Back in 2009, I was finishing my last co-op term which was to end on Friday. I knew I was going on vacation afterward, but didn't know where, and didn't know when.

It was a Wednesday, approximately 11am and I still had several files on the go. Without second thought, I tossed an email out to my coworkers, told them I was going on vacation and was leaving right away. Partner swung by my desk and immediately said, "I like that spirit!"

I went home, packed my bag and went to the airport. Asked the counter for the next flight out of North America (I'm in Canada) and after a bit of explaining what I was doing, I was off.

I ended up in Norway. Called my family and found out I actually had relatives there. Met up with them, my family from Canada even decided to fly out and we all travelled up north in Norway (gorgeous!).

After a few days, I left my family, went back to the airport and did the same thing.

Ontario, Canada -> Oslo, Norway -> Pisa, Italy -> Girona, Spain (near Barcelona) -> Paris, France.

I always arrived in cities without having any bookings for hostels or knowing where I was going. I ALWAYS ended up bumping into someone and somehow everything just always worked out (except Paris).

During that time, I met dozens of people who I have made good friends with (and still keep in touch), went skydiving randomly (because I got lost) and had the time of my life.

To everyone curious about travelling. Go by yourself! Hostels are full of people travelling solo and people are more reluctant to approach you if you're alone than if you have a friend. I always get a female saying, "But I'm a female - it's easier for a guy". WRONG. That's all I met... females travelling solo and they were all in the company of other people whenever they reached new cities.

I've done mini random trips since, when I have the free time, but my next random trip is coming up later this week. Could be between Wed and Sat.

EDIT: I'm about to head out for golfing, but here's a video of my random skydiving trip I whipped up back in the day. I guess my reddit identify is revealed.

If you guys make your questions more specific to each city or whatnot, I can probably give you better stories.

EDIT #2: For those all wondering about costs. It was about $2,500 or so for this trip. I never added it up, and never will - but that is a ballpark. If people really consider, you can meet a lot of locals and save on tons of costs. For those leaving from North America - consider (best price finder that I've noted) and (commonly has VERY cheap cross Atlantic flights - taxes in).

As for people saying you don't have the finances. When I did that trip above, I was making $35k/year. I now only make $52k/year. It is easily doable.

EDIT #3: I have facebook albums of this entire trip (plus others). I don't want to just throw the album links up here, but I'd be willing to message people the links if they request it. The pictures have text and full stories attached to them. I might edit this later with interesting pics.

EDIT #4: So to point out, I'm travelling randomly sometime later this week. If people are curious to know where I end up, they can throw some messages/questions in here and I'd be glad to get back. For those introverted people, I honestly would like to hear an update if you ever did go travelling to hear how it was.

Comments: 1003 • Responses: 31  • Date: 

serpis343 karma


mdr-fqr87375 karma

So during the trip I mentioned above, everytime I'd walk out of an airport, or leave people I just met - I'd bump into someone else or be guided by another backpacker to my next point. It all just worked out flawlessly. Except Paris.

My flight was late leaving to Paris already, so I got to the airport and bussed into Paris fairly late. Having commonly stayed at hotels when I was there before, I had no idea where hostels were. I had no internet, no cafes or anything were open. I was screwed. I knew where all the monuments were, so I just casually walked along there hoping I'd find other late-night backpackers. I went onto the bridges where locals all sit and drink wine and just talk.

There was this one female that spoke really broken English, but she was really curious about my travels. We hit it off and got along really well. We went off, fooled around on a park bench and as she was leaving, I asked if I could stay at her place. No dice.

I kept walking around for hours. Then I found cops. Awesome, I thought - they'll know. Using my broken English, "ou est les hotel pour les etudients?" (Where are the hotels for the students? - referring to hostels). The one guy didn't understand so he called over other cops and eventually 2 more cars drove in. They all were laughing at me saying "You're not going to find anything that cheap around here! You're in Paris!" (obviously they thought I wanted an actual hotel). I heard them talking between eachother and at one time heard "American" and it was said in such a condecending tone. "Fuck you guys! I'm not American... I'm Canadian. You guys can go fuck yourself. I know what you're saying!" (It's a known fact that Canadians are well accepted when they travel, so I didn't want to be labelled an American at this point). They started cursing back at me and radio'd more people in. There was now about 8 people. We literaly were just yelling back and forth with them saying I was a stupid American who didn't know what the hell I was doing. I told them they were French fucks (I was part drunk with the wine from earlier).

Eventually I just walked off as it started to get more hostile. So about 3-4 hours in of walking, I'm thinking I'm fucked. I have this monster 60lbs backpack, no place to sleep and I'm brutally tired. I start walking towards the Bastille and see in the distance this guy with a hiking backpack standing there looking at a map.

I run up to him and say "Are you staying at a hostel?!". He looks up and says, "No, I just left. I no like the hostel.". I keep asking him where it was, but he has no fucking idea. "So then where are you sleeping tonight?"... "here". He fucking points to the Eiffel Tower.

It's about 3-4am and I'm fucking tired. So I just fucking go with it. What do I have to lose? As we're walking, I find out he's like a 30 year old Mexican Mariachi singer who travels around singing major events. I got him to sing as we walked up to the Eiffel Tower (a good 45 minute walk, since we kept resting due to my back almost giving out).

We get there are there's guards with guns pacing around. We find a bench nearby and he just starts passing out on the bench. I grab the bench next to him, but I couldn't sleep. You know the movie Ratatouille? There's a reason they use rats. The place is COVERED with them. Let's say you were on a city bus. In that same area, there would be a good 10-15 rats. They just all come out of no where.

So here I am, keeping my feet ontop of the bench, trying to sleep with rats running around all underneath me. I couldn't sleep so I literally watched the sun rise as I slept right beside the Eiffel Tower.

ghost_victim238 karma

Kinda glad to see a fellow Canadian had a shit time in Paris. Horrible people there, for the most part, in my opinion.

cortheas24 karma

He is a foreigner. He doesn't speak the language very well, he is drunk and verbally abusing police officers by his own admission and has a bad time. What country in the world would you expect differently?

mdr-fqr879 karma

I totally agree. I was half drunk and being an asshole, but I had no decent help there. It had already been a good two hours or so walking around with a 50-60lbs+ bag and I wanted a hostel ASAP.

rabed3 karma

I enjoy reading about your travels. I am a high school senior and i one day wish to travel the world before i settle in and begin my home-bound life. Please continue to tell us your very interesting tales if you don't mind. Thank you.

mdr-fqr873 karma

Hopefully this doesn't get lost, but here's another experience/story that comes to mind. Some of the nights are a blur so I may be mixing some days/nights together...

After a few hours of searching, I had reached Barcelona and got to my hostel. I was situated right near "La Rambla" (famous street) and this popular central square. There were a few others that had arrived earlier in the day - but they were already out, so I somewhat just walked around for a bit and came back.

About 7pm they were still all out grabbing lunch so I struck up a conversation with this introverted dude who was just reading. He had been there for a few days already and was taking it easy. This guy was literally like meeting a shy Kramer off Seinfeld. I eventually convinced him to take me up to the singing fountains (fountains set to music) and we just casually walked and talked. I think he was New Zealand.

Fast forward to us arriving back, and we eventually meet everyone and decide we're all going to make an epic night. Off to the corner store we go for beers. (Note: One thing you need to realize is as much as people want to know your name, no one can really remember it right off the bat. So everyone calls eachother by their country. There was Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Canada [me], and Austria - I think).

We literally are all sliding down these monster stairwell bannisters drunk off our faces and ready to go to "the bar area" that this one guy claims to know. We walk through every narrow alley to find this place. We even came across a kid in a stroller that was left outside the bar. So there is drunk Germany trying to play with the kid and make it laugh. A good site.

After an hour of searching, we start turning on the guy claiming to know of the big 'bar area'. Whatever - we go into a random place, drink a bit more, roam the streets and stumble back to the hostel.

Fast forward to the next night and I'm walking around La Rambla with one of the guys from the earlier night (Australia). We were looking for a casual bar to grab a drink in and stop in this one that had only a few people. While drinking we start spilling our drinks on this girl and strike up a conversation.

We find out a group of 4 from Phili are staying near by (two guys, two girls - all just friends) and just have a solid night with them. We got a long so well we even agreed to meet up the next day at the square and travel to Tibidado (spelling?) and then the beach.

In the evening we bar hopped like no other. Probably a good 6 bars, including a tappas bar (finger foods). The bartender loved us so much he gave us a few shots of his top drink (can't remember what - but it was sweet yet had a killer taste). While we were walking into one bar, I stopped dead in my tracks. Australia didn't understand, but the Phili people were in shock also. They had Olde English on tap. Many pictures with the bar tap were had.

So the next night, we had planned to meet up again at the same square. Unfortunately, they never showed up. I said - "Fuck it, I'll just explore on my own" and went walking down the street. In a glimmer of hope, I tried walking by the initial bar we first met at, but nothing. As I was walking away from that bar, all I hear is "Canada?!". I turn around and it was one of the Phili girls. "We took so long getting ready with our hair, that we missed the meeting time." Miracles happen while travelling people. Good times were had again that night.

I honestly don't knwo where this story is going, but these are some of the people I still keep in touch with. Getting lost, exploring with them all and just having an all round solid time is what makes travelling all worth it. Most people may think these scenerio's are pure luck - but trust me, it happens all the time.

wretched_beasties84 karma

Do people get suspicious of you, thinking you are a terrorist?

mdr-fqr8777 karma

Hah - not at all. When I did it at the airport counters around Europe, it wasn't as big of a shock. One lady said she's had a few people do it before, but others were not surprised given the lower costs. The one in Canada definitely had no idea how to handle it.

darkslide300035 karma

Don't be silly... Canadians have the wrong skin color to be terrorists!

mdr-fqr87101 karma

I'm brown. Just like your cake.

neko58 karma

How much were spontaneous tickets?

mdr-fqr8759 karma

Within Europe, they were commonly around 100 to 200 euros. Sometimes some cities required trains or buses, which ranged from 2euros (bus) to about 20euros for a train. I'd try to keep my movements short to lesson the cash hit.

The flight out of North America was around $800.

asimovs_engineer23 karma

So, ballpark, how much did everything end up costing from Norway to Paris? Tickets, food, board, all of it.

mdr-fqr8743 karma

I'm someone that likes to do one major thing for each leg. Barcelona it was skydiving. Norway it was travel several hours up north. But if I had to put a general range for a normal traveller... $2,500/2 weeks.

Frajer44 karma

Do you ever worry that it's a fluke and one time you'll wind up in the bad part of town alone at night and be mugged or something?

mdr-fqr8754 karma

That's always a worry, but when you take that first step out of the airport, you're just thinking "lets hope this works". Key is looking for someone else with a backpack to ask them where they are staying. There was once I was in Girona, Spain and we arrived at the bus depot around 12pm. I didn't see anyone. Sat around for a while and didn't see ANY backpackers until about an hour or so later. Followed him to a hostel.

I also had a delayed flight and arrived in Paris around 12am. I've been there twice before but not at a hostel. Got in a fight with the cops, and just walked around nonstop (3+ hours). Eventually bumped into a Mexican Mariachi singer and ended up sleeping on a bench under the Eiffel tower.

mattdesl14 karma

Key is looking for someone else with a backpack to ask them where they are staying.

Dude, the least you could do is buy a travel book. Or use free WiFi (McDonalds, Starbucks, etc) and a site like to look for and book hostels.

I was almost homeless in Paris, as everything was booked by the time I got there. Though it worked out well; I ran into a friend and stayed in her mansion in Versailles. But after that I made sure to book hostels before reaching a major tourist city.

mdr-fqr8716 karma

Oh I used those. It is when you are not carrying a laptop, it is past midnight (unable to find a wifi connection) and there are no internet cafes open. THAT is when it makes it difficult to find a hostel.

krasneylev16 karma

he's done this once, to a few european towns, this isn't much of a record to go on, no offense mdr-fqr but as an accountant you should be better at appreciating the impact of your small sample size

mdr-fqr8715 karma


My whole life is strategies through odds. From life events, to figuring out what will be on exams... all odds. That's how I convinced myself to skydive actually. The person I was going tandem with had to do 2000+ jumps before he is allowed to jump with anyone. I took my chances.

oneyed34 karma

Good for you, I spent 12mths travelling solo through SE Asia Europe, Eastern Europe and middle East in the 90s unforgettable experiences. Best way to travel hands down. I wish we had smart phones and kindles back then though would have made things a lot easier. What's your favourite city so far? Best story of meeting and having out with locals?

mdr-fqr87101 karma

Favorite city is a mix between Barcelona and Rome. More because it has a wide range of things to see and do. But honestly, there's a different city for whatever mood you're up for.

I never spent much time with locals. I did couchsurfing twice, and that was awesome, but it was commonly a person I found that happened to move there from North America. It was more going out and exploring together with another person together. I'm blanking out on a good story.

EDIT: I do remember meeting this one girl at a hostel in Barcelona. I had woken up and walked into the common room and just yelled out "Anyone up for something today?". I still remember her turning around from the computer and responding with excitement.

Found out she had just started her 4 month solo tour and her family was worried. We went around to some of the museums and grabbed beers and just drank on the street learning about eachother. On the final day I was leaving, she was still asleep in the hostel. I knew she was somewhat sick and didn't want to wake her up. I needed to leave her a note and gift for thanking her for the awesome time she gave me.

I sat there writing and rewriting a letter to her. I wanted it to be worded perfectly... but I didn't think the letter would do the whole experience justice. I ran outside and went to a street seller. He made these awesome keychains out of metal strips which were bent to make your name. I went and grabbed one.

As I was leaving, I made it imperative that the front desk give her this envelope when she leaves. Days later, I got the most heartwarming message back. Apparently she had been having a hard time and thought she'd be travelling around the city herself while visiting tourist sites. She said I made her starting leg of the trip much more relaxed and was thanking me for making it a memorable first experience. She was worried about being away from family for so long, but the whole experience made her much more at ease.

Year's later, I've randomly gotten messages of her telling me she keeps the keychain with her and how she remembers the trip - despite it being a small few days of her 4 month adventure. All of these small stories makes the entire trip worth it.

andrewjamesmott27 karma

What has been your favourite moment whilst travelling?

mdr-fqr87121 karma

I guess every story has its own awesome ending or experience. There is never a 'go to' story.

A good one though is when in Pisa, I met these 3 guys from England. One had just stepped on a sting-ray and was flying back home the next day. "Hey mate, we have an extra room in our hotel in Florence. You can come".

These guys were hilarious. The Cheech and Chong of comedy, thrown in with British accents. So we take the train out there and end up going to this hostel that has a rooftop bar. We meet a ton of people, get drunk and we decide to hit up a bar across town.

We all party it up, but we literally all lost each other as we were leaving the bar. I'm fucked because I have no idea where or what our hotel was. So at 1am, I'm just roaming the streets drunk.

I ran up to a street cleaner (around Europe, they come out in droves at night) and ask him for a lift. So there I am, sitting shotgun in an Italian street cleaner as I have him go through his routes hoping I'd spot the hotel. Nothing.

I bail and keep walking around knowing I'm in the correct SIDE of town. I stumble onto the main street hoping I can hitch hike to somewhere. I'm drunk and I honestly have no idea what I'm doing. Here comes Ferrari. He stops, we have a conversation and he realizes I'm too drunk and goes off.

So it's about 3am I'd estimate and I'm still screwed. I have no idea where my backpack, hotel, or roommates are. I have no way to contact them, nor do I know their full names. So the only thing I can do is keep walking around until I find something that looks familiar.

It was literally a scene out of a movie, or set up so perfectly that it was staged. I was literally walking the corner at an intersection, and who do I accidentally bump into? The two fucking guys I was looking for. We literally all stop dead in our tracks and start cheering as if we'd just discovered the meaning of life. After some drunken spontanous "fucking hell mate", high fives and laughter all around, we keep walking and we literally had met a block away from the hotel.

rosesfadetoo23 karma

How'd you do it for money? I can't leave to the beach (2 hours away) without thinking about all that I'm gonna spend on gas and food.

I love your spirit though. I bet you have amazing stories to tell.

One more question, Do you ever get lonely traveling by yourself?

mdr-fqr8735 karma

Money? I held onto about $100 euros at all times in cash. Anytime I could pay for it with VISA, I would. (I'm not someone to leave balances on VISA... it is paid off at the end of every month)

In terms of financing the trip. It essentially was just having a reserve of cash built up (ie, saving) that if you took a big hit, you wouldn't care. I never necessarily saved up for the trip specifically.

EDIT: Never lonely. I love meeting people and that was half the reason I did this. It's awesome once you reach a hostel to just see if anyone is free to do anything (there is always someone or a group of people you can tag along with). When you are walking around yourself... that's the best time to just take it all in and relax. Trust me - you savor both moments.

mewte21 karma

im a fellow canadian and have 10 grand in the bank right now. could i pull this shit off?

mdr-fqr8722 karma

Easily. Take $7k, ignore that. With the $3k, you can easily do it and have plenty saved up for when you come back. (Obviously I don't know your living situation, but I'll assume).

If you want to be a bit more planned, leave from a major Canadian city and only commit to round trips under $800 taxes in (I've done Montreal to Paris for $614 taxes in). Anything above and I can easily tell you that you can find a better deal.

Just choose your landing point and go for it. If you want to just travel with a bit more assurance - find your landing point, figure out a hostel in that city and go from there. Once you reach the hostel, you can easily be guided to your next spot with the help of staff or others there.

twospirit2220 karma

What exactly is your job?

mdr-fqr8733 karma

I'm an accountant at one of the Big 4. January to June travelling is basically out of the question. Even then, booking a specific vacation isn't as easy since client work changes all the time. I was suppose to be on vacation as of this past Friday but it got moved to sometime this upcoming week... so spontaneous travelling just works out perfectly. I'm still 25 so its still around the age of being able to get out.

twospirit2216 karma

How, at 25, did you get this job?

mdr-fqr8738 karma

I've had this job since I was 22. It was coop/internship through university and just stuck with it. It is fairly common for people in the industry start it that way and at that age.

beetsbattlestar16 karma

Are you fluent in any of the languages of the countries you travel to? Is language a huge barrier when you travel this way?

mdr-fqr8718 karma

Not at all. I took French back in grade school and gave up since I hated it. This is what caused a major argument with the French cops when I attempted to speak broken French. Although English can get you by just well.

Zacharias369015 karma

I've hardly ever traveled (beach 4 hours away) and I don't know how you do it.

1) how much are the hostels you stay at?

2) what do you pack in your backpack

3) how did you know where to go once you got there? or did you just wander around until you met someone?

4) did you walk everywhere you went?

mdr-fqr8716 karma

1) Hostels commonly ranged around 15 to 30 euros a night. Cheapest is always the bunk bed rooms where you have about 8 or so people sleeping in the same room. If you meet someone and don't mind a bit more privacy, you can usually split a private room and it'll run about the same.

2) Clothes, sandals, all the necessary bathroom stuff (small shampoo bottle, tooth brush, toothpaste, deodrant, and stuff). I also had a smaller day-time bag. Because of pickpockets, I HIGHLY suggest this ( The only way they'd be able to get into the bag is by pulling on the draw strings, at which point you'll feel it. I kept all my electronics (camera, cellphone, chargers, memory cards, passport) in here and carried it at all times.

3) It was the awesome ability to just bump into people and follow along with them. Once you reach a hostel, they are fairly knowledgeable and can send you to various landmarks easily - that is what they are there for. For when I couldn't find a hostel... have a few coins in hand and hit up an internet cafe.

4) I walked almost everywhere within a city, unless it was a must-see attraction and then I'd convince myself to take the direct tourist bus. Local buses are 1-2 euros. Travelling between local towns, that would mean I was sleeping over at the new town and I'd commonly train. Other than that, it was back to the airport and off to the next location.

[deleted]13 karma

sounds like fun. i assume you're single? ever strike up a relationship while you were travelling?

what city would you say you feel the most familiar with, and how long did you stay there? as in, are there any cities you feel almost a native/resident of because of your travels and the things you've experienced?

also, did you ever encounter any shy or introvert-types doing what you were doing? sounds like a really cool experience - if you're outgoing.

it's kinda cool how you can just leave as you please when you have the time available, forgetting about all responsibilities for a while. jealous.

mdr-fqr8721 karma

I'm single. Most people call it the "girlfriend a city" type deal. It happens.

I'd commonly know generally how long I was travelling. For Paris, I arrived late at night, woke up, realized I had class the next day and flew home. I'm really good with figuring my way around a town even by just glacing for a minute at a map. I've been to Paris 3 times, but I find myself very familiar with Barcelona.

I more or less stay in a place until I'm bored of it. Pisa I was done in 10 minutes but stayed a night since I met this one female. Barcelona I stayed a few days because it was just so relaxing, tons to do and I did meet a bunch of people. I tend to move onto the next city when I either the people I'm hanging out with are moving on, or I'm bored of the city.

There were a few shy introvert people I met. Those people tend to really just be there to see the sites. They'd stay in during the evenings. Sometimes you'd strike up a decent conversation and convince them to go out for a drink. Since I can easily adapt to different types of people, I find it always interested to get into the mind of everyone, especially when they are the quiet type.

RetardedSquirrel13 karma

So I'm considering doing something just like that, but I feel the risk of getting lonely is pretty huge. Are you extroverted? Socially skilled? A party guy? How were the people who you met couchsurfing? How were the people you met at hostels? Sorry for the barrage of questions!

mdr-fqr8726 karma

I love meeting and talking to people. But to be dead honest, I find people can't hold a conversation and so I usually give up (when at home). I think most of my friends would peg me as the quiet shy guy in the group - but I think its because I've set my 'personality' for them and just go with it. If I all of a sudden started becoming that extroverted guy around them, it'd be weird for them. I commonly adapt to people and I guess you can say have a different personality around different groups of friends. (Odd, I know, but that's how it is).

Trust me - you WILL meet people at hostels. Do not go to hotels... strictly hostels and I'll guarentee you'll never be lonely. If you get there and there is no one - go out, see some of the random sites, and by evening, you'll see everyone back in the common area (also ask the staff and they can give you an idea of where people are at). "Hey, this is my first time travelling solo. I have no idea what I'm doing but do you mind if I tag along with you guys tonight?". Some hostels even make an effort to make sure everyone meets everyone.

It honestly came to a point when you leave a place - you really regret leaving those friends. There is a huge attachment to meeting people. But right around the corner at your next location, you'll meet tons more. Because of this - I've tended to keep in touch with almost everyone I've met.

Couchsurfing people are awesome. You get an idea of how people are just by reading the profile ( I tend to just stick with messaging females. Also check out the groups respective to each city and you can always find people looking for others.

Like I've said all over - the people at hostels are all in the same boat and if they are solo travelling - they will be open to hanging out. As much of an asshole thing as it is, I tend to commonly judge people based on looks (and I'd say I'm commonly correct), but if you can adapt to people, it is fun learning about their culture back home as it is exploring the new city together.

RetardedSquirrel7 karma

Well, the profiles tend to be written like they are all the most interesting persons in the world. I'm introverted and generally a bit shy, though I can be very social and extroverted if I'm comfortable in the situation (which isn't really often enough). My conversational skills are pretty weak. I'm a nerd after all! I also hate clubbing. I don't really feel like I'm the kind of person the CS people would like to meet. Honestly, they aren't the kind of person I prefer to hang out with either, not nerdy enough. Also, I have no references or anything. Hostels seem a bit more interesting and I bet they would have more people like me.

So what do you think, would it work out?

Edit: I've also considered student (aka cheap) travelling agencies which arrange cheap charter-esque trips with a lot of solo travellers. What do you think of those? They are way more expensive though.

mdr-fqr8711 karma

Screw those travel agencies. Do this.

Find a city you're interested in visited for the sites. Even if you don't find someone, you'll have things to keep yourself occupied - but I will guarentee you'll meet people at the hostel. I've found MANY introverted people that just want to stay in and read a book or only do things during the day. Sometimes a group of us can convince them to come out, sometimes it's fine and we let them be. But know this - during the day, if there is someone we know that would be very introverted but asks to tag along, they are more than welcome to. I don't think I've ever seen a person say no.

I'd actually really love to hear back if you take this one and hear how your experiences are. Trust me - there are tons of introverted people travelling that just want to do the basic day time stuff and take it easy in the evening. Find someone you enjoy travelling, adjust your plans (trains and hostels are easy to cancel) and travel a few cities with them.

dorfydorf9 karma

don't think anyone else has asked. When you say you met people when you got there, do you mean like people you knew (as in Norway), or just other solo travelers. If the latter, how did you know who to talk to, or did you just try everybody?

mdr-fqr8726 karma

Other solo travellers.

When I left Norway, I got to Pisa, Italy. Outside the airport was a busstop and there was another female waiting there. I struck up a conversation with her, found out she was going to a hostel so I tagged along with her.

That night, she was staying in to rest up, and I met 3 guys at the front door of the hostel who invited me out for drinks and food. They then invited me to Florence. When I left Florence (they went to Rome), I headed back to the airport and went directly to Girona, Spain.

At the bus depot when I landed, I met a guy from Italy and went to the hostel he was staying at. He had a map on his computer, and filmed the route with the video camera on his phone. He kept having to replay the video over and over until we navigated the small narrow streets until we got to the location.

In the morning, I left, and headed to (where I thought was Barcelona) and as I reached this town I mistakeningly went to, I met 2 younger guys who invited me to stay at their parent's villa. Went skydiving and then went back to Barcelona. Met a ton of people in the hostel and out at the beach. As they all left for their next location, I met another person for coffee before he helped guide me to the correct subway stop. Said my byes to him, went down to wait for the train and there I met this person my age who guided me all the way to the airport terminal. When I was waiting around the terminal, he even found me to make sure I was getting on the right flight to Paris. It all just worked out really well.

gerryt327 karma

Did you go to Waterloo? Co-op, accounting, from Ontario, sounds a lot like myself. Are you me?

mdr-fqr874 karma

I am your parallel life, years before, while at uOttawa. Graduated now.

Zinderhaven6 karma

Having never left North America, I don't really know how the process works, but do you need to get some sort of visa or something to travel to other countries?

mdr-fqr878 karma

Canadians have the awesome priveledge of just needing a basic visa. I think for Americans it is the same, but slight restrictions on certain countries.

When you travel over borders in Europe, it is usually just a quick glance and you're on. If you were to go to Asia or something, it may involve a bit more paperwork. Maybe someone can fill in. All I know is I had a visa passport, bought a ticket and everything worked out.

EDIT: Meant passport.

Bran_Solo6 karma

What was your favorite city so far? Favorite stop off the beaten path?

This is kinda like how my girlfriend and I travel. We book a flight into one city, a flight out of another, and we make it a challenge to just figure it out.

So far we've seen London, Paris, Venice, Florence, Rome, Geneva, Amsterdam, Brugge, Antwerp, Luxembourg, Köln, Frankfurt, Taipei, Luodong, Yuanli, Burgas, Budapest, Krakow... I think that's it?

mdr-fqr876 karma

For overall fun - I'd say Barcelona. I really liked Rome (different trip) for the sites to see. I'm usually more a person that just wants to enjoy other people's company and couldn't care what I did other than explore.

Favorite stop off the beaten path was most likely Empuriabrava (Bay of Roses) about 100km from Barcelona (got there by standing on the wrong side of the train tracks). The little town's streets are entirely water and you drive your boat up to your house. I ended up skydiving there.

bowe53305 karma

Did you go to Laurier?

mdr-fqr877 karma

uOttawa. Hated it. (I'm sure if anyone I know reads this, they'll instantly know it is me).

flargenhargen3 karma

You should look into a career that offers travel. I did a very similar thing for my job. They would send me all around to spend a week or so working in these great cities, all expenses paid. Was wonderful to see so much.

mdr-fqr878 karma

My job does. Getting thrown in the drunk tank on business travel is another thing.

think_happy_thoughts3 karma

What are the "must haves" for traveling like this? You seem to need a very gregarious personality, as you must have because you're downright charming, and a little bit of money, but what else?

mdr-fqr876 karma

Honestly, as long as your adventurous and are willing to just have a free-spirited and care free attitude, everything falls into place. Just pack your backpack with enough clothes for a few days, sandals, one or two fancy clothes, and at least one credit card - you're good to go. Hostel common rooms are the key place to go. You'll meet people travelling sometimes as long as a year or so who will guide you on where to go or even head out with you.

In Europoean countries at least, hostels are fairly easy to find. If you have some change, you can jump into an internet cafe (TONS of them in Europe) and you can easily find something quick. Central America may even be very similar with the whole set up of internet cafes and hostels nearby the major attractions.

DingoDance2 karma

How do you have the money to do these trips?

mdr-fqr875 karma

I hate boasting about these things, but when people give the run around on the "taboo questions", no one ever learns.

I lived at home for university. Mind you, I paid for everything myself, put myself through university, purchased my own car, paid my own insurance, gas, etc and even bought myself a new condo recently. It essentially all comes down to budgeting. I helped a few friends graduate through university debt free. I love investing and that somewhat has helped although it is easily doable for anyone.

pottergirl272 karma

What is the best place you've been to? Where did you meet the nicest/most hospitable people?

mdr-fqr8713 karma

I enjoyed them all for the mood I was in. Partying mood? Goa, India or Barcelona. Modern culture? Paris. Ancient culture? Rome.

I think the best place was probably Rome. You could spend more than a half hour getting gelato by just talking to the store owner and shooting the shit. Happened a few times.

[deleted]2 karma

Just booked a flight to europe, had the optino of doing this.. Does it save you alot of money?

mdr-fqr875 karma

More than likely, no. It does get fairly expensive since you can get cheaper flights if you book it all in advance or watch for sales. I just unfortunately don't have the opportunity with my job to know that well in advance.