“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine
I’ve been hooked on travel since I was a student and spent four months “bumming” around Europe on a Eurail pass and $4 a day! $4 a day, and that included meals, lodging, entertainment, admissions and even TIME magazine!
I grant you I stayed in some “interesting” places. Frequently I just slept on the train to save money. My Eurail pass was First Class back in the day when they had individual compartments. As a student I always wanted to meet and get to know Europeans, as did most of the other American student tourists. Sometimes everyone would be sitting quietly in the compartment, all of us figuring no one else spoke English, until the conductor arrived and everyone whipped out their Eurail passes. Disappointment! But there were other times when I’d be alone in a compartment with a family of five with no one but me speaking English. By the time we reached our destination they had fed me,and we knew all about each others lives and families.
As for spending the night on the train … sometimes just hopping on a train and where ever it ended up the next morning, that’s where I was going … being smart Americans we soon figured out how to get an uninterrupted nights sleep. The compartments were designed for six people, but you could pull out the seats to make a bed. So the strategy was … and every American student regardless of sex understood this … get in a compartment with a single American girl, or guy … pull out the seats, pull down the blinds, and likely as not most people looking for a seat would open the door, see a couple “sleeping” and not disturb you.
The next year I went back, working my way across the Pond on a Dutch Student Travel ship as a member of the cruise staff, and prices had gone up … $5 a day!
Every time I sit down at a cafe in Paris or Portofino, or buy a coffee in Copenhagen, for about $20 US a cup, I know that the Europeans are getting their revenge.
Travel has been more valuable to me than all the books, degrees, and sitting in classes ad nauseum and has really made me a citizen of the world. That citizenship has been enhanced working on cruise ships where I work with folks from 30-35 different nationalities, different colors, languages, life experiences, religions … all of us living, working and playing together in harmony.