Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Confessions Of A Travel Junkie

I did it, somehow. It may not be the three months I was hoping for, but it will be 42 days remarkably well spent. It feels like too much, too soon, but who deserves it more than me, after the cruel indignities of the last four or five years?

I mentioned on Postmodern Critic that I have been through some tough times during its lifetime. These seem poised to fade into the background, especially as I find lucrative new unproblematic experiences to replace them with. I hope I will able to find the positive in everything I currently regard as negative about the recent past.

Anyway, I did it. Regardless of whether or not I stick strictly to the itinerary of the previous post, I have 4 full days in Seoul, and the period between the 23rd of June and 27th of July will be exclusively devoted to central and northern Europe.

I have a wonderful friend who's going to host me in Uppsala, Sweden's fourth largest city, and I will find some CouchSurfers who are willing to host me in Seoul, Prague, Berlin and Copenhagen. I'm not sure if I'll have money for Vienna, but if I do, I will find people there as well...

I have wanted to go to Berlin, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Denmark and Sweden for a long time, and my interest in South Korea blossomed during a visit to the British Museum, when looking at the objects on display from this fascinating nation. (Did you know that when Korean people want to look like they are smiling open-mouthed for the camera they say 'kimchi'?)

At the moment there are so many aspects of the trip to delightedly concern myself with that it's almost worrying. How much focus on Seoul is enough before I move on? Should I research the places in the order in which I plan to travel to them, or as they come? What kind of guidebook(s) do I need?

My biggest worry at the moment is money: I don't have a lot for it. Couch Surfing will be strictly necessary every step of the way, which is actually a beautifully enriching addition to my trip... Ultimately cities are so interesting because of the people that make them buzz. By finding a select number of individuals who can introduce me to their unique perspective on the city, I will make more friends and be more aware of the locals' perspectives. I guess searching for my next host can be intimidating, though... it's hard to tell if you're going to hit it off with a person based on a few photos and a few short spurts of information.

My guess is that I will have money for two sights a day in Europe... so I'd better plan them well! Perhaps I am trying to see too much, I don't know. Perhaps instead of trying to add Vienna into the picture I should spend more time in Denmark or Germany or Sweden. Hmm, I believe I'm onto something...

I told my Swedish friend I'd be in Uppsala around the 6th, but I could delay this by two or three days. The longer I spend in one place the better. Ideally I would like to spend some time in Malmo or Goteborg. Travel between places, however, will be my biggest expense, and I will already be using up money for: [Prague to Berlin], [Berlin to Copenhagen], [Copenhagen to Roskilde], [Roskilde to Copenhagen], [Copenhagen to Uppsala] and [Uppsala to Prague]. Unless I hitchhike or find free, scheduled rides between places on the web, these fares will wreak havoc on my budget. Not to mention, I need $170 for the Roskilde Festival.

Before I start boring you entirely with prices... Maybe I should just focus on Denmark and Sweden, leave Berlin behind. But then again, Berlin is the least expensive of any of these destinations. If I were to add Aarhus and Helsingborg, for example, I would spend even more on transportation, though the small city/town costs would be easier on my wallet.

Guess I still have some decision-making to do. Do you have any advice?

The European Union has just declared that being a tourist each year is a human right, and they will start partially sponsoring the holidays of the economically disadvantaged to different places in Europe. Do you take your travel as seriously as that? Why?

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