Backpacking Around Europe

Two months. 12 countries. 33 cities. And only bringing along a backpack. That's how Ellie Higgins and Emily Taylor spent their summer. 

We're amazed by their adventure and jealous too, so we asked them to share stories with us:

What made y'all want to do this?

Ellie: "It was actually all Emily's idea, and I was lucky enough to tag along! We realized that this was probably the only chance we would ever get to do this, so we took it."

Emily: "My dad told me it was something he always wished he had had the chance to do, so he wanted me to have the experience. I spent most of last school year in my spare time (and sometimes in class, but don’t tell my parents) on blogs and Pinterest researching for it. It made spring classes go by so much faster because I had something so exciting to look forward to! "

How was it living out of a backpack?

Emily: "It is something you should do once in your life and then never again! I wouldn’t change it, but gosh, it really made me thankful for how little my school backpack weighs!!! Carrying my books around campus will be such a breeze!  Also, I now totally appreciate the luxury of having more than 8 outfits!"

Ellie: "It honestly wasn't too bad, but we did get tired of wearing the same clothes weekly. Luckily my family came to visit halfway through the trip, so I was able to switch out some of my clothes. We definitely have some strong backs now from carrying the backpacks around for so long!"

Favorite place you went?

Ellie: "My favorite place was definitely Switzerland! I was in awe the whole time I was there because I had never been anywhere that beautiful. From the turquoise water to the icecap mountains, I couldn't imagine a prettier place!"

Emily: "The places we went were all so different, and there is no way I can pick just one, so I’ll go with my top 3: Interlaken, Switzerland; London, England; and Santorini, Greece. Interlaken was so beautiful, and there was a new adventure around every corner. London was so full of life, and I liked the feel of the fast pace in a big city! Plus they spoke English so that was nice… Santorini makes the list because I grew up in a beach town, so getting to swim in that beautiful crystal clear water was like heaven to me!"

Funniest memory?

Emily: "Funniest memory of the trip would have to be riding mountain carts in Switzerland! My family had joined us at this point and we had spent the day riding a train up the mountain to this little town called Grindelwald. We ended up deciding to take these mountain carts down (at the request of my little brother). The carts were adult size tricycles with no pedals and handbrakes, and they flew down that mountain. It was like Mario Cart in real life. We looked so silly flying down the side of the mountain that we spent the whole time crying laughing."

Ellie: "My funniest memory was when we were in Santorini. We went on a 7 mile hike, and at the top of the mountain, we found two dogs who were alone. They were dirty and overheated, so we brought them down the mountain with us. Once we got to the bottom of the mountain, there was a fancy hotel, and the dogs jumped the fence and into their pool, which was full of people."

How was it being with your close friend & sorority sister on this journey?

Ellie: "This was a trip of a lifetime and I am so incredibly blessed to have experienced everything that I did with my best friend by my side. If you ever get the chance to drop everything and travel the world with your best friend, I highly recommend it!"

Emily: "Having a close friend/sister on the trip was amazing because all of the experiences I had and memories I made were so cool, but having someone like Ellie to share them with makes it 100 times cooler! I know this is something we will remember for the rest of our lives, even when we are old ladies we will be saying “remember that time in Athens when…” and we will pull out the thousands of pictures we took and reminisce on the fun times and wish we could go back!"