On Tuesday, 13 June, 2000, I boarded a plane for Paris to spend two+ months backpacking through Europe. I just graduated from university days before. I knew I wouldn't have a chance or the time to take a trip like this again, so off I went.
- I bought my plane ticket plenty of months ahead of time to save money
- I cut my hair super short since I knew I wouldn't get another cut for 2+ months. Although, having your hair cut in a foreign country would be a fun adventure.
- I reserved my first few nights in Lisbon before I left. HINT: If you are going to book your hotels/hostels while you are traveling, reserve your first few nights before you leave so that you have the peace of mind. When you land in Europe, you will be jet-lagged, frustrated, confused, excited, etc. Having to worry about a place to stay would be too much stress.
- I let my credit card companies and bank know I was going to be in Europe so they wouldn't think my cards has been stolen. HINT: I wish I would have gotten some Portuguese money before I left. The ATMs at the Lisbon airport were confusing and didn't want to work. I figured it out, but I was worried for a minute my ATM card wasn't going to work.
- I researched and bought a backpack that worked for me.
- I bought TWO pairs of shoes... a nice pair of gym shoes and a pair of TEVA sandals.
- Researched my itinerary. Here are a few thoughts about my route:
- Since I was traveling in the summer and wanted to travel through hot southern Europe, I knew I should start there first to avoid as much of the heat as possible.
- I flew to Paris, then to Lisbon. The Paris flight was round-trip. The Lisbon flight was one-way. That way I could take advantage of a reduced round-trip airplane ticket.
- I planned every day of my route. I figured it would be best since I was traveling alone and I could give the route to my parents. (However, this ended up changing during the trip as you will read in later blog posts.)
ON PLANE TO PARIS:
- Saw an Irish friend of my ex board the plane after I was already seated. I was sitting in an aisle seat and looked away so she wouldn't see me. It would have been awkward if she saw me because of a rather embarrassing situation that happened a few days earlier involving her and my ex. I actually never saw her again.
- I sat next to some foreign guy. I think maybe he was Indian or Pakistani. (I wrote this in my journal for some reason. I don't know why it was important enough to make a note of because after 10 years I don't remember the man at all.)
- An American guy that looked like Steve Martin was sitting across the aisle from me.
- The movie screen periodically showed a map of where the plan was. This is the first time I had seen anything like this on a plane ride and I was fascinated.
- This was an Air France plane and during the flight they showed a "seat exercise" video with racially diverse actors in various national costumes.