It had been quite a trip so far, flying-by-the-seat-of-our-pants through Europe, the UK and Ireland. Sleep deprived, nutritionally deficient, road weary and entirely grungy, we had really made the best of our tour. In total we drove 14,000 km hitting major (and minor!) cities in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, France, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England.
I don’t think this method of extreme travel is for everyone, but we were on a mission this trip. My new husband had not been outside of North America before, and he had some catching up to do.
I know we have a few more multi-tours in us. We are compelled to get to the rest of Europe before we slow down to take them one at a time!
Where did I get the idea for our extreme road trip? A few years prior, in 2007 I conducted a whirlwind University student tour of Europe that included nearly twice as many countries in almost half of the time.
I won’t lie and say it was easy and relaxing – with no more than 6 hours of sleep nightly (usually 4), as the host. But would I do it again? Yes, of course. Why travel this way? To see as much as possible – there is so much to explore!
We really enjoyed Wales – yes we had awkward moments while being closely scrutinized by the locals – but when interacting personally with the Welsh, they were nothing but jovial, accommodating and friendly toward us.
I have found that in most isolated communities, there is a curiosity about strangers. Often this comes across to the visitor as unpleasant, intimidating or even rude – when really the locals are just interested.
Interested in what you are wearing, what your life might be like, where you came from, what brought you to their community. This usually translates into staring.
Take Saskatchewan, Canada for example. Every time I go anywhere in Saskatchewan outside of Regina or Saskatoon (which is not often – it is far and Canada is huge), I can hardly stand the reaction of the locals.
It’s a stare-glaring horror show.
Once while in my early 20’s, after being forced (by a broken down vehicle) to stay for a night in a very small town in Saskatchewan named ‘Caron’, I actually ripped up my own clothes (to look ‘punk-ier’), messed my hair, darkened my eye makeup, and intentionally frightened the locals after hours of feeling like I had stepped into a Stephen King film.
Embarrassing I know. Now I look back and think my perspective was off. Sure, the locals couldn’t just ask me about myself in a casual way – get to ‘know me’ so to speak – but honestly, not many of us have ‘social balls’. We all worry about embarrassing ourselves in new awkward situations.
Heck, I can’t even report breaking a toilet flush handle for fear of being caught in my ‘blood pudding fiasco’!