30 Countries By 30: My Month Long Journey Through Europe (Week 1 Recap)

In my first week, I went to three countries: England, France, Belgium. Here are my highlights.

My second week’s countries are Netherlands, Germany, and Czech Republic.

One of my proudest achievements is capturing this photo of the Eiffel Tower.

London, England:

One of my proudest achievements is capturing this photo of the Eiffel Tower.
One of my proudest achievements is capturing this photo of the Eiffel Tower.

I came to London with a dollar and a dream to party like they do across the pond. But if I’m honest, it was probably the British people I encountered in Colombia that led me to London. It was something about their witty honesty that attracted me. I had thought about visiting London before and perhaps I would have, but it was a desire to know more about these curiously wonderful British people (and a relatively cheap flight) that made London my first stop.

I arrived on a Wednesday afternoon , after a delayed flight from Medellin, Colombia landed me in a hotel in Bogota, Colombia. When I got there I went straight from the airport to the underground (or tube as they refer to it). My bag was a traveller’s duffel and definitely not fit for wearing as a backpack. Nevertheless, I tried to carry it on my back to my detriment. So my first interaction was apologizing to an American who I had accidentally hit with my huge bag. After a few stops, I got off near London bridge and walked to my hostel, an popular party place that a British friend had recommended. There was live band karaoke (I love karaoke, but didn’t sing this time). I did impress a few people with my dance moves, including an American med-school student who said “I’m not usually this forward, but do you want to make out?”

Thursday was a great time as well. I went into town to see some of the major sights, did a bus tour, and of course bought more clothes to squeeze into my already overpacked bag. I also met a few people who invited me out with them, got to practice my Spanish with some traveling Spaniards, and drank Jack Daniels for the first time since college.

The weekend was a blast and is now a blur. I can say I went to one of the largest night clubs both Friday and Saturday. The line (or queue as it is called in London) was outrageous on Saturday. I waited for two hours. The only good part of that was that I made some friends and the bar closed at 5am. I booked a hotel for Saturday i (just in case ;)) but check-out was at 10am. So when I finally returned at 6am Sunday morning, I knew I would have a hard time checking out. To make up for this, I visited Pop & Rest, a bar in London where you can pay to take a nap and had the best nap of my life. So worth! Afterwards, I headed to Starbucks to order a “red-eye” and they had no idea what it was!

Paris, France:

One of my proudest achievements is capturing this photo of the Eiffel Tower.
One of my proudest achievements is capturing this photo of the Eiffel Tower.

Paris is one of the places I was most nervous to visit because, well, I don’t speak French and everyone kept telling me that I should learn some French before going. I never got around to it. I literally knew 3 French words. But in the end, it was fine. While yes, everyone assumed I spoke French and continued to talk to me even after I looked at them dumbfounded, they were happy to speak with me in English.

At Starbucks I asked the Barista if he spoke English, and he looked at me as if I had spit on his foot, before responding “of course”. But if I read the situation right, he was more concerned that I had to ask if he spoke English rather than the fact that I didn’t speak French.

I spent maybe half an hour just staring in awe at the Eiffel Tower, wondering how something so magnificent could be made by people. Then I took a boat tour and saw the city a little more. I also bought a new backpack!

Brussels, Belgium:

One of my proudest achievements is capturing this photo of the Eiffel Tower.

Brussels was also beautiful and had a stunning architectural style and lots of cool restaurants. While I didn’t spend much time in the city (work to do), I enjoyed a relaxing stroll that was less crowded than London or Paris. I noticed that there was many refugees or displaced people in Brussels. They didn’t bother me at all.

When it got dark, I took a second stroll that landed me in a karaoke bar. There I met a few cool people and sang some of Queen’s top hits. Afterwards, we stopped from some classic after-bar food.

By this time, I was wishing I could stay another night in Brussels but I knew that I would have an equally great time in Amsterdam!

DJ Jeffries Subscriber

DJ Jeffries is a self-proclaimed “intrapreneur” and entrepreneur with an obsession for challenging the status quo. A graduate of Southern Illinois University Carbondale, he’s been awarded the Bill & Melinda Gates Millennium Fellowship, the University Innovation Fellowship (through Stanford University) and the Richard B. Fisher Fellowship (Morgan Stanley). He is the founder and editor of , an online motivation publication, the host of the Hacking Happiness podcast, and is currently an HR Innovation Analyst at Morgan Stanley.

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