Never have I imagined that in one week I would be able to visit five countries, ski on the Olympic slopes of Austria, explore the canals of venice via a gondola, stroll through ancient ruins in Rome, run across an entire country, and much more. This past week was definitely one of the most exciting, thought-provoking, adventurous experiences I have had in my life. Instead of explaining every detail of the trip I went to talk about the highlights of the trip and also important lessons I have learned from this trip (To get more details about my trip check-out the website created by fellow University of Richmond student Jackson: http://22.214.171.124/travel/ . This site has the specific counties we visited as well as pictures from the trip).
Highlights of the Trip:
Things I learned:
1) Always assume the worst case –> Now before you peg me as a pessimist, hear me out. As a computer scientist, we are told to always consider all possible cases when constructing an algorithm. When deciding how fast the algorithm will run we almost always define the runtime based on the worst case scenario. While traveling, it is best to assume the worst case in the running time of public transit, tours, and other events whose timing is out of your control. For instance, on the last day we had signed up for a tour of the colosseum that was suppose to end at 6pm giving us plenty of time to get to the airport for our flight at 9:30pm. Oh course, though, our tour began to run late causing us to leave the tour early. When we get to the metro we found too long of a line for tickets. Instead of 12 minute metro ride to the train station that would take us to the airport, we embarked on a 30 minute run. While in the train station we fought through more lines and language barriers, but we did finally get to the airport right in time. Originally, I had expected the process of getting to the airport to take maximum 1 hour. In reality, it took closer to 2 hours. When it comes to traveling getting from one place to another always takes longer than expected because there are always unforeseen road blocks. So now when I approach the problem of getting from point A to Point B I always assume the worst case running time.
2) Always get a paper map of each city you are in (with public transit)–> Before the trip I spent hours upon hours working out every detail of the trip. Each day I had a plan of what to do and how to get there. Even though I felt like I had prepared for everything I oh course missed some details. Most of the time we could turn to Google maps for assistance when we strayed away from my daily plan, however in some places Google maps would not work. For instance, when exploring Liechtenstein we could not use our data because each megabyte cost $15.00. Technology is wonderful, but unfortunately it is not as reliable as the good old paper map. Luckily, we had a wonderful map of Liechtenstein and thus had no problem navigating the country.
3) Pick your travel buddies wisely –> A huge reason my spring break went so well is because I had a great travel buddy. I spent the trip with one other person making it easy to plan activities that we would both like. When planning a large international trip you will inevitably hit many road bumps, and you want to make sure you are traveling with someone you can work with to solve these problems. I give many thanks to my travel buddy Jackson for helping to make the week sail as smoothly as possible!