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Six months alone in Europe?

Travel Forums Europe Six months alone in Europe?

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1. Posted by hughey89 (First Time Poster, 1 posts) 12 Nov '13 08:50

Hi, my name is Marc I'm 24 on the 29th of this month and I've never been travelling.

I'm not much of a people person. That doesn't mean that I'm anti-social or a misanthrope, I'm a nice guy and I like to treat people the way I liked to be treated, I'm just shy and introverted and it's the way I've been my entire life. I used to hate being shy and quiet and I've done a lot to try and change. I've become an instructor of a martial art (Tae Kwon Do), I've been a doorman, played bass in a few bands and I was even a model for a short time. I work behind a bar and even though I've done a lot to try and change, it just seems like I'm not going to. Now at age 24, I've finally made my peace with it and I've realized that it's just part of what makes me the person I am. My headphones will soon fuse with my body and have a constant stream of music pouring into my ears (but I ain't complainin')

I've had a pretty difficult couple of years which means I also I haven't been able to travel. Been stuck in dead end jobs and trying to figure out what I want to do with my life. Although I'm at peace with my social problems, being this way hasn't helped me see the world. Most people travel in groups and I never really wanted to do what most groups do, so I've been kinda left to my own devices and it hasn't turned out too well. I'm stuck in a rut. I've had to move back in with my parents and life has just become pretty stale. Everything from my bands to my financial situation has been falling apart. I'm a few weeks away from 24. That's practically half way to 30 years old! I still don't know what to do with my life and I don't know where I'm going in general. For the past few months I've just been daydreaming of living in a shack next to a beach. Nothing but my music collection and a surf board and a crappy day job.

1, Where can I surf? I can't say it enough! I once went to Cornwall with my parents when I was about 15 and surfing was pretty much all I did. Didn't go out on the family meals or do anything else because I'd spend all day trying my best to surf and come about 5pm, I'd been (attempting) surfing for hours and I'd sleep from being knackered for the rest of the night. Barely noticed two weeks had gone by. I try to get to Cornwall a couple of times every summer because it's just something I've always loved to do. Surfing trips suit me fine because I can be the introvert nature has seemingly planned for me and I can focus on having fun my own way. I don't need a group of friends and I don't need to worry about them dragging me to crappy nightclubs.

2, Do I need a grasp of the language? If so, how well? I want to get a temporary job, so what should I do about language?

3, Any surf spots I should avoid to avoid students? Don't want to be around raves and all that stuff you see in Malia and Aya Nappa. Don't like those places and don't want to be anywhere that's just full of students dancing puking and screwing in public.

4, What's a good starting amount of money? I have a bout £2K saved up. For a guy who just wants to go surfing and get a day job. I don't want anything materialistic. I just want to chill.

I've never done anything like this before. Can somebody give me some advice about spending about six months abroad before I come back to my shambles of a life.

2. Posted by Andyf (Respected Member, 284 posts) 12 Nov '13 12:57

Hey Marc

Sounds fairly normal to me actually!

I'm 42 and still wondering what I'd like to do with my life. Well, almost. And I definitely need a measure of solitude to balance out the company.

Sorry i know nothing about surf spots. But English will get you by in western and Mediterranean Europe, apart from any local phrases you want to learn for fun and courtesy. Same goes for the Caribbean, south and s e asia, n America and A/NZ. The only places you really need worry are s America, the orient, and the former Soviet union & parts of eastern Europe. Which mostly aren't surf spots.

Good luck with your travels.

Andy

3. Posted by tatianaabreu (Budding Member, 72 posts) 12 Nov '13 13:07

Hey Mark,

1. If you want to surf in Europe you might head to a country on the Atlantic coast. Portugal is one of the best european destinations for surfers. Life is quite cheap although there are little chances you'll find a job there with the current economical crisis and without speaking the language. During high season (summer) you'll probably find crowded beaches and many other surfers, but off-season the beaches will be almost empty, only with few local surfers. But even during Summer, from the "Silver Coast" to the Algarve you will find dozens of perfect beaches for surfing and i'm sure you'll find your peace in some more hidden beaches. Other places popular among surfers are the west coast of France, the northwest coast of Spain and (not in Europe but close) Morocco.

2. It really depends on the job you might find, but in general you need to have at least a basic level of the language in order to be able to communicate/understand (especially if working in beach bars/restaurants, hostels/hotels and other easy-to-get jobs). Another option could be trying to work for surf schools (in case you're already a good surfer) and maybe knowing the language would be not so relevant because many of the students come from abroad and speak in english.

3. In Europe you will find many surfers but not the typical surf scene you find in places such as Brazil, Australia or California. There are beach parties sometimes (mostly in Summer) but most of them take place in bars/clubs and not directly on the beach and attending them or not is completely your choice.

4. In Portugal, renting an appartment is not very expensive, you can find a budget place for 150-300€/month depending on the location. You can have decent meals for 5-10€. Transportation is not expensive ( an example, Lisbon-Faro, almost 300km by bus = 20€).
Morocco is even cheaper than Portugal, Spain about the same, and France more expensive.

For a first-time traveller i would totally recommend that you read as much as possible about the destination (Europe) before coming: try to find a good guidebook, search for infos on the web, look for the cheapest options of flying here/back home.. asking for advice in a forum is always a good start but you should do some of the research on your own to be sure you'll choose the destination that best suits you. You should also make some choices concerning the way you want to travel: will you choose just one place and stick to it during the 6 months? Will you travel from one place to another? What kind of transportation you want to use (bus, train, hitchhiking, car rental, bike, cheap flights, the options are endless), same for accommodation (renting, staying in hostels/hotels, using exchange websites such as couchsurfing/wwoofing, etc).

Don't worry about being an introvert. I've been an introvert for all my life and i was extremely surprised to find out i become much more open and interested by others when i am travelling. It may happen to you or not, but in any case, i think you're making the right choice about going for this solo trip and wish you good luck!!

4. Posted by noincue (Budding Member, 30 posts) 13 Nov '13 00:21

If you're looking at 6 months of travel, i would really make sure to go with at least 3 months that could cover you (say 1500 euros p/m) minimum. I did something similar when i first began traveling and went to Canada (from Australia) with the intention of staying a year. I barely got by on what i was making whilst i travelled and my extra saved money, about $2500 went really quickly.

Best of luck!:)

5. Posted by Steve79 (Respected Member, 320 posts) 13 Nov '13 01:12

Hi Marc,

Can’t offer much advice on your surf related question I am afraid, but I can say I think you’d be surprised how many people in their 20s, 30s, 40s and even older don’t know what they want to do with their lives.

I’ve 34 and have no idea what I want to do and I didn’t go travelling for the first time until I was 30.

I am also quiet and quite introverted, but as another poster said when I went travelling I became more open, confident and outgoing, I think it is because you meet a different bunch of people to those when you are at home/work.

Anyway good luck with every thing.

6. Posted by volkulja (Budding Member, 5 posts) 13 Nov '13 02:59

I agree about Portugal, it's a very good surfing spot and the things for your every day life are not expensive. Besides, the portuguese people is very nice and friendly.

7. Posted by Jonny Jenkins (Budding Member, 37 posts) 13 Nov '13 05:26

Hi Mark,

Unfortunately you're looking at arguably the most expensive continent to start in, so you certainly want to leave with a fair amount of cash. If you find a place to settle down and can find a day job then you're cash will go a lot further, but I would say plan for AT LEAST two months where you're budgeting (1000 - 1500 euros per month)... in other words I totally agree with noincue, though I do believe that if you find your little surf local, and can cook for yourself and not drink too much, you'll get by cheaper.

As for Surf, France and Portugal are great places to go. The major advantage to Portugal is that you will get by a lot easier in English. It is probably the best place to start, but check out France if you can as well.

Furthermore, the economic situation in these countries isn't really booming, so expect to have some difficulties finding work and maybe start looking as soon as you find a place to settle down.

Cheers mate

Post 8 was removed by a moderator
9. Posted by tropicanababe (Budding Member, 13 posts) 24 Nov '13 12:52

Hi Marc,
I was interested to read your post.. I am a mature women with two grown up kids and a 13 yr old son..
My daughter , 23 yrs old, has just done Ibiza season last summer , doing promotional work there, and is off to the Alps next sunday for the winter ski season. She is nervous and is worried she wont make any friends. No matter what though, i think if you want something enough you will go out there and get it. Whether its news friends, a quiet beach with no riff raff drunken idiots or a job that earns you good money. What we believe about ourselves we will create in our lives, even if its bad thoughts... so think positively and what you really really do want...
My daughter , like you doesnt know what she wants to do in life. But, she knows that she doesnt want a dead end job stuck in an office .
Try not to get too down about life. Think positive thoughts and good positive things will happen. Try not to dwell on the negative side of things .
I am reading a short good book about personal development and its says , "The more we dwell on what we dont want in life., the more we will get exactly that " Its by Louise Hay. You are who you are and you should love yourself, cos if you dont, then know one else will either.
Obviously it depends where you go as to the language barrier or not. Austrailia or NZ clearly you dont.. Nor of course for US. great surfing out there apparently. The summer season (Nov-March) coming up in Austrailia !!
You havnt failed because you see your life as a shambles.... what is happening , is happening, and there isnt any point in fighting it.. Accept it for what it is right now. Go with the flow, as i believe everything in life happens for a reason... If you want something badly enough though, you will go out there and get it.
I have had some terrible experiences in my life and it has made me stronger and the person i am today.
I have also had it pretty hard as a single mother, with little financial , emotional , or practical support.
I am a firm believer in hanging on in there and finding your way in life by thinking positively and appreciating the good things we have. If you go abroad dont see your return to UK as a shambles... see it as just the next step along lifes path, and think of the experiences you will have gained abroad.
You are a strong person and even stronger because you dont depend on other people to help you along.
However, i do believe we are social creatures, so to some extent you may need folk along the way for whatever reasons.
I think when you meet people, you should use your gut instincts and go by them. Im sorry but i cant help you that much with locations abroad, but i do have 55 yrs under my belt on this planet and what i can say is this. Most people are good people and want to help you, but there are the odd few who will be the opposite. I wish you all the luck in the world finding a good place to surf.... what a great sport !! Being a beach bum !! nothing nicer. xx Best wishes from jenny xx

10. Posted by hottrip_net (Budding Member, 2 posts) 24 Nov '13 15:45

Portugal is a great choice for you. Portugal offers a much more interesting: the old buildings, rich history, modern life, ect. so be sure to visit Portugal