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A Rite of Passage

August 20, 2009

Dear Reader,

I’ve had this idea in my head for the past month or so, and I’m finally putting it out there – well, at least here on the Princedom.

The idea is this: after I graduate from high school, I’m going to go backpacking for 6 weeks to 2 months in Europe – a sort of rite of passage for young me. I’ll be doing it alone, of course – there are some things in life I’d like to experience on my own, and that is one of them. Of course, since I’m going to be shacking up in hostels to spend my nights, I’m never going to be alone – I’m confident (and eager) that I’ll make new friends and people to storm the city with at each place I stay. So, I look at it not as traveling alone, but as traveling with an ever changing cast of characters. Maybe this is some backwards rationalization, but I feel like me and my friend, if I chose to bring him along, would get too isolated and not hang with other people at the hostels as much as I would when I’m alone. Anyway I slice it, I feel like this is an intensely personal, nearly spiritual trip, and that means it’s going to be done independently of other people besides those I manage to cross paths with.

Funding

I’m going to estimate that I’ll need upwards of $5500 to be comfortable in Europe. The breakdown is approximately $2000 for transportation (train passes and plane tickets) and $3500 for day to day stuff – food, drink, lodging. Moreover, there’s a host of travel stuff I need to buy before I go – travel backpack, travel clothes (moisture wicking, sun resistant, non-wrinkle), adaptor plugs, passport, a durable pair of shoes, and so on. I can get those items from holiday gifts and what-not. I’m planning to fund the sum of $5500 on my own. I’ve haggled with my parents and asked them to pay me $3 per day for doing miscellaneous household chores. By my calculations, that should get me enough money to pay for transportation. Next summer, I’m going to get a job. ANYWHERE. So, by working that job that summer and into senior year, I’ll be able to raise the $3500 I need – again, by my approximate calculations. I’m prepared to work a ton of hours to raise the money necessary. Plus I’m willing to bet family will pitch in a little.

The Itinerary

My itinerary has changed so much, and will continue to change, as I get closer and closer to E-Day.

-Fly into Madrid. Catch the next train to Seville. I can do my museums in Florence and Paris.
-Train to Seville. Stay 3 days.
-Train to Granada. Stay 2 days.
-Train to Barcelona. Stay 5 days.
-Train to Nice. Stay 2 days.
-Train to Paris. Stay 6 days.
-Train to Amsterdam. Stay 4 days.
-Train to Berlin. Stay 4 days.
-Train to Prague. Stay 3 days.
-Train to Venice. Stay 4 days (or however long my wallet can stand it).
-Train to Florence. Stay 5 days.
-Train to Rome. Stay 6 days.
-Train to Naples. Stay 1 day, then get up early the next morning to…
-Ferry from Naples to Capri. Stay 1 full day, take the ferry back at night.
-Naples to Bari (hopefully by bus). Stay 1 night.
-Ferry from Bari to Patras. Mull around the city for a day and catch the next train to Athens that day.
-Train from Patras to Athens. Stay 3 days, then…
-Ferry from Athens to Santorini. Stay 3 days.
-Ferry back to Athens. Stay a night contemplating the magnitude of what I just did. Catch plane home.

Total # of days: 69. Ouch. This includes travel days for train/ferry. I need to find some way to trim my # of days down to 60. Not to mention I’d like to spend more time at these places than just 4 days each. I need some way to cut down on things, but all of them are essential to me.

Now, these are the major cities that I’d like to see, and many that are under the radar (Capri, Santorini, Granada) made it on there from the suggestion of relatives. I’d sure like it if I found out any more scenic, beautiful, and out of the way places that I could day-trip to from any of the cities I listed above. Not that I don’t find these cities beautiful of course, but it is a different type of beauty entirely. I don’t want to miss out on beautiful scenery while I drown myself in urban sprawl.

Well, I’m pumped for my trip. It’s gonna be awesome. And I only have to wait another 2 years or so.

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