I am a 20-year-old student currently studying in Leeds. Funds are unfortunately few are far between, and as a second year student entering my final year of university - much to my dismay - work is stacking up and the pressure is starting to set in. I want to be able to look back on my university years and think, "yes, I did make the most of it", but how?
The answer is simple: InterRailing.
What I do have is a lot of free time. I am absolutely desperate to get out in the world having had a sneak peak of South East Asia on my gap year (how unusual); I'm now itching to try new places, new cultures and above all different climates (I am taking a stand against English weather).
There is no better time to do these things then the university years, still minimal responsibilities and little to worry about - the career panic can come later. I plan to travel through as much of Europe as I can manage through university. After I finish university I plan to head West, hopefully road tripping through America where I will continue on to South America - I am keen to visit Brazil. I then plan on ending up visiting New Zealand and then finally touching down in Australia. These are the big long term plans but it's better to concentrate on the present - Europe.
Me in Thailand on my gap year
Realistically my four months off over the summer period needs to be spent in a 9-5 job, though one day it dawned on me - although I cannot go to the other side of the world I can work hard in those three months to move from the overdraft to potentially a healthy bank balance. This will enable me enough funds for an InterRailing trip.
As affordable and as flexible as I choose it to be, I can to cover various countries, possibly as many as I want throughout Europe on a reasonable budget. It's an adventure. The amazing thing about an InterRailing trip is that you can cater this trip however you want to, whether the nightlife takes me by storm or the coastline and picturesque scenery make your knees go weak, there is something for everyone.
But where do I go in Europe? For me, the difficulty is trying to think logically and attempting not to include every of the 50 countries in Europe.
I'm looking forward to diving into the deep!
I plan to start in the Netherlands where of course it has to be the infamous Amsterdam. This hopefully will lead me to Germany, Berlin potentially being the place of choice. Moving through the Czech Republic passing through Prague to Hungary, hitting Budapest.
Passing through Western Europe I believe I will spend the majority of my journey in the East, on the basis that the East is generally cheaper and somewhere I have never adventured to. I have always wanted to head to Bosnia and Herzegovina; after reading various books about the Bosnian war I am fascinated, so that was my country of choice.
My InterRailing partner (ie, my university housemate) chose Montenegro, so to the East it was. From here I plan to go Romania, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Notice I am saying plan; these are merely my idea of where I ideally want to visit.
My time limit of a month is potentially the only thing for me that will be inflexible, so I may have to put money aside before leaving and maybe get a cheap flight on the way home, which could be my biggest expensive of the holiday, hence why I am putting the money aside.
I have until August to finalise details of my trip. The amazing thing with InterRailing is that booking or planning isn't essential, although for me I know I would prefer a rough idea of where I am going with an outline of a plan.
Over my few next blogs I will be looking at certain aspects of those who plan on an InterRailing trip for their first time looking at tips ands tricks along with possible tickets and expeditions, as it is my first time to, advice from those who have been would be amazing.
It's a great start especially for those who want to move further a field in the future with travelling, a way of learning to look after yourself and gaining life experience while having the time of your life meeting locals, experiencing new cultures and embracing the freedom of making this trip your own. I guarantee this will beat any holiday to Magaluf, Kavos or Ayia Napa.