What was your favorite city and why?
That one’s hard to answer, but probably Krakow or Ljubjlana. Mainly because they were pretty small for a big city, and they just had this really cool old, European vibe to them.
What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
So, when we were on our way to the Taj Mahal, we stopped at this weird little place on the side of the road. They were selling breakfast, chai, and whatnot. We had been driving for like three hours, so many of us desperately had to go to the toilet. My mom and I went in the girls’ toilet, weirdest thing ever. They don’t wait in one line like we do at home. They wait in lines for individual stalls. I was just standing and waiting like we would at home, but I kept getting passed by angry old ladies. Seriously, I was getting elbowed in the ribs by these women, who must have really had to go. It was weird. It took us like ten minutes to figure out the system.
What was the best moment of the entire trip?
COOKIE TIME!!!! Ha ha, just kidding, but seriously. I can’t really single out one moment, but for me probably when the guy pulled the parachute chord and I stopped free falling. That was probably the most relieving part. Also, when we summited our little mini-mountain. You feel basically like, wow I just climbed a mountain and now I have to go back down, pray I don’t fall off the edge. Scary, but amazing.
What was the scariest moment?
Do you really want to know the answer? Everything’s gone pretty well-ish. Probably, when Walden almost died. Yup. That was a scary one. We’ve had some great experiences. My dad was like “what are those white things in the cookie?” I just answered with, “probably white chocolate or something.” Famous Last Words.
What do you think you might do differently when you go home because of your trip?
We’re planning on using a clothes line, because of this thing we did in the Sydney Science Museum. It was this computer program that tells you how many icecaps you’ve melted. Using a dryer basically jacks up your carbon footprint. We’re starting to use much fewer trash bags than we did when we started. I blame New Zealand for that one.
Did you find any sights or activities a bit off the beaten track? Beyond the tourist traps?
Most unintentionally, we were wandering around outside of Auschwitz looking for food that wasn’t overpriced and disgusting. We wandered into this random burger place (the only place open in town). I swear, like a Polish Fergburger. They were amazing! Except, I don’t remember what the place was called.
What was your favorite meal?
Probably a three-way tie between this chicken and vegetable thing we had in Budapest, with the greatest chocolate cake ever for dessert; the homemade mojo chicken and guacamole with slightly burnt brownies I had on my birthday; or wandering around the Chiang Mai walking market eating everything we found for like fifty cents.
What was the strangest thing you ate?
Walden ate a fried chicken head. You should’ve seen his face when I told him, he was like “Ohhhh Crap”. When we were trekking on the Annapurna, we stayed at this one tea house in Chame. I was still recovering from food poisoning, but my mom and I decided to be brave and order a pizza. Worst thing I’ve eaten in my entire life. Have you ever had Nepalese ketchup? It is horrible! I can’t even describe it. Honestly, dipping your fries in it will ruin you. DEMON CONDIMENT. There was no tomato sauce on our “pizza” only Nepalese ketchup, along with some grated cheese and other mystery toppings. I legitimately almost threw up
What was the funniest/strangest/or most insightful thing a local said?
The lady at the last place we stayed told us we were not immense like most Americans. That was priceless.
Where would you revisit? Would you ever move to any of those cities?
I could move to most cities we’ve been to in Europe. Not Prague, too many drunk people, like this hilarious Irish guy wearing a green cape who ran up to this huge entirely Asian tour group and took a selfie with them. They all posed, that made my life right there. Definitely Krakow, Budapest, Ljubjlana, Dubrovnik, and Egmond Ann Zee.
What was the hardest or most frustrating part of the trip? An endless buffering Netflix in the Himalayas. Just kidding. In Europe for instance, very few people speak English and those who do are extremely difficult to understand. In fact, in Berlin and Holland we actually got really funny looks when we spoke. It’s really hard to communicate with people. I can’t understand Polish accents at all, don’t know why, just can’t. Sometimes we’re getting tickets for a tour or a train and they tell us the time and we’re like “What?” I know you’re speaking English, but I don’t know what you’re saying. English wasn’t a problem in Asia though. Almost everyone spoke it there.
Did anything go wrong that seems funny now? Crashing the motorbike is actually kind of funny now. It was idiotic, my mom could barely drive it around the empty parking lot, and we decided to take it on a freeway.
What did you learn about yourself? I get ticked off really easily, probably too easily. I have a bubble, do not pop my bubble or I will hate you forever. I also do not do well on stressful travel days. I get super stressed and freak out on certain family members.
Now that you’ve been these places, what are two other places you’d like to go? Are there any left? We haven’t been to Ireland yet, that would be a cool place to go. Maybe Iceland, we heard lots of good things about that place.
How have people responded to your taking time off from formal schooling?
Most people are kind of confused by the concept of homeschool. It’s always a long annoying explanation, but everywhere we go they’re like why aren’t you in school. Walden and I just look at each other like, “it’s your turn to explain,”