It is a tradition amongst the students at the tail end of their education to, before they get caught up in their own busy corporate lives, to take an overseas trip with friends in the hope to glean some well earned knowledge after four years of mindless drivel. And so, we did. Myself and a group of friends decided to take a very traditional tour of Europe in a very tourist – like manner.
I have only one word to describe the trip – unreal. The experience of seeing the very places you have but been dreaming about, seen only in pictures and in your mind’s eye, in front of you creates a swelling of the heart I cannot describe.
I felt like, after four years of learning about the very things I came to see – art, history and architecture – was like a consummation of my degree. Years of waiting had lead to this very moment. Each place we went to had its own charm, which I will iterate in individual blog post dedicated to each city we went to – Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, Milan, Florence and Rome.
It was a giant educational experience, not only related to food, drink and culture, but also about the nuances of the travelling process itself, and all the planning required to make it work. I also could see the stark differences in character of the people in each city and compare them to the people I’ve seen in different parts of the world. The first thing I noticed was how much friendlier they were compared to people in Singapore; they were always willing to help, always ready with a smile. I have never been helped by a stranger in Singapore (I’m not exaggerating, it has never happened) and seeing some kindness was a breath of fresh air. Maybe it was because I was there for such a short time that I didn’t experience the full extent of what really goes on in each country (and I’m sure there are several instances of rudeness and xenophobia) but it was still a happier place.
Overall, I wouldn’t have traded those two weeks for anything else in the world. Please travel if you can, my friends. It is an experience like no other.