Backpacking Through Eastern Europe

My blog is part travel stories from my previous life backpacking through jungles and sneaking onto airplanes after being robbed, and part stories from my current life as a traveling consultant, staying in posh hotels (Holiday Inns are posh, right?) and actually paying airport exit fees.

In my previous life, I spent five months bargaining my way through Southeast Asia, one month chasing buses through Peru, and one month eating gyros through Western Europe. All this was done with nothing more than a backpack and a thirst for adventure.

In my current life, I travel with full sports gear, business clothes, makeup, GPS enabled smart phone, computer, and an electronic toothbrush—oh, the luxury!

Next week, for the first time in two years, I am going back to the basics: backpacking. As much as I’ll miss my 360° revolving rolling luggage and changing my underwear everyday (just….kidding), I am stuffing everything I need for a two-week backpacking trip through Eastern Europe, into my ski backpack. The same backpack I used for a three day stay in Colorado this winter.

My backpack…okay, from my first day of college.

My real backpack!

The agenda:

  • Two days in Tallinn, Estonia.
  • One day in Parnu, Estonia.
  • One day in Riga, Latvia.
  • Four days in Berlin, Germany.
  • Four days in [insert city], Germany.
  • Three days in Paris & Versailles, France.

The reason:

Why not?

Just kidding, I’m too old for that. I totally have a reason. The lovely sister, Christie Yang, of my sweetest pea, Whitney, is getting married! In Versailles! Then going to Thailand for her honeymoon! My plan: To hit the open bar in Versailles, then sneak into Christie’s luggage for a free trip to Thailand! I know, it’s genius.

The real plan:

Up until yesterday, the only part of my trip I had booked was my ticket into Estonia and my ticket out of Paris. I had absolutely no idea how I was getting between the two places (my thumb works, so I figured I’d be good).

I absolutely hate planning logistics, so my plan was to have no plan! I’d wing it! Play it by ear! Fly by the seat of my pants! I envisioned my trip going something like this:

The vision:

I would fly into Estonia to meet one of my  favorite fellow backpackers, Gea, who I met while volunteering in Peru. We’d drink large glasses of vodka while shouting “Proust!!” (“Cheers” in Russian), bike along the Baltic coast, and meet angry old women, bitter about losing the communist battle, in the sauna. Probably, we’d visit a castle, too (are there even castles in Estonia? I don’t know, I’m an ignorant American!)

Gea and I on the sand dunes in Peru, 2010!

Then, I would magically appear in Berlin to meet my favorite fiery little kickboxer, Monica, whom I have been fortunate enough to know since meeting in Texas Spirits our freshman year of college. We would go to a club where only techno music was played, everyone was gay, and it would take less than 2.5 seconds to get a drink at the bar (because, you know, Germany is efficient). Then, we’d spend the next few days strolling through beautiful parks and immersing ourselves in culture. And, sausages.


Next, I would find a farm to work on in a cute Bavarian village, where I would be woken by a rooster, milk cows in the morning, pitch hay all day, and eat fresh goat cheese for dinner. I would also have a quick love affair with the German girl next door.

Like this, but minus the dude.

Then, I would magically wake up in Paris with the Yang family! I would proceed to eat ridiculously good food, and hit the open bar. I would drunkenly (yet romantically) meet a French girl while asking “Excuse moi, where is the Eiffel Tower?”, and have a romantic rendezvous at the Eiffel Tower (or a large pointed building I’ll be drunk enough to believe is the Eiffel Tower).

I would believe it…

Before I knew what hit me, I would wake up in the arms of a Thai massage lady, with no memory of the 24-hour flight to Bangkok!

Oh yaaa….

The Reality

Then, I realized I am traveling alone through Eastern Europe, and I don’t think my concealed gun license carries over to the Baltics. With the help of the super awesome Gea, I made a partial plan. I booked a bus into Latvia, a hostal in Latvia, and a plane from Latvia to Berlin. Planning officially over!

I’m super confident my trip will plan out exactly as I outlined above. What could possibly prevent all of that from happening? Certainly not my pigeon sense of direction and ability to walk left into a store and confidently stride out to the right. Certainly not my lack of knowing any other language but English. Certainly not!

Maps…useless things they are.

Whatever happens, we all know I will end up in some kind of weird (and hopefully comical) situation. Which will later manifest itself into a blog, complete with stolen pictures from the internet, because I consider my phone my camera!

I leave Friday. Get. excited. And, if you are religious, get your prayer on that I make it to Paris in time for the wedding and back to the States in one piece.



2 thoughts on “Backpacking Through Eastern Europe

  1. Yosemite vacation says:

    I do agree with all the ideas you have presented to your post.
    They are really convincing and will certainly work.
    Nonetheless, the posts are too quick for beginners. Could you please lengthen
    them a little from next time? Thanks for the post.

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