Once upon a time I was given permission, by my university, to study in Milan for a semester. Almost immediately after booking my flights, I had made a wish list of all of the countries that I wanted to travel to in Western Europe.
However, as per a limited student loan and an obnoxious exchange rate at the time, those plans didn’t last long. I basically scrapped my initial travel plans and completely pivoted within 48 hours of living in Milan.
Instead of visiting the countries in Western Europe, that were initially on my travel wish list, I ate and shopped in cities and towns that were within a four hour train ride from Milan.
Fortunately I was lucky to have aunties and uncles who lived a train ride away. Instead of flying with my classmates to weekend destinations, outside of Italy, I would often visit towns and cities that were within the same region of where my family lived.
Evidently, I quickly learned the value of a day trip. I was constantly reintroduced to the concept of less is more, while discovering something new within the familiar.
While almost all of the countries from my initial wish list were cut, my list of visited cities, towns and villages, that were merely a train ride away, grew.
From Paris and Cinque Terre to Innsbruck and Florence, I drank it up like my first class of Prosecco.
Choosing to drink the whole bottle, rather than simply taste, turned out to be such an unexpectedly fulfilling way to travel. Nothing has filled my soul quite like the wanderlust that I experienced within four hours from my apartment in Milan.
It also really forced me to get to know Milan as the city that I love oh so much.
An Italian passport and three return trips later, my wish list for Western Europe continues to grow:
- France (always)
- Italy (always)
If you think of any additional countries within Europe, that are most definitely worth a visit, please let me know in the comments below !