Here concludes three and a half months, sixteen weeks, or one hundred and twelve days of backpacking through sixteen countries, or thirty four cities in Europe. The birthrighters were driven across the continent by one hundred and twenty five wonderful lifts. We stayed with twenty three couchsurfing hosts, one HelpX host, eight friends, and one hitchhiking lift.
I am so grateful to all of the amazingly generous and phenomenal people who made our trip possible. To every person who stopped to offer us a ride, everyone who drove us any distance, even anyone who smiled or waved at us as they passed, and especially to the many who drove us out of their way. To all of the people who opened their doors to us and made us feel at home, those who fed us wonderful and nutritious (…or otherwise) food (and loads of tea!), and to everyone who filled their cities with life and spectacular experiences. I am so grateful for every thing that was shared with, given to, and taught to me by the extraordinary individuals populating this incredible planet.
Sadly I can never pay it back. But I am convinced my impression of the vast kindness of people will affect me for the rest of my life. I aspire to live as generously as I have been treated in these past months. I hope that my simple interactions, even with people I’ll never meet again, will be of a significance that inspires others to live with vivacity. I have been absolutely filled with wonder at this strange and beautiful life.
And to my amazing co-travelers – it’s been birthrighteous*. Our journey has been pretty damn epic. Crossing borders by foot; hitchhiking for months without being raped, killed, molested, or sex-trafficked (take that, Bembridge scholars!); dancing on Polish highways; climbing (every) mountain; stealth camping in Bruges; and loads of other legendary situations. Way to be awesome. Really. I cherish all of our adventures together, and I love you two immensely. Thanks for the memories.
I’d also like to thank the continent of Europe for providing our itinerary; the UK and Ireland for not being part of the Schengen agreement; the campers, taxi, coach, bus, 1930s-1950s cars, semi trucks, most-of-the-rainbow-excluding-purple cars, and Tim: provider of puppies, specifically, for giving us lifts; Ikea for providing cheap food, free wi-fi, and free bathrooms; Lidl for being our go-to grocery store; Vinze for being completely awesome, British Airways for being the best airline ever; God for creating a beautiful world and incredible people, Eddie Rabbitt for ‘I Love a Rainy Night’; Doc Martens for designing exceptional boots for all occasions; couchsurfing and hitchhiking for making this trip financially possible and experientially awesome; and Tidna for inspiring us. And finally to our ancestors, without whom we wouldn’t have had this adventure.
*’birthrighteous’ ™ JMK 2012
“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”