How Things Change!
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So for the last several weeks I've been travelling solo through the Balkans, which will undoubtedly provide inspiration for jewelry when I get back to Greece and a workspace. In the meantime, I have a few reflections on travel in general.
HOW THE HELL DID WE DO IT BEFORE???? My current life and travel style revolve around my ability to access the Internet at ALL times. I'm that annoying traveller who immediately buys a new SIM card in every country I visit. I'm not kidding. I get to my hotel, and then go in search of one, if I haven't been able to buy one at the bus or airport at which I arrived. (As an aside, it also floors me how cheap and uncomplicated this is compared to my native Canada).
I use my phone for everything: honing in on the best restaurants, navigation, looking up transportation, booking accommodation, and of course, contacting family and friends abroad.
And yet, rewind 25 years to my first backpacking trip through Europe, and the way we did things then. Armed with nothing but our dubiously updated "Let's Go" guidebooks, we traipsed across Europe. Using the provided maps in the book, we navigated to hostels that we had NOT prebooked or were snagged by touts at the train station or ferry port and guided to the agreed upon accommodations. We didn't see these places in photographs, nor read reviews. We had the word of one person we didn't know personally. Add to this that fewer people spoke English then, and it's shocking we ever found our way.
We took photos on actual film and didn't see them until we got home.
We phoned home once every couple of weeks for two minutes using a phone card. It cost up to $4.00 a minute.
We wrote letters and arranged to pick up responses from general delivery at main post offices.
We had to buy travellers checks before leaving home—no debit cards back then. I didn't even have a credit card.
We travelled everywhere by train using a Eurailpass, as this was before the days of cheap flights.
We stupidly wore hiking boots. Ugh.
And now I wonder: HOW DID MY PARENTS SURVIVE! I went over there at just shy of 19 and I was gone for two months! I mean, they couldn't contact me! They didn't know where I was at all times. I look at 19 year olds, and I see a baby. Here I am, 44, and I make sure someone knows where I am at all times! I called home back then, of course, but it couldn't have been more often than every 2 weeks. The sheer trust of that is astounding now in this age of connectivity.
I somewhat sheepishly admit I prefer the style of travel we have now. But I am so glad I got to experience the other before all these drastic changes. It was a simpler, more faith required time.
And thank you to my parents for surviving it with grace. ❤️