on the couch

We’re not those kids sittin’ on the couch – Moldy Peaches

Over the last few weeks, I have been doing a lot of research into possible travel I want to do in the next 8 or so months. I’ve considered Angola, India, Madagascar, La Reunion, Spain, Greece, Mongolia, Russia, Jordan, Israel, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, New Zealand, Canada, Egypt, Georgia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, most of central Europe, Japan, South America, South Korea, Yemen, Greenland, and of course Iceland.

And yet at the moment I’m hitting roadblocks every where I turn. Don’t get me wrong, I love Europevery much but it’s safe. I want one or two weeks of somewhere less familiar. I want to see Himalayan lakes and African rainforests all of a sudden which I never have before.

But it wouldn’t work. The reasons are varied*, yet I keep forgetting that while going to India for a month long journey is a beautiful notion and a possibility for many people, I’m an inexperienced, relatively penniless, 18-year-old girl. Remembering how young I am made me feel less guilty about looking forward to spending four weeks on a train travelling across beautiful Europe.

I can’t wait to get on a train with my very good friend Lola who I feel extremely happy and comfortable with, opening a thermos of tea, watching central Europe flow on, reading fascinating books of enchantment and history, exploring quirky stores, imposing museums, beautiful ruins…

And other than that, I can see myself doing a work camp or two within Europe, hopefully visiting Iceland, and maybe volunteering at some music festivals with Oxfam!

And even though the cloud forest of Costa Rica is still somewhere in the back of my mind, I know now is not the time. I have decades left to travel. No need to rush it; I’d rather wait two years than have a crappy experience.

Bring on Europe!


* If you’re really interested…

– Though I’m very emotionally connected to it, I don’t want to go to Latin America before I have mastered Spanish and Portuguese

– I don’t want to go to India before I have more experience travelling, as I’m quite intimidated by it

– I don’t want to travel somewhere very unfamiliar for the first time on my own, though I can see myself doing it in a few years when I have more experience, and nobody I’ve spoken to has the interest or means to go further than, say, Greece

– a lot of the places I want to see are pretty unsafe for inexperienced white female foreigners (places like Yemen, Angola, Colombia, Mexico and Madagascar)

– a crucial point: I HAVE NO MONEY. The fact that this gap year was unplanned means that unlike all my fellow gap yearers, I did not spend the last one or two years saving for The Big Trip. Instead, I’m sitting in the middle of a recession hoping to get a job

– if I travel alone, as I did in the summer to Iceland, I don’t want to go without structure. That means either a guided tour (which seems repulsively touristy to me) or a volunteering placement which, apart from being overpriced, I am sceptical about as I am very wary of being a voluntourist.

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