Vienna Hotels Articles

August 26, 2010

Reflections: Why travel

Of all the years I spent in college, the one class, the one instructor, the one lesson that affected me the most was from my Computer Networking professor. What he had to say that day wasn’t about the topology of a network or how information is passed as packets through the internet. What he told us that autumn day was this:

“Guys, as soon as you graduate, before you get that job you’re hoping to get with this degree, do one thing. Travel. Somewhere – anywhere. It’s going to be the last time in a very long time any of you will have the opportunity.”

Well, for some reason, I took that lesson more to heart than any other lesson in my scholastic career. So that day, I went home to my wife and told her what I had learned and we agreed on a plan. We both had two years left before finishing our degrees, so we had two years to start saving for our summer of backpacking through Europe.

When on a trip that long, you can’t help but to meet people. Whether in a hostel, hotel or on the street, you meet many people from many walks of life.

After a short visit to Venice, my wife and I boarded an over-night sleeper train bound for Vienna. Those who have traveled by train in Europe know that unless you pay (a lot) for a private cabin, sleeper train cabins consist of six bunk beds to one compartment. We knew this ahead of time and were not surprised to see the reservation card on the outside of the compartment filled with four other passenger names. Since we were the first ones to arrive at the compartment, we claimed the two bottom bunks, stowed our gear and started discussing what language our decidely older bunk-mates would speak and if they would be pleasant or rude, smelly or clean.

To our great surprise and relief, the first two to arrive were a very pleasant, Engish-speaking younger couple from London. Actually, he was from London and she was from Belgium, but both were attending University in London. The four of us exchanged pleasantries and awaited the arrival of the remaining two of our temporary living companions.

It wasn’t much longer before two more young people came along, dragging their packs behind them, no doubtedly wondering in equal anticipation if their bunk-mates would be able to understand them when they said they were from Ft. Worth, Texas. What?! Ft. Worth, TX? It turned out that our remaining travel-mates were a newly-wed couple

who had just graduated from a university in Fort Worth, about 30 minutes from our home!

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