Scott H Young

I’m Back From Europe


I’ve spent the last month traveling through Europe, specifically England, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Belgium. Articles continued to appear, twice per week, because I published them before I left. However, this is actually my first time sitting down to write in over a month.

I won’t go into too much detail of my trip. I leave the extensive travel writing to more talented hands. But I will share a few thoughts arising from my recent adventures.

1. Even the Slow Kid in Denmark Speaks Three Languages

I was amazed, as in a Norwegian store, the sales clerk switched between chatting in Norwegian to the other workers, flawless English and again over to Spanish with another customer. Or when our tour of Copenhagen in three languages wasn’t a recording, but one person repeating the information three times in Danish, English and then German.

North America is largely monolingual. Even living in Canada, an officially bilingual country, I’ve only recently started to seriously learn French. When not just a few linguistic geniuses, but almost an entire population are fluent in 2, 3 or 4 languages, it shows that second-language acquisition can’t be a talent for just a select few.

2. I Prefer People to Places

I visited plenty of tourist spots along my trip: Big Ben, The Little Mermaid, Manneken Pis and Oslo’s crying baby. But considering the cost of traveling, I found this aspect of my trip underwhelming. I’m not the kind of person with a checklist, hoping to cross off life experiences like a to-do list.

The best experiences were staying with English relatives in Whitstable, my sister’s former host family in Denmark or with a Belgian family who spoke little English and rapid-fire French. I think in traveling, like in life, it’s the things that never make it to a checklist that you enjoy most.

3. Vacations (Or the Magic of WordPress Timestamps)

For the first time since I started this website, I took an entire month without doing (almost) any work. I didn’t open a document to write once. I didn’t work, examine or expand any projects. Aside from moderating a few comments and paying a bill or two, I didn’t do any work towards this website.

Taking the time off was great, especially with a busy travel schedule. It was nice not to have to worry about leaving the blog empty since I knew a month’s worth of content was coming down the pipeline.

However, I missed working by the end of the trip. I’ve realized I enjoy life most when it involves waking up early to write and work through the day on personal projects. Now that I’m back from my vacation I can regain my energy by doing some work.

Improvements for Next Time

One element of my trip that disappointed me was being unable to meet up with more people through this website on my travels. I had several requests to meet up, but it was impossible with my schedule.

I felt the trip was overplanned, as well. Most of this was due to coordinating with family while visiting my sister in Denmark. However, in future travels I think a more spontaneous route might be more freeing.

EnglandDenmarkSweden


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10 Responses to “I’m Back From Europe”

  1. Hey Scott, hope you enjoyed England. When you were here we have had the worst weather for a long time. But I hope we treated you well. Is this a travelling arrangement to prepare you for moving to France?

  2. Wow, not a months break in 3 years! I just started a blog on personal development earlier this week, and I now see what I am up for ;)

  3. Scott Young says:

    Richard,

    The trip was spurred to visit Northern Europe with my sister who lived there for a year. I’ll be living in the south so I’m planning for a completely different set of travel experiences.

    Karthik,

    I haven’t taken a month off before because I love writing and I haven’t needed to take a month off before. But, if you want more vacations, blogging is probably one of the most flexible activities for that.

    -Scott

  4. steve says:

    Hey Scott, It’s evident you love travel AND writing. Perhaps you might enjoy another vacation much sooner if you mixed the two. After you have a month or 2 worth of posts banked, you could look into couchsurfing.com. If you contacted people, giving them plenty of advance notice that you’ll be coming through in a given 2 to 4 week period, only not staying a definite time, you could travel for almost twice the time you have the pre-written posts saved. You could take advantage of internet cafes, etc to meet new people, introduce them to what you do(and possible them to us!). Then use your experiences about writing, staying fit and continuing to work on your goals WHILE traveling as fodder for new posts. Just a thought since I know you’re open to suggestions. Glad you had fun.

  5. Jake says:

    Welcome back Scott!

    Glad to hear about your trip. Are you moving to the south of France? I may have missed the blog where you indicated this.

    Good for you!

  6. Anthony says:

    Is that you in the Absolut Icebar picture? :)

  7. Scott Young says:

    Anthony,

    No definitely not me–it’s the bartender. Just one of my better pics from Sweden, so I thought it deserved to go up. Also, didn’t think the readers here would appreciate a slideshow of me standing in front of various landmarks.

    -Scott

  8. Vlad Dolezal says:

    Scott, I found the exact same thing as your point 2. That’s also why learning esperanto was the second most useful language for me to learn (after english), because you meet the most awesome people through esperanto speakers’ meetups. But most people just don’t understand when I try to explain how a language without its own country spoken only by hobbyists can be “useful”.

    Also, I would have liked to meet up with you in England or Belgium (I’ve been in both places this summer), but I was off on holiday when you visited them. Oh well, maybe another time.

  9. Dave says:

    If you want to learn more about traveling, having the spontaneous attitude you mentioned, and the mobile lifestyle you desire, I highly recommend reading Vagabonding by Rolf Potts. I read it over 3 years ago; I struggle to go a day without thinking about it. It may have been the most influential book I’ve read in my life.

  10. Adel-Alexander says:

    Oh! I asked you on the other post how the trip to Denmark went.

    Yeah, most people in Denmark knows at least 3 languages. Thing is.. Danish/Swedish/Norwegian is pretty much the same language, just another dialect. I can understand Swedish and Norwegian people without a problem so I can speak danish with them. German and Danish has some similarities between each other so most danes can also speak german by default. :)

Debate is fine, flaming is not. Pretend that this comment form is a discussion taking place in my house. That means I enjoy constructive criticism and polite suggestions. Personal attacks, insults and all-purpose nastiness will be removed especially if it is directed at other readers.

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