I first went to Europe in my early 20s. Aside from drive vacations in Canada as a kid I had never been outside of the USA. My girlfriend had seen an IcelandAir ticket sale, flying from New York JFK through Keflavík into Luxembourg for $129. It’s hard to imagine now, but we had no hotel reservations. Just a Fodor’s Travel Guide purchased at the airport and two Eurail Passes. The first day in Luxembourg was a blur – hello transatlantic jetlag – and on the second day with we found ourselves riding European rail to Brussels, Belgium. Walking from the B&B at night through winding streets and alleys older than anything I’d known, we encountered shadowy figures speaking a half dozen languages. It felt like a scene from Casablanca. Stepping out into the Grande Place a rush of strangeness and excitement washed over us. Throngs of travelers packed the ancient square, hundreds of nationalities together, surrounded by exquisite 300-year-old guildhalls. As we tried to order something from a harried server who spoke little English, a young Brit sitting alone at the next table helpfully translated our order. We asked him to join us. This was the beginning of a great friendship that lasted many years involving numerous trips together. The simple camaraderie of fellow travelers can open up new worlds, forging bonds of friendship across oceans and continents. I haven’t stopped traveling since.
– Owen McDonald, Trip of a Lifetime Communications Director
Posted on 04/15/2014 at 10:00:00 AM