With a backpack on his back and a smile on his face, the fearless young man Constance instead, 19, embarked on an adventure across Europe for a whole month alone. From Lisbon to the world, the traveler left the country on the first day of April to start the interrail which filled her with stories, memories and experiences.
After finishing high school last summer and still undecided about what to do next, Constança took the opportunity to take a break from her studies and embarked on a journey that took her to several European destinations. “My dream is to visit all the countries of the world, so I thought starting from Europe would be a good start. I had already thought of making this trip in 2020, but in the meantime I had to postpone it due to the pandemic ”, she begins by telling NiT the young traveler.
She waited for no company and ventured alone into unknown lands, which she had been used to since she was 16 when she moved to London for three months. Since she was not given the equivalence to finish high school in the English city, she Constança returned to Portugal, but not for long.
“I really wanted to go abroad, I wanted to earn some money, so I decided to become an au pair, which is basically someone who lives in a family home and helps take care of the children,” she says. About nine months ago, she flew back to London, where she took care of three girls.
During that time, she traveled through England and even took a bus to Paris on her own. If the desire to travel the world was already strong, with all these experiences she has intensified. When she returned to Portugal in March of the year, she decided that she could no longer put off the inevitable: pack everything in a backpack and set off to discover Europe by train.
Simplicity is the word that best describes the young woman from Lisbon. Without major projects and planned itineraries, she bought the pass that gives access to transport in Europe the day before leaving, she chose the countries she wanted to visit and went, as they say, “with the wind”. The nights were spent in hostels that I only booked a day or two before heading to my destination.
The lack of company wasn’t a problem for Constança, but it didn’t stop her from continuing her journey. “I decided to go alone because I really wanted to. I love to travel alone, I feel good in company, I have all the freedom in the world and I feel that, by completely leaving my comfort zone, I end up growing a lot ”, underlines the traveler.
Although it is an unforgettable experience, traveling alone can also be scary. Being in an unfamiliar country, where you speak a language you don’t know, isn’t always easy. However, the desire to travel and learn about other cultures overcame all fears that could exist.
“I had the normal fears, we always hear horrible things, but I don’t think it’s just because you leave the country that they happen. It could very well be a stroll in Lisbon and something happens. I don’t stop doing anything out of fear, maybe it makes me even more attentive and attentive ”, she says.
The journey began on April 1, Friday, and the first destination to be canceled was Madrid, despite having gone with some friends to a concert in the Spanish city. Three days later the adventure officially began on its own. She continued on to Barcelona, Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, Budapest, Zagreb, Split, Ljubljana, Milan, Lake Bled, Florence and finished the interrail in Rome. There were 13 cities, eight countries and a month of travel.
As in any adventure, misadventures exist and it is practically impossible to escape them. The plans were changed, the trips postponed, but in the end everything went well. “I was supposed to stay in Barcelona for two days, but the bus tickets ranged from € 14 to € 100. As I was on a tight budget, this was completely out of the question and I had to change the plan at the last minute, ”she recalls.
Despite the incredible experience, there is always the less beautiful part of travel that few people show on social media, like the effort of walking a whole day on foot with a backpack on your shoulder. “It wasn’t a glamorous journey at all, imagine spending seven hours on a bus in the center seat with no leg room, full of people. Most of the time I couldn’t even get the bank down. “
Besides “feeling limited for not wanting to go out alone in the evening”, another difficulty she felt was having to deal with all the stress alone, like when she had two trains to catch and, if one of them was late, she forced to leave, spending hours waiting without company. However, she admits that she is all part of the experience and hasn’t changed anything.
Rather than getting to know other countries in Europe, “the best of travel is undoubtedly the people”. “I’ve met many people with incredible stories from literally all over. I arrived at a hostel and immediately met people from Australia, China, the United States, Argentina, from every corner of the world ”, she recalls. For the traveler, it’s the people who make the experience ten times better.
After a month of travel,Watching the most memorable moment in the interrail can be a tricky task. “Taking a dip in the sea in Croatia at sunset and cycling to Rome with two friends at three in the morning listening to ABBA’s songs were those moments when I felt like I was in a film I will never forget”.
For all women who dream, like her, of traveling the world alone, Constança advises them not to get scared, because the good things always outweigh the bad. “Always pay attention to everything, read the usual timetables in each city before leaving. A good trick is to wear an engagement ring and, if someone asks us, let’s say we have a brother waiting for us or another excuse ”, advises the young woman, who shared some videos of the trip on behalf of her. tick tock.
I wish I could put every video I made it was the best experience of my life 💘 # interrail2022 #solofemaletraveler @constanca__porem
♬ create memories – Amyy🤍