Rachel’s Caravan Travel Adventures
In this blog post, I would like to mention some stories that happened while on the road and experiences I have encountered over my years of travel, so you can know little bit more about me. I will call it a Been There, Done That Guide of Rachel (catchy, eh?) Maybe it sounds a bit like I’m bragging (which I secretly am), but being on the go is always inspiring – for us travel souls – so this is my attempt to feed your wanderlust!
Travel Confessions from Rachel’s Caravan
As a beginning point to my travel lust, I have to mention my first trip abroad at the age of 17. Going solo in Germany was a crucial experience for me. Although I was visiting family friends, I was quite nervous, but excited! It also marked my first plane ride ever! – I was so thrilled! From then on, I have travelled infinite times around my country (Greece) and started travelling abroad as well. I have travelled solo, with friends & with my long-term boyfriend, John and discovered the value of people, but also the challenge of loneliness. Additionally, I have embraced frugal travel in all its terms; obviously I am not rich, so I made travel my priority. 6 years later, here I am with:
– 15 European countries explored
– The ultimate experience of living abroad
– Good friends from all over the world
– Tips of how travel can be achieved even with a small (or zero at times) budget!
The Been There – Done That Traveller | Or my Travel Storytelling
Every traveller has some kind of milestones; adventures, misfortunes, places, people or precious moments we collect. Rachel’s Caravan milestones are:
Have Lived in Lithuania for 5 months
It is thought that it is one thing to visit a place and another to actually live there. I couldn’t agree more. Being an Erasmus student in Lithuania, was undoubtedly one of the best experiences in my life. Not only I got the chance to explore a country so beautiful – but so widely misunderstood, but I managed to find unique friends with whom I still keep very much in touch.
Have travelled solo for 24 h without prior bookings between 3 countries and without speaking the languages
Remember the time when you were young & stupid enough to care about how you’re going back home? That was my case when I had to return to Vilnius from Budapest. Alone. After I caught a pricey last minute morning train to Warsaw (via Bratislava), I ended up in Zachodnia station by luck (didn’t know where to get off), trying to get info how to get to Vilnius almost in sign language (Some Polish seem to hate English). Luckily, a few hours later I managed to find the bus, paid the driver (Thankgod I had already had some zlotys on me) and relaxed on my – not so comfy – overnight bus to Vilnius! Et voila, next morning I was there! All alive and exhausted.
As a frugal traveler, I welcome anything that comes with a cheaper (or no) price. Although, I kept pronounce it wrong for years (how embarrassing!), I have tried it solo a few times and have had only positive experiences to share. However, to be honest, I have only tried hh in my country and for relatively short distances, but hopefully I’ll give it a try when abroad again.
Have spent The New Year’s in a secluded house inside the Bavarian forest.
Maybe it sounds like a horror story, but it was absolutely amazing! Snow-white tall trees, interesting people from many different countries, long talks near the fire, gluhwein (non-alcoholic for me!), delicious ethnic recipes, skiing and canyon exploration can pretty much summarize my time there.
Have been unlucky with the weather while travelling
This category combines two experiences actually: Travelling in -30 c temperatures and my long bus rides in the middle of a snowstorm. Winter in the Baltics is no fun, especially if you stroll around Riga in freezing temperatures. On the other hand, the weather in the Balkans can be tricky at times, too: captured (twice) on my way to Bulgaria & Romania between a blizzard – Not cool at all!
Have being thought of a shoplifter
Not the best of an experience, but definitely a memorable one! I was waiting in the queue on a mini market right in the centre of Vilnius, Lithuania, when two odd-looking guys entered. I was last in queue, so I was minding my own business, as they were checking around for goods. The shop owner realized there was something off with them, when they started to empty the (chocolate candy!) shelves. She started yelling in Lithuanian and all of us customers were looking in shock. As they made it to the exit, the fight between the owner and the shoplifters was intense, with the first rushing from behind the cashier to reach them, only to . . . . . grab me by the arm and keep yelling at them! I looked at her in complete shock! She had thought I was part of their gang (probably because I was last in queue and relatively close to them)! When I managed to pull myself together, I furiously explained her in English that I didn’t know them, nor I spoke Lithuanian. Unfortunately, she didn’t speak English! However, my desperate sign gestures, along with the shoplifters’ sayings (I’m assuming they said they didn’t know me as well) got her to leave my arm and start apologizing. By that time the shoplifters had already vanished, with the rest of us left in a “What the hell did just happen?” mood.
Have met famous people on the road
Ok, so just one, but it still counts, since the person was Greece’s most famous chef, Akis Petretzikis. Have you had tea with a celebrity in Paris?
Have peed in public
Probably the funniest and most embarrassing thing I have done. Well, sometimes nature’s call finds you in unexpected places; I’ve peed in alleys, roads, parks and oddly enough inside one of Paris’ cemeteries – I know it was disrespectful and I am not particularly proud of it, but what could I do?
Have travelled with a stuffed teddy (in shape of a mushroom)
You got to love your friends, no matter how weird they get, right? Due to a bet, my Portuguese friend Ricardo carried this toy everywhere. Seriously, everywhere. As it turned out, travelling with a stuffed mushroom is definitely a hilarious experience! [Check my previous image].
Have celebrated birthdays in Rome & Vilnius
I am one of those people who LOVE to celebrate their birthdays and I consider myself very lucky that I have people in my life, who made my birthdays special. From a rose in the Spanish Steps and fancy Italian dinner to Limo parties, surprise birthday cakes and a princess crown… Thank you!
Have Partied Hard
Carnival in Torres Vedras, Halloween in Prague and Bucharest, summertime in Mykonos? Yeah, I’ve found myself around party places, I have to admit. I love serenity and peace in new places, but on the other hand I am a firm believer that you can’t REALLY ‘feel’ a place, unless you have experience it in nighttime. Crowded venues, loud music, sweaty dancers, tons of alcohol and the smell of vomit. Youth wilderness, I guess. Also, have you ever been to a trance club at 10 am? Hilarious experience!
Have drunk A LOT of beers on the road
(Way to set a good example, Rachel.)
Subsequently, from above. No, I don’t keep count, but hell that has to be a big number. I confess, I am a HUGE beer fan. And I love exploring a new country by taste. Beer taste, that is. My favorite kinds are ales and ipas and I am always in search for the best bottle of infamous microbreweries.
Now that you read some of my most significant (and crazy!) travel stories, let me know about your experiences! What are your travel milestones?
Adventure is the best way to learn.