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It’s official!! I graduated with my Master of Science in Engineering on Friday, May 9, 2014. The last two and a half years have been a great experience
for me as I learned a great deal about myself, both strong and weak aspects. I still have a lot to learn and room to grow, but at least I have an
idea of where to start!

As my graduation present to myself, I am heading out for a month long trip in Europe. Since Europe is a big place and a month is not that long in
the grand scheme of things, I am focusing on the UK and Paris.

I have been overseas before: Ireland in 2007, Mexico in 2008, Amsterdam in 2008, 2009 and 2010, Scotland in 2009, Hungary and Austria in 2010 and Berlin in 2012. But I
have never been for a whole month! I will be traveling alone and staying in hostels throughout the UK and have an apartment
in Paris as I will be basing myself there for 10 whole days.

I get a lot of questions about my trip, so I will answer the common ones now. If you have a question, just email me.

Why the UK and Paris?

There are several places I want to visit and I haven’t yet. I was also considering the Black Forest of Germany and the Alps. That will be my 2015 trip,
unless I get a different inspiration. In the UK, I always wanted to go to Glastonbury and Bath, London is a must see and I am also stopping in on Cardiff, Wales.
So after this trip I will have visited all my home lands! My great-grandmother was born in Cardiff, so I wanted to see the beautiful country she came
from.
Paris, I would think, is pretty self-explanatory. It’s Paris!!!

I could have stayed in the UK for the whole month, but I really want to see Paris.

Do you speak French?

No, and I have been trying to pick up some language using CD’s and travel phrase book so I can get around.
It’s just starting to sink in. I am hoping I will be able to get by. It’s all part of the adventure!

Are you renting a car?

No, the public transportation in Europe is good. I will be traveling on trains and buses to get where I need to go. And my own two legs. I might
rent a bike as well.

Why aren’t you going with anyone else?

This is my trip. I don’t know too many people my age that think moving around a foreign country, living out of a backpack and sleeping in a room
with strangers is a good time (though I hope to meet some on this trip).
I want the freedom to move around and do what I want, when I want. A lot of my friends and relatives also have families
making it hard for them to just get up and leave for a month.

I always wanted to travel for extensive periods of time, and while most people do this kind of thing right out of high school or college, I was too focused on starting my career.
That was more of a priority for me. As I completed my Master’s degree, I have a good base behind me and feel this is the time to travel, before I
get involved in any projects that will make it harder for me to do this. I am making travel a priority because it is part of what I consider a good
life.

How do you know what to pack?

Experience. I have traveled enough to know what I use the most and what I can live without. I also ask friends that have done a similar trip and
looked up resources online using Google. Lots of people do this every day, so there is a lot of information.

How are you going to live out of a backpack for a month?

I can pack enough clothes for a week in my backpack. After that I just do laundry. Usually I would find a laundromat, but that can get expensive. So
for this trip I have a sink plug and soap to do laundry in the sink. I invested in quick dry clothing and I even did a trial run at home so I would
know how long the stuff takes to dry. I am bringing 2 light-weight pair of shoes to switch out.