In September 2001 my mother and I flew to the UK from Australia, this was my first time on European soil. Who would have knew back then how much this trip was going to change my life.
Within six months of that trip I packed up my life in Australia and moved to London. What a change from moving away from not only a small town but a big country on the other side of the world. Everything was so close in Europe and London was party central. It is quicker to fly across Europe then it is to fly across Australia. It was so easy to make friends from all different walks of life, which has really changed my perspective on life.
One of the first trips I took into Europe was on a bus with some friends and a whole bunch of Aussies, Saffas and Kiwis to Munich to Oktoberfest where we pretty much drunk beer the whole bus trip, I don’t remember half of it but still remember waking up on the floor of the bus smelling of stale beer! I spent Christmas in Poland meeting my extended family for the first time and thought it was brilliant that there is people on the other side of the planet with the same last name as me and we kind of look the same. Going on my first solo trip, I flew to Copenhagen and then caught a bus to Berlin and made in back to London in one piece and absoutely loved it which started my new love of travelling solo.
After living two years in London I had to leave as my working visa had expired. I moved back to Australia and vowed to find a way to get back there. My luck was turning in 2004 Poland was joining the EU. I pretty much read every word on the Embassy of Poland in Sydney website and couldn’t believe it I was entitled to a Polish Passport through my grandparents being Polish. My dad and I spent a few months getting all the paper work together and sent it off and waited and waited and waited…I couldn’t wait any longer I decided to apply for a working visa to Ireland and would move back to London once I got my Polish passport. To cut a long story short it took 4 years for my Polish Citizenship to be granted, there were no bells or whistles just a random letter that arrived in my parents letter box! I was living in Canada at the time and applied for my Polish Passport there. Once I had my passport I moved back to Dublin, I had fallen in love with Dublin, its such a great city full of friendly people and a great size city. During my travels around Europe it came to the stage that I had visited more countries in Europe than I hadn’t so I decided to set myself a mission of visiting every country in Europe, just for fun.
If anybody told me when I was living back in Australia one day you would be travelling solo around Kosovo or hitch hicking to Albania, driving through underground wineries in Moldova, buying random insurance at the Belarus border, driving myself around Cyprus, catching trains through Russia, visiting Chenobyl in Ukraine, working at Wimbledon or countless other adventures in the last ten years I would have said you were crazy! But I’ve done it all and many more and loved every second of it.
On 30 March 2013 my just for fun mission became real, I did it! Set foot on every country in Europe.
My Personal Favourites of Europe
Best Country: Slovenia
Best solo backpack adventure: Serbia to Kosovo to Macedonia to Albania
Best Party: Oktoberfest
Most Unique Adventure: Seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland
Most Random Spot: What am I doing in Transnistria
Most Heartbreaking: Auschwitz in Poland and Dachau in Germany
Best Summer short trip: Porto in Portugal
Best Island: Santorini in Greece
Best laid back beer drinking spot: Gdansk in the summer
Best City: Dublin