Traveling the world was what I was most looking forward to before coming to Spain. I had a list of countries and locations that I had in my mind using recommendations given to me from friends and family. So far, my travels have taken me to Italy, France, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Hungary and many different cities in Spain. Many of my expectations for traveling were exceeded, however some also fell short. Here I would like to give an outline of the pros and cons of traveling while abroad.
The first feature that always seemed to impress me was the food. Food was much more of a tourist attraction to cities than I thought it would be as I mostly received recommendations for restaurants rather than activities. Not only was the food good, but there were many restaurants that also have amazing atmospheres, such as the gelato shop I went to in Italy that allows you to eat on swings hanging in the restaurant. The next pro I would like to discuss are the nature attractions that Europe has to offer. While the cities are amazing, I found some of my trips turning into just museums and touristy activities. I was ready for something different. One of my roommates’ friends recommended visiting a small French town called Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, one hour outside of Geneva. We got to see some of the most beautiful mountains sitting next to a glacier as well as an incredible spa experience. The quiet town was a nice break from the hectic city (even though it was incredibly cold). The last pro I would like to discuss is the people. Getting to meet such a wide variety of people with different backgrounds has really broadened my perspective of the world. In most countries I visited the locals were very friendly and it was not that hard to create friends after a small conversation.
While I would not trade this experience for anything, there were some times when traveling became a bit difficult. The first con being the lack of sleep. Commuting to class during the week left me pretty tired by the time the weekend came around, but my flights would either be Thursday night or early Friday morning, leaving me with not a lot of time to catch up on sleep. Most of the days are completely full of activities along with going out at night which left me even more tired. The second con is transportation. Often times finding an Airbnb in a great location is very expensive or unavailable and you need to be more than a walk from the town center. Some cities have great public transportation, others do not. When they do not, having to get taxis in another language can be a challenge. The last con that can hurt a trip is the people you travel with. While I had great experiences with friends, I have heard stories of trips turning sour due to interpersonal conflict. Living with someone in close quarters with not a lot of sleep can increase tensions but as long as everyone is focused on enjoying the trip it should work out.
This list is not meant to deter anyone from traveling. On the contrary I hope that people can use this list to help prepare for some of those cons by doing research ahead of time. The experiences gained from traveling far outweigh any of the problems that may come along the way.
Hail to Pitt!