I Backpacked Europe For Two Months With My Best Friend And Learned How To Live Simply

I Backpacked Europe For Two Months With My Best Friend And Learned How To Live Simply

Living out of a backpack for two months transformed my values and reinforced the ones I already had.

During the summer of 2017, my best friend and I took on backpacking Europe for two months. I not only got to travel to nine European countries, but I also woke up every day without a plan.

The only rule: see where the day takes you.

But, let’s back up and give you the context of my long-awaited journey out of the country. My friend Mallory and I decided our sophomore year of high school that backpacking Europe was our big adventure.

Enrolled in French and Spanish classes together, we both had a significant love for languages. This was the foundation for what was to come.

More and more, we would talk about the trip becoming a reality until it was the most constant source of conversation that we had. We were more than likely planning our escape from high school, and dreaming of our trip was the one way to not go completely out of our minds.

Over the course of the next few years, we slowly recognized that our plan was coming to fruition. We decided that there was no better time to make the trip happen than the summer after our freshman year of college. Lucky for us, it was.

Both Mallory and I were on the same page when it came to planning the trip. Cost-savvy, the only things we booked were transportation and accommodation; more specifically, the cheapest hostels and flights we could find without staying at a place that guaranteed needing another shower after using their shower.

We wanted to experience the thrill of wanderlust without falling into the trap of becoming a tourist.

I’ve always preferred the term ‘traveler’ over ‘tourist’ when it comes to describing my style of travel.

With city-hopping every 4 days or less for 2 months, we knew it was carry-on or bust. This forced us to bring along only what we need and absolutely valued. This leads to my first big lesson learned.

1. Leave the blow dryer at home

Laugh if you want or cry if you can’t imagine going without it. There’s really no judgement or rule book in deciding how to pack. Two months is a long time to be away from your simple comforts.

However, during my trip, less became more and every item I packed had to be a) packable and b) worth packing. My life was simplified because I had to travel with only a carry on.

More often than not, people were shocked that two teenage girls were not only surviving but thriving off of toiletries that fit in a sandwich sized zip-lock bag.

2. Sleeping next to strangers is actually fun

What’s up, hostel life! This is game-changing, and if you are not familiar with hostels, then jump in, because we seriously could not have backpacked without hostels providing safe, welcoming, and traveler-oriented accommodations.

One of my best memories is from sitting at a sticky beer-covered table in Munich with a rowdy group of Englishmen playing cards. Hostels are the key into any city and your ticket to meeting people from around the world, who (like you) are thinking outside of the box when it comes to travel.

Don’t let it bother you that seven other people are sharing the bunk beds around you—that’s part of the experience.

3. Skipping the tourist sights doesn’t ruin a trip

Our absolute best aha-moments came from veering off the path of what we were expected to see in a city. It gets very old very fast to check off top-visited sights from a list.

Riding bikes around Christianshavn—priceless.

4. I can sleep when I’m dead

Please please please do not pay that outrageous plane ticket to Europe and snooze. I mean this in the literal sense of sleeping. There’s time for breaks and mental recharges, but take advantage of every single moment.

5. People make the place

Locals are just the best (unless you’re in Paris). Half the time, I didn’t even need to approach a local before they were telling me their opinions of U.S. politics.

But in all honesty, genuine, kind people who are excited to share their city with you are unforgettable (locals often work at hostels and have really good suggestions on where to eat and what to see).

Cover Image Credit: Lindsey Settle

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Top 50 Things You'll Hear A Southern Say


For those of you who may need a little help understanding the slang of a southern, I made a list of the top 50 phrases and sayings, along with their translations.

1. Bless your heart.

My favorite saying. It is an empathetic phrase that is usually uttered when the speaker believes the recipient to be sweet, but misguided or stupid. It can also be used if the speaker believes the recipient needs to grow up and deal with it, when the speaker says it in a sarcastic tone.

2. Barking up the wrong tree.

Means being misguided or mistaken.

3. Aren't you precious?

Mostly this saying is used in a sarcastic tone in response to someone being offensive.

4. Britches.

Pants or underpants.

An example would be, "Your britches are too short, you can't wear those".

5. Coke.

Regardless if it's Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola, or another carbonated beverage, it's called Coke here in the South.

6. Fixin' to.

Simply means that you are about to do something.

7. Get the short end of the stick.

This phrase means that you basically got an unfair deal or cheated out of something.

8. Give Me Some Sugar.

Simply means give me a kiss.

9. Hissy Fit.

A hissy fit is a grown-up version of a temper tantrum that is as bad as one that a toddler would throw.

10. Hold Your Horses.

Be patient.

11. Holler.

When you say "holler" you are basically letting the other person know something.

Example: Holler at me when you are ready to get something to eat.

12. If the creek don't rise.

This saying simply means that if nothing bad happens, everything will go as planned.

13. You're as slow as molasses in the wintertime.

This phrase means that you are being EXTRA slow.

14. Muddin'.

Off-road four-wheeler riding with the intentions of getting mud everywhere and possibly losing control.

15. Skat Cat.

A phrase that can be used instead of saying "God bless you" when you sneeze.

16. There's Not A Pot Too Crooked That A Lid Won't Fit.

There is someone for everyone.

17. Pitcher.

We mostly mean a plastic container that holds sweet tea, not the position of a guy on the baseball team.

18. Reckon.

When you say "I reckon", you believe that something is true.

19. Hoot With The Owls, Soar With The Eagles.

This simple phrase means that if you are going to stay up all night, you should be able to get early in the morning.

20. Too Big For Your Britches.

Simply means that you take yourself too seriously.

21. Stompin' Grounds.

Your hometown or where you grew up.

22. Back In The Day.

Back in the day could be a month ago, a year ago, or 20 years ago.

23. You're A Spitting Image Of (Insert Family Member).

Yes, I know I'm a spitting image of my mother. "Spitting image" simply means that you look just like someone.

24. "Darlin, Sugar, Sweetheart"

These words are simply terms of endearment.

25. Buggy.

A buggy is a cart/basket at the grocery store.

Example: Who wants to push the buggy?

26. Quit Crying Or I Will Give You Something To Cry About.

This phrase simply means to quit crying and if you didn't then more than likely you got a spanking,

27. Where You Raised In A Barn?

If you are from the South, you have probably been asked this more than once, especially when you left a door open.

28. Close The Door. You Are Letting All The Good Air Out.

This southern heat is nothing to play with. It simply means to keep the door closed so the air (or heat if its winter) stays inside.

29. You Are Going To Make Me Lose My Religion.

When you say this phrase to someone, it more than likely means that person has done something to irritate you or made you mad. Thank goodness Jesus saves.

Example: You are going to make me lose my religion.

30. You Look Like A Chicken With Your Head Cut Off.

This is said when you are running around like a crazy person. It can be said if you are looking for something that you are searching for or if you are just really busy.

31. Y'all.

The southern way to say "you all".

32. You Can't Carry A Tune In A Bucket.

If you've ever been told this, it means that you can't sing.

33. Have Their Feathers Ruffled.

You normally have your "feathers ruffled" when you are pouting.

34. Two Peas In A Pod.

When you and someone else are "two peas in a pod", it means that either you almost always together or that you two are almost identical in the way you think and do things.

35. Well Butter My Butt And Call Me A Biscuit.

This saying can be used when you are surprised or excited.

36. Don't Let The Door Hit Ya Where The Good Lord Split Ya.

When someone say this they typically mean to get out and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

37. You're As Good As Gold.

When you are "as good as gold", it means that you are well-behaved and obedient.

38. It's Raining Cats And Dogs Out There.

This simply means that the rain is really coming down hard. It's not actually raining cats and dogs, people.

39. I'm Full As A Tick.

This phrase means that you ate too much food.

40. I'm Sweating More Than A Sinner In Church.

When someone says this, it means that they are really hot and sweating A LOT.

41. Pot Calling The Kettle Black.

This phrase is used when one person is guilty of the very same thing of which they accuse another person.

42. There's More Than One Way To Skin A Cat.

It means that there is anyways more than one way to fix something.

43. Shut Yo' Mouth.

Means to be quiet or hush up.

44. Whatever Floats Your Boat.

This saying means to do whatever you want to do.

45. Slap Yo' Momma.

This phrase means that something is good.

Example: This BBQ is slap yo' momma good.

46. She's Like A Bull In A China Shop.

When you tell someone this phrase, you are telling them that they are clumsy or careless in the way that they move.

47. Cuttin' A Rug.

Cuttin' a rug is used to describe dancing.

Example: Let's go cut a rug tonight.

48. Clicker.

A clicker is another name for a TV remote.

49. Slow Your Roll.

This also means to be patient.

50. You're A Hot Mess.

When you tell someone that they are a "hot mess", you are simply telling them that they don't have it together.

Cover Image Credit: silhouetteamerica.com

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Day Four In Italy: Florence

This is the day we learned the history of everything


Waking up bright and early we first took the tour bus to the country side of Florence where we visited a medieval town full of shops that lined a beautiful countryside.

CountrysideBrooke Burney

We spent about three hours here just looking around, buying things, and taking pictures. Once the three hours were up, we went to a winery where they explained how they made wine with the grapes in their vineyard.

In the vineyardBrooke Burney

After the tour, they fed us lunch with some of their wine. Then, after we ate, we passed through their wine shop and took the bus back to the Piazza della Signoria. On the way back, our tour guide was telling us about Michelangelo and his time creating the Statue of David. We had to stand in a line for about thirty minutes but when our time came, we were thrilled. We entered and saw artwork from many different artists. However, Michelangelo had a hallway of his own that was mostly filled with unfinished sculptures of statues with David being at the very end.

Statue of DavidBrooke Burney

After the tour of the art museum, our tour guide took us to the square where the churches were and gave us a history lesson on them. He gave us a background on the pictures that were painted on the doors and what they represent.

Brooke Burney

After this tour, we went back to our hotel where we were able to go eat dinner. My friends and I went back to the small square we first went to and ate in a small pizza joint.

Italian pizzaBrooke Burney

If you ever go to Europe, keep in mind that they have a hard time splitting orders. As we were sitting at this table, we asked for separate checks but they made us pay separately on a single check, which was kind of funny watching three American girls pick through their euros.

After dinner, we went back to our hotel to pack for the next day. To the train station, then Pompeii!

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