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Contiki European Experience

April 29 to May 21, 2005

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Now that a year has past since I left for my trip, I have finally finished my travelogue.  These pages document the most significant trip of my life.  In the process of planning for the following trip, I read every travelogue I could find.  I loved how the travelogues were so personable.  I felt like I was on the coach and I was part of those tours.  The travelogues were an invaluable source for my preparation process.  Because of that, it was my obligation to create this site.  I hope to pass along at least some of the advice I took from similar sites before I left.
 
Most travelogue authors do not offer an introduction.  This leaves the reader guessing who it is they are reading about, where they are from, why they are traveling, etc.  Guess no longer.  I am Justin, an American, specifically from New Jersey.  At the time of the trip, I was 22 years old.  I have always harbored a desire to travel, despite growing up in a family that didn't travel.  Prior to the trip you are about to read about, my travel resume was laughable.  It consisted of a north-south range of Montreal to Miami and an east-west range of Boston to Cincinatti.  I know.  Pathetic.
 
Then I realized an opportunity arose.  I finished college, secured a job, saved the money, and accumulated the vacation days.  My dream gradually turned from a fantasy into a possibilty.  After visiting a travel agent and reading endless amounts of literature, the possibility turned into a reality.
 
I chose Contiki, a tour company based out of New Zealand, catering strictly to people in the 18 to 35 year old range.  I liked the idea of traveling with the same group of people for the duration of the tour.  Contiki's message boards were mobbed by almost unanimous praise of the company and the tours it offers.  The countless amount of travelogues I stumbled across shared this unanimity.  I further narrowed my choice to the European Experience tour.  I think it offered the best destinations of Western Europe for the amount of time I had to work with.  My tour's itinerary included ten countries.  I would use three different currencies, speak five languages and travel over 3,000 land miles.
 
Based on an experienced friend's recommendation, I booked the trip for the month of May.  He stated that I would get the best balance of weather during this month.  I wanted the contrast.  I wanted to see the bathers in the French Riviera and the skiers in the Alps.  My friend was right.  May is the perfect time of the year for this trip.
 
In addition to future travelers, this site was created for my tourmates and the people I crossed paths with along the way.  Those people made my trip what it was, an undeniable lifelong memory.  A year later, I think about this trip every single day.  Some of those people have a direct influence on how I view the world today.  You all know who you are.  I cannot thank you enough.
 
Please email me with questions, thoughts or whatever.  I love answering questions and helping people plan something similar for themselves.  Enjoy.

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