I am considering backpacking Europe alone…within the next three to five years. First things first – after about 3 months of researching group tours, I’ve decided to go on a group tour this year just to get a taste of a few countries and major tourist attractions. However, I also plan on going on a solo backpacking tour that I could pull off in the near future. It never hurts to plan far in advance.
I forgot that the whole point of traveling to Victoria, BC earlier in the summer of 2011 was to get a feel of solo travel & hostel living so I could see the world on my own. I will not cave to fear & give up on that dream.
I don’t know how long I should or will be in Europe OR how much it will cost (how much I should save in advance). Right now, I’m just throwing ideas & desires out as a base because you must have a starting point. So here goes…
European countries I want to experience:
England, Scotland, Wales (the UK), Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Czech Republic, Amsterdam, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Luxembourg,Turkey.
Woo! I know, I know. That’s a LOT. I never realized it until I typed it out but I WANT TO VISIT TWENTY THREE EUROPEAN COUNTRIES!!! I will be in seven of these countries on my group tour in October but will likely return if I fall in love with them. I’d like to spend at LEAST 3 days in some countries & a few days more if a deep connection w/ the place is felt. So I’m looking at 60+ days (or 2 months) of travel. Might as well make it 3 months to add in a few weeks of leisure, connection & rest.
Now what would all of this cost me? On a group tour, I’d probably see 7 countries in 12 days for about $1000 US excluding the round-trip ticket, food & shopping costs. So my inexperienced guess would be at least $10,000 US for a budget-style 23 countries (16, if I exclude the countries I will visit on my group tour) in a 3-month trip [inclusive of food, hostel, transportation, entry fees for attractions, emergency fund]. What an undertaking. If I can pull THIS off, this once-in-a-lifetime experience will be EPIC.
So now the question is when & where exactly?
WHEN: I wanted to see all of these countries in Europe in 2012 but something of this grand scale cannot be saved for in a mere few months (I’d only have 6 months to save). Plus I’d have to quit my job much sooner than expected. I’m hoping to do it before I turn 30.  That will give me enough time to finish off my education. This would be timely because, if I really fall in love w/ a country, I might just return there after my expedition, use my degree to get a job & end up never leaving Europe!