Three Fab Travel Trips Explained
Backpacking The EU and US - My most recent trip was a three month journey across 11 european/uk countries and six US cities and one highly renowned holiday destination in Mexico. On a modest budget myself and two friends travelled through Europe by trains, planes and boats before heading to the US to continue the journey with two more friends. What was most particular to this trip, that was different from any other I’ve ever done, was that we stayed in hostels (which at the time was due to expenses more than anything else). We ate and transported ourselves as cost effectively as possible, which meant more overnight trains than many people can handle, and visiting as many sites in a day as could be physically expected given our exhausting itinerary.
The unexpected gains from this budget conscious trip were much more rewarding than I could ever have anticipated. While staying in hostels was in all honestly a choice made to save as much money as possible in order to travel in Europe for the longest time we could, we learned the value of a good hostel and the friendships that can be made by putting yourself out there and meeting people, who, just like yourselves have a strong desire to see and understand the world. We learned the importance of pushing through the exhaustion, of stepping out of your comfort zone, of being honest about your thoughts and personal goals for your trip. Not only did we gain an incredible holiday full of memories that we will cherish forever, but we’ve become smarter, more confident travellers, with hopefully a more open minded and conscious view of the world outside our backdoor.
Italian Pilgrimage - This trip was the four weeks I spent in Lipari, a small volcanic island off the coast of Sicily. This trip was unique in itself because I went to see my family and where I come from. While I was born in Australia, my grandfather was born in Lipari and many of his family traditions are still present in my life and in my family's practises. We still make our own pasta sauce, our own salami and home-made pasta dishes. Occassionally we have family from Lipari come to visit us here in Melbourne so to have been given the opportunity to stay in Lipari with my somewhat estranged family and see where my grandfather came from was something I’d always wanted to do and an opportunity that I could not turn down. My mother and two sisters had all decided that we would go to Italy together, my mother’s first ever time to Italy and expectedly, an emotion trip. My grandfather had passed away a few years back and my mother would be seeing where he came from for the first time. As fate would have it, my exams were scheduled so that I would not be able to go to Italy with my other siblings and my mother who had planned to visit Venice and Verona before heading to the south of Italy for the extended part of their trip. I was to travel overseas for the first time solo. It was a nerve wracking experience but an exhilarating one as well when I remember worrying about where to go after arriving at the stop-over in Qatar and finding my way successfully. I remember meeting the young man sitting next to me on the airplane who just so happened to be going into Rome Termini and trying to decide whether he was trustworthy enough to leave my bags with when I went to the bathroom at the Leonardo Da Vinci Airport. Finding the correct overnight train from Rome to Milazzo, and trying to converse with the elderly Italian lady staying in my compartment with my incoherent Italian and her obscure hand gestures were some of the most uncertain and anxious moments of my travel experience to date. But working through all the uncertainty and succeeding to arrive at my destination were also some of my proudest moments. The during that trip we explored the local islands, visited the sites of Lipari, but most of all we spent our days eating good food with a table full of relations, half of which I’d never met before and using our unique combination of broken English and broken dialect to communicate, joke and enjoy ourselves. On our return to Rome, which was where our flight to Melbourne was to depart from, my sister and I found ourselves leisurely exploring some of Rome’s most famous sites and living out the lazy lifestyle that we had picked up in Lipari (in which afternoon siestas were mandatory). We enjoyed good food, met interesting locals (one of whom tried to arrange a marriage with myself the following morning at St Peter’s Cathedral - I politely declined), and simply observed and interacted with the intriguing Roman culture. I guess this is what one does when they travel but I suppose without the time restriction of a set itinerary and the guilt of not seeing everything, I felt as though I was getting to know Rome in a different way to how I did the first time I visited the ancient city on a school trip. Perhaps in a more intimate and emotional way as I often think that living in Rome would be my only foreseeable alternative to staying in Melbourne, a city I love very dearly.
The Leisures of an Island Holiday - My third most recent trip would have to be the nine or ten day trip my sister and I spent in Fiji at a five star resort on the country’s most expensive and exclusive holiday island, Denarau. It can only be described, guiltily, as my laziest holiday yet. One where I spent most hours in the day either sleeping or lying by the pool/beach. My holiday routine consisted of waking for the buffet breakfast, eating extraordinary amounts of more kinds of food that I could imagine (it was like a breakfast wonderland), going back to a beautifully wooden furnished bedroom (where the beds had already been made since leaving for breakfast) and getting ready for another luxurious day by the beach or pool, whichever way my mood led me. Dinner at the hotel restaurants were delicious but costly, and sadly tended to take quite some time to dish up, but the atmosphere, along with the quality of the food (once it had arrived) was more than enough to make you forget the lengthy hunger pains you’d felt, and the dent in your wallet. Overall this holiday was a journey through self-indulgence more so than gaining any sort of worldy insight. The truth is that I embarked on this holiday with only that notion in tow along with some sunscreen and small articles of clothing. I had only the intention of relaxing and rejuvenating, and that is what some holidays are for. Some journeys are for exploring places and cultures, while are other are about exploring how many ways you can effectively achieve maximum relaxation. Assessing this holiday with that particular notion at hand, I believe that my holiday to Fiji was a successful exercise in the latter.