Discovering Europe with new friends
I always find that one of the best things to do while travelling is to meet other like-minded travellers. It’s an opportunity to make new friendships, exchange experiences, and have a good time while getting to know each other. That’s why we were really pleased to be able to get together with another group of passionate young travellers at the DiscoverEU meet-up in Prague. The European Union’s plan is to enable thousands of 18-year-old Europeans to see more of our continent. They are given a rail pass that allows them to travel for 7 days within a month. The destinations are up to them, but meet-ups are being organised throughout Europe for people who want to get to know other participants.
We met some DiscoverEU travellers at a vegan festival and chatted to them about their experiences.
Food for thought
Pavla and her friends have been travelling for 3 weeks already. She says she especially enjoyed visiting parts of the Balkan Peninsula, which were touched by war in the not-so-distant past, and seeing how it affected the mentality of people living there. The trip made her aware of how important it is to interact with the local people and learn from their experiences. For Pavla, travelling “[is] about getting yourself out there, talking to people and understanding their cultures better.”
For Arno, it’s only his second day of travel. His first involved a 14-hour train ride from Antwerp to Prague – but he’s not complaining. After Prague, he’s heading to Budapest. But for the rest of the trip he wants to be spontaneous – he uses a flexible pass which means he can jump onto whatever train he feels like. He hopes to visit as many places in Europe as possible.
Roads less travelled
Our last traveller, Katka, lives in Prague and decided to meet people visiting her home country before she sets off on her own travels. She’s thrilled to be a part of this initiative. “I think it’s amazing that young adults get the chance to explore Europe and the places they’ve always wanted to see,” said Katka. She’s looking forward to Greece, but that’s not all she’s excited about – it will also be the first time she travels on her own. “I hope to find out if I like solo travel and see if that’s something that I could do for many years in the future. I’m a bit nervous, but so excited at the same time.”
It was obvious to us that DiscoverEU means so much more than just discovering places in Europe – for these young people, it’s also an opportunity to discover a bit more about themselves. And that’s exactly what’s happening on our own journey! We hope they have the time of their lives…