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Europe & Eurail Traveler
|Randy (left) with his wife Kat, and his daughter Bethany, in Pompeii, Italy.|
- When did you go on your Europe trip?
- How old were you when you took this trip?
- Where do you live now?
- Did you buy a rail pass?
- Before your trip: technician
- Now: same
- How did your travels affect your career when you got back?
Traveling has affected everything in my life, not just my career. But I have found myself encouraging others to take the plunge. Kind of like If I can do it anyone can!
- What is the route you took/places you visited?
From Texas to Frankfurt, Germany, by rail to Prague, by plane to Venice, by plane to Naples, by rail to Rome, Pompeii, Florence and Milan. By jet to London, then on to Capetown for a couple of months, back to London, then home.
- Why did you decide to take this trip? What got you into this type of travel, and/or influenced you to go?
My company requested volunteers to work in Capetown for 6 weeks. Since I had never been off the North American continent, I jumped at the chance. My wife, 24-year-old daughter and I wrote down all the places we really wanted to see, and used that to make up our route. We listened to many friends that had traveled before, watched every "Lonely Planet" show that we could, read every book or website that had travel experiences to share.
- What did your family, friends, co-workers, etc. think of your trip? Were they supportive of you? What is their opinion of your traveling and railing around Europe?
My family was very supportive! (I am usually in charge of running a family reunion every year. This time I was in Capetown during the reunion!) Many of my co-workers would never take a train like we did I can't imagine not taking one!
- Out of all your experiences traveling around Europe, what was the:
- Best Moment
- Worst Moment
- Biggest Hurdle, Obstacle or Difficulty?
- Biggest surprise?
- Who is the most memorable person you met on your trip and why?
Spent the afternoon talking with a very colorful painter in Venice.
- How much planning and preparing did you do?
- What was your favorite piece of gear?
The two-part Jansport backpack: able to store the main section in a locker while taking the day packs with us around town.
- What did you bring, that in hindsight you could've left at home?
Towels, knives and forks, Swiss Army knife
- How did your trip change your life? How did it affect and change you as a person?
My horizons have changed, I think more in terms of the world rather than my country. I have the start of an understanding for issues faced in other countries that I didn't have before. Everything in life is measured in relation to your base knowledge; traveling out of your country changes your starting point.
- If you had to sum up your trip in one sentence, what would it be?
Walking in the shadows of history, rubbing shoulders with our distant neighbors, changed my outlook on life.
- Are you planning more trips and travels for the future? Are you planning another trip to Europe?
YES! We're just trying to figure out where to start!
- Why do you think people should travel Europe by rail?
- Why do you think people should take longer trips like this? Why not just take a regular old one- or two-week vacation instead?
Packaged tours are great for timid people that want to view the world as though in a store window. To experience things you didn't even know you needed in your life, get your boots dirty.
- What is the most valuable thing you learned?
That traveling on your own isn't difficult, and is extremely rewarding.
- What is the biggest myth that people have about traveling Europe by rail?
That a travel agent is needed to plan every detail, and that the train system doesn't go where you want to travel.
- Why do you like to travel?
I didn't know that I did until this trip. I've found that I truly enjoy meeting people in their own homeland, and sharing a small slice of their life.
- What is your advice for people planning their own Europe trip?
Make a priority list of destinations, but don't get caught up in having every moment accounted for. Be flexible and enjoy.
- What is a tip about Eurailing you would have, that would help other travelers who are using train travel in Europe?
The Eurail pass is fantastic, but if your travels are likely to be confined to a country or two, look at the in-country prices or even point-to-point tickets for more savings.
- Now: same
No just point-to-point