It’s been another week or two since I’ve posted. Since that time, I did a minor trip swinging through Wien, Bratislava, and Budapest. I spent Christmas in Slovenia with Vesna’s family and then took off a week days ago to Berlin. This whole christmas-new years week was definitely the least planned part of my trip and I’ve come to realize how poor an idea this was, considering the major holidays and the possibility that hostels/hotel would completely sell out! Especially coming to Berlin, a major international city, and trying to bum my way around without planning anything was definitely not a smart thing to do, but things have managed to work out quite well!
My latest theory is that traveling is something like being a pinball in a giant machine or a domino that you want to push over and start a chain of awesome events. You want to be as extroverted as possible to meet new people, who open up new opportunities for you or give you help. This applies to real life as well, but I find especially while traveling in foreign country with completely different language and culture, knowing someone local can make a world of difference in understanding things.
For example: I got the idea to come to Berlin because I asked twitter where I should go in Europe last week. Someone suggested 26C3, a hacking/social conference. It looked like something interesting to do for 4 days, so I made the plans! I showed up the first night of the conference without housing, so I sent out some emails to people and eventually found a free bed for the last night of the conference with Paul, a CS student here in Berlin. The conference finished up on the 30th, but Paul’s housing contract/lease was up this month and he had to out by January 1st! So, he let me stay with him in exchange for helping him move out. I spent most of the morning of the 31st carrying boxes and a couch down a couple flights of stairs. I then showed up at 7PM at Alexander Platz for Journey to the End of the Year, a massive Pacman style game, which I found out about via Paul and other people from the conference… I spent a couple hours running around Berlin with another German, Stephan, from the Blackforest. We got lost during the game, but met up at the after party, around 10PM. That party sucked, so I jumped ship with some other guys I met from Darmstat, Florian and Lucas, and we picked up fireworks from their apartment to shoot off at midnight. Florian and I traded emails and I kept hanging out him for the next few days, hitting up a science museum, since we are both engineers.
Long story short, I had a great time running around meeting random people in Berlin. With no plan, a bit of luck, and throwing myself out there, I’ve gotten pretty far!