Recently, my study away professor took my peers and I to high tea at the Kensington Palace Orangery – just the relaxing trip I needed to prepare for an incredibly packed fall break schedule touring Europe.
I’ve heard of people having an epiphany that they are adopted, but now I know it can truly happen. I had the experience firsthand during high tea when I realized my family really adopted me from London – I was in my element that day. OK, maybe that’s wishful thinking, but it certainly felt like it in the moment.
High tea is usually an afternoon meal in Britain. It consists of cakes, small sandwiches, bread, butter and jam. Of course, the highlight of the menu is the tea. Everyone was dressed up and sipping on tea with their pinkies pointed skyward in the traditional fashion.
I was hoping Prince William and Princess Kate would make an appearance, but little George is probably keeping them busy.
After experiencing high tea, I had the opportunity to get out of England and go to mainland Europe for my fall break. The greatest thing about London is that I can be in another country in a few hours. In America, after one hour I’m still trying to drive through New Jersey.
Planning fall break was no easy task, especially since I’m on an “I’m too broke and too cheap” budget.
Fall break was the only week I didn’t have to think about classes or my internship. I had no worries – other than catching buses, trains and flights.
In a moment of spontaneity, I decided to go to Italy by myself. After telling a friend, I got the typical response: “How long should I wait to take your clothes when you go missing in Italy?” Ironically, she said the same thing when I started venturing off in Philadelphia alone.
I come from a long line of people who get up and go places by themselves. I get it from my mom, who once went to Jamaica alone with no concrete plan other than to experience the country. So naturally, my thought process was along the lines of ‘What could go wrong?’
Full of excitement to go to Italy, I had a terrifying realization – all my photos would be selfies. Even though there’s nothing wrong with a selfie every now and then, going to Italy alone might get boring.
Luckily, one of my friends agreed to go with me to Rome during the break. After we had that settled, the next step complicated our plans immensely. I pulled up the map of Europe on my laptop and played a game of chance. Wherever my finger landed was the next destination for the break. I asked my friend if she would meet me in Italy after she went to Switzerland and I went to Paris.
You would think that after going to Rome and Bologna in Italy we’d be satisfied, but we couldn’t stop there. Eventually we settled on visiting Poland and then Belgium to end the journey. In order to avoid breaking the piggy bank, we used sites such as Ryanair, CheapOair and Ebookers to find the cheapest flights possible.
Cheap travel sites such as those should be bookmarked on every student’s laptop when they study abroad. Making the most of every moment in another country is a must, but affordable travel is necessary for those with a packed itinerary.
For each place we set out the highest price we’d be willing to pay in order to get there. Even if this meant sleeping in airports, we were determined to get to four countries in 10 days without shelling out all of our available funds. With help from each other and Google, we accomplished something that initially seemed unlikely.
Christasia Wilson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.