I remember the day like it was yesterday.
May 31, 2011.
The day our journey began.
But let's rewind three months prior to that. I was standing in the airport with tears rolling down my face, as I was saying goodbye to my sister. She was about to embark on her once in a lifetime "Round The World" trip. I remember feeling so proud of her for what she was about to accomplish. Something that most people only dream of doing but never actually get the chance to.
She started off in Mexico, working her way down to South America. Posting all her adventures and sending us text messages of all the people and places she had seen.
Oh and did I mention, she was doing this alone?
To have the courage to do that, definitely takes a special type of person.
I remember looking at all her pictures and thinking to myself, "Wow, she's so lucky to be able to travel the world!" Places that I've only seen or read in books- she was actually living and seeing them in person.
Little did I know, I was soon about to join her.
The plan was for her to spend three months in Central and South America, come home for a week, and then head back out to Europe for another three months.
As I mentioned in my previous post, a month before her arrival back home, a blessing in disguise would allow me to join her on the second leg of her trip.
Before I could even think about it, I was already booking my flight and agreeing to take part in this amazing trip of hers.
The countdown for her return seemed like an eternity.
I wanted to be on that plane already... heading to Europe!
It would be my first time overseas, so you could imagine the excitement I had built up in my head on what our journey would be like. Filled with amazing food and sightseeing. Everything would be perfect and I would have the time of my life.
Well, let's just say, the start of the trip was far from perfect. More like a disaster!
I remember thinking, "What the hell have I gotten myself into?"
The Bad And The Ugly
Remember how I said I would share with you the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of our Round the World trip?
Well, I wish I could start off with the good, but unfortunately, it didn't work that way for us.
Our First Mistake
Our flight from Orlando to London couldn't have gone any better. It was a direct non-stop flight on Virgin Atlantic, which is by far the best airline I've ever been on. Eight hours later, we had finally landed in Europe!
It was early morning when we landed, so the plan was to take a quick nap, then explore and take in the beautiful city of London. Except for one minor problem.
We didn't have a place to stay.
I know what you're thinking, who books a trip to Europe and doesn't book a hotel room, hostel, an apartment... something, anything??
What had happened was...
Dani had explored all of Central and South America without ever having anything booked or planned. True backpacker style. She stayed at any hostel that was available and worked her way across from country to country without any major difficulties.
She assumed it was going to be the same way in Europe.
Boy was she wrong!
Our plane landed at 7:30am, 2:30am our time. The last thing I wanted to do was start looking for places to stay at that time. But that's exactly what we did.
We entered a Starbucks -which quickly became our best friend during the trip for their free WiFi- and started looking online.
Fast forward to 5pm and we still hadn't found anything.
By this point, I was beyond exhausted, hungry, bored and annoyed! How was it possible that everything in London (in our price range) was sold out?
I wanted to hop back on that plane and return home and forget all about this nightmare of a trip.
I could tell Dani felt bad.
I think she was more concerned about putting me in that situation then anything else. After all, in a way I was her responsibility. I was joining her on her trip.
Miraculously, somehow she found two beds available at a hostel nearby.
We quickly grabbed our luggage, hopped on the metro, and reached our destination.
Before this trip, I had no clue what a hostel was. And quite frankly, I didn't care either. I was just relieved that we were going to be able to finally sleep.
We check-in and went straight to our room.
I was already dreaming about opening the door and collapsing in my nice warm bed.
"Umm, what do you mean we have to share a room with eight other people???"
Yes, Fio, that's how hostels are.
Day 1 on our Round The World trip, and only 89 more to go.
I promise, it gets better.