Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Traveling 'Solo'

You know that feeling you get when the thing you want most in the world is to just get away and travel the world? To see new places, to meet new people and to breathe different air?
That's me.

My friends on the other hand, couldn't be further away from my feelings. Traveling with friends can be an amazing time, but what happens when your friends are the kind of people who make excuses, who "wish they could come" but there's no time, or money, or blah blah blah.

Yeah, that's where I've been for the progression of my life. I set my goals and dreams aside for awhile, waiting for someone to be available to travel with me, but it was always the same excuses.
I almost roped one of my friends into a trip for next year, but she backed out when she realized her anniversary was during the trip... What?

I changed my mind finally and decided I wasn't going to wait anymore. After my first trip to Europe after high school, it took me 5 years to go back. No way was I going to do that again.
Who says you can't make friends along the way?

It's hard when you and your friends don't have the same priorities in mind, but in the end, people drift apart and they do what they want.
My friends, if they are my friends, will still be here whenever I get back from an excursion and I can meet new friends to hopefully travel with in the future.

I think I've made it my mission to take a trip every year, which for me, isn't quite enough but I'll take what my budget can get me.
This year, I went back to Europe with a travel group, which was a great way to see new laces and meet new people like me. Next year will be Thailand, with the same company, but different group. A few other scattered trips here and there within the States between then but all in all, I don't mind that kind of life right now.

I'm waiting till I can really get out of here for awhile, make a plan and go with it.
I've been looking into volunteering or working abroad for a bit, so we'll see where that gets me.
Going alone, without friends though, doesn't scare me at all. This is my life and I'm going to do what I want, just like they are.
If they don't want to come, I'm going to pack my bags and go without them. I love the world and I'm going to see as much of it as I can in my lifetime.

If you're looking into a travel group, either traveling solo or with friends, make sure to check out EF College Break. If you have any questions, don't be shy, just ask!

Cheers and safe travels!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Switzerland and Mt. Pilatus

Switzerland has to be one of my favorite places I've been so far. It's so gorgeous, green and full of fresh mountain air.
Sometimes I can't believe I've even been there!
On my most recent trip to Europe with EF College Break, I had the opportunity to travel to Lucerne (which was one of our major stops). We actually stayed in Engelberg (here), which is about a 40 minute drive from the city of Lucerne.

Engelberg itself was a sight! Beautifully stationed in a mountain valley, we were able to hike around to view points to see the whole town, which was lovely! It being the spring season, it was a bit rainy and not very many people were in town during this time, which actually made it more pleasant in my book.

We got to meet Swiss cows and we eventually got to have dinner, which we chose a nice place where we could apparently only order pizza (since we arrived so late). Of course, I still got wine and my pizza was very good.

The next day, we started off by driving to Kreins where we hopped on gondolas to hoist us up the mountain side, to where the end would be the top of Mt. Pilatus.
The gondolas, a bit different from what you may be thinking of from Venice, are a bit sketchy, especially trekking up the side of a foggy mountain.

At the halfway point up the mountain, we were able to hop off and enjoy a ropes course they had there, fit with obstacles and multiple zip lines! This was probably my favorite thing we did on the trip, because it was so awesome to be able to say I've gone zip lining on a mountain in Switzerland!
We took about an hour or so to do this and while it did cost almost 30 extra euros to do, it was so worth it!

Onwards and upwards! We finally made it to the top and after much anxiety over timing, we got to eat a lovely cafeteria style lunch and take pictures from a great viewpoint there. It did not fall short of amazing and being on top of a Swiss mountain is probably one of the best feelings I've come across.

From the top, we took a cog wheel train to the bottom.

A bit steep, but we made it down in one piece, getting a glimpse of a little mountain goat on our way down as well!
At the bottom, we made our way to the boat we would take next (yes quite a journey on this day) which would take us around the lake and to Lucerne.

Once we made it to the city, everyone was ready to go and explore. There were places to get swiss army knives, clocks and watches, we fancied venturing to a nearby Swiss chocolate shop, which was delicious!
We also got a short tour and wandered to see the sights on our own for a bit.

If you didn't know this about Lucerne or maybe Switzerland in general (not entirely sure), they seem to have a lot of swans there! Swimming and lazing around by the edges where people are.
(Pictured above) The kettle bridge was a nice place to go across and we got to see old architecture mixed in with the new.

More walking led us to our bus that took our tired group back to our hostel. We had wanted to try some famous traditional fondue, but apparently that is only a thing they do in the winter sadly, so we missed out. We did however eat at a really amazing restaurant (I got their special lamb and orzo pasta, yum! Here.) We also tried to head out to a bar that night where we thought they were having a festival celebration for summer solstice, but it wasn't entirely busy and we ended up leaving, although it was a good time while it lasted!

I wouldn't have traded this trip for the world. It was entirely different than what I expected, in so many ways, but it was also exactly what I needed.
I made new friends, made a lot of memories, and got to travel to some pretty cool places.
I'm always ready for my next adventure and I already have a few in mind!

More posts to come, just have to venture out to make more!
Cheer and safe travels everyone!