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Purfleet, by Rebekah Chilvers, October 17, 2017

View of the Alps in Zurich, Switzerland.
View of the Alps in Zurich, Switzerland.

There’s a famous quote about exploring different countries which says ‘the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page’.

And as someone who hadn’t ventured further than France, Belgium or Jersey until three years ago, I can fully endorse that message as the truth.

As a child, while my peers were going on – what I considered to be – exotic trips to Spain or America, my family and I would be holidaying in York or Canterbury.

This is no criticism of the staycation – the memories I have of family holidays in our trailer tent are always fond ones.

Even if they do occasionally consist of arguments over tent pegs.

And while these trips were wonderful and I wouldn’t change them for anything, it merely increased my desire to see more of the world.

Since 2014, when I completed my undergraduate studies, I have covered a lot more of the world after venturing to America, Sweden, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands and Iceland.

This may sound like a lot of places to cover in a relatively short amount of time, but on my Scratch the World map I have hung up proudly at home, it looks like I have still barely left the comforts of Western Europe (which, to an extent, is true).

In the last few weeks I have been able to get my pennies out once more to scratch off some more countries though.

Last Sunday I came back from a fleeting visit to Switzerland, Austria and Hungary, as I sort of ‘crashed’ my friend’s interailing trip, which he started in Italy and will complete in France next weekend.

Our time in those three countries and the respective cities (Zurich, Vienna and Budapest) was incredible and certainly enlightening.

You may be thinking ‘surely that was an expensive trip’, and you wouldn’t be wrong.

But the way I see it, and please excuse the cliché, I don’t think you can put a price on an experience like that.

In Zurich, the views of the Alps were stunning. It is the sort of image you see online or in films but when you look at it with your own eyes, it’s hard to believe it’s real.

Moving on to Vienna two days later, seeing a show at the State Opera House for four euros (for standing tickets) is something I will never forget – the city where the likes of Beethoven and Mozart came to perform their work.

And finally Budapest, where we dipped into the famous thermal baths and watched the changing of the guard outside the Hungarian Presidential Palace with fascination.

Trips like this may not come on the cheap, but you can’t put a price tag on the experiences and memories created after.

As they say, travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.

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