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When I came back to Brazil, after one year living in Dublin and after a long trip around Europe, among so many different questions that both my family and friends have made, there has been one that I was asked more frequently.
What was your favourite place?
I often answer this question as people would like to hear it. They want to know how it’s like smoking marijuana in Netherlands, they want to know how it’s like drinking beer in Germany, drinking wine and eating cheese in France, they want to know about the monuments, about the Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, the Brandenburg Gate and many other things. But I gotta tell you the truth, these aren’t the things that I’ve most enjoyed while travelling. And I will tell you now what these things are.
As all of you guys, it started with the planning. Ah, the planning. It can be the most enjoyable part of your trip. Searching for places to visit, getting lost in many pictures, articles, blogs and all sort of stuff. So, in my case, my plan was to not have a plan. What? Are you nuts?
Yeah, but not completely. I knew that there were too many places that I wanted to visit and I didn’t have time or money (that will be another post) to see all of them. So I’ve decided that the most important for me, weren’t the places, the cities themselves, but people. I wanted to get to know people, to have a glimpse at their culture, at their habits, at their day-to-day life. So I booked three flights: Dublin (Ireland) to Eindhoven (Netherlands); Pula (Croatia) to Paris (France); Paris (France) to Dublin (Ireland); I had a route and not a single bus/train ticket, or a hotel/hostel/B&B booked. My plan was to hitchhike and couchsurf throughout Europe, that would give me the chance to do what I wanted: to meet people.
So if I tell the truth when people ask me about what was my favourite place, it’s difficult to choose one, among being hosted by a couple in the middle of nowhere close to Cork (Ireland), drinking beers and talking non-stop over the night; sharing meals and day-to-day errands with my host in Amsterdam (Netherlands), one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met ; being invited to a neighbourhood/community party/dinner in Bradford (UK) by my lovely host; listening to different stories while hitchhiking; getting dropped in places further than my drives were going, just because they were enjoying the conversations; and so many other things. But I think that my favourite one, and the one that’s been proven to have being a good choice, was to avoid the biggest city in France and going to the third one instead.
So, what do you travel for? What do you enjoy more about travelling? People? Nature? Shopping? Food? Relaxing time? I’d like to know more.