! If she’s anything like me perhaps she was subconsciously avoiding them – I often try to steer clear of fellow Aussies when I travel – I can talk to them at home!

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