After meeting up with two other friends in Rome, five of us set
off by ferry to spend the second half of our spring break in Greece.
Having come full circle on that little journey, I think I might
finally be able to make some reflections on the overdone concept
of the American backpacker in Europe.
It seems that
the first maxim of student traveling is that you absolutely must
check any previous conceptions of comfort or hygiene at the border.
Perhaps we’ve been slightly spoiled by traveling with our
parents all these years, but I’m willing to argue that the
simpler, albeit less predictable, route is the way to go.
start with sleeping arrangements for example. In the states, we
take it for granted that wherever we sleep there will be a bed,
towels, sheets, maybe even a bathroom—all unnecessary. Here,
I find it completely normal to sleep fully clothed and stacked like
books with five other people in a closet-sized train cabin. Sleeping
below an Italian businessman wiping his armpits down with moist
towlettes, and waking up to a flashlight in my face from the border
guards as they check to see if the R. Boosh (as I am now accustomed
to hearing it pronounced) is of any relation to their “favorite”
American President, are just part of the overall experience.