Travel plans and shoestrings

22 June 2011

I am going away next Tuesday. All by myself and for five days. The occasion is another PhD seminar, this time in Graz, Austria. Graz is VERY far away from Lyon, in fact about 1200km. A bit long for a bike ride, I reckon…so I have been planning this trip for a little while now. I set myself the challenge to travel on a shoestring. And I have to say, I think I made it! The whole of the five days will set me back by less than 140 Euros, including the return journey AND accommodation. Now I am just a bit proud of myself, because at my ripe old age, I can still travel like a student. The journey itself is not entirely straight forward though, and I reckon it will be full of surprises. I am setting out from Lyon next Tuesday morning on a Eurolines bus to Zurich. This will be an exciting journey, as I expect a somewhat colourful array of passengers on the bus… Once in Zurich, I can hang out for 5 hours, before catching an overnight train to Graz. I will be sleeping in an all ladies’ six bunk compartment on the train. I am hoping to arrive in Graz early Wednesday morning, well rested and just in time to grab a coffee and try not to get lost find my way to the seminar venue. I decided not to not book a hotel in Graz — anyone can do expensive, right?– but instead I will (at long last) be couchsurfing. I found a host who sounds absolutely lovely and I am looking forward to this experience. To me, this seems like a perfect combination. I feel like I am undertaking an ‘adventurous journey’ (this is what they officially called Linus’ outing for the International Award 🙂 ) and get an intellectual workout at the same time, i.e. the seminar. I am so excited about the journey though, that I have neglected my academic preparations pitifully. I’ll see to that tomorrow during the day and on Friday morning. I also need to find out about Graz, because I have been so concerned about getting there and back home at almost no cost 😉 that I don’t know what to expect there. By the way, my man thinks I am a bit crazy doing a student thing like that, he would have been happy for me to fly out and book a plush hotel, but I think it will be a great experience, and, after all, I AM a student again, so this is a perfectly apt thing to do… On reflection, may be there is an element of ‘self rejuvenation therapy’ in there as well… Does this term exist? I am not sure. If it hasn’t been taken, maybe I should claim it and write a bestseller about it. I am happy to do extensive research on ‘budget travel and its effects on well-being and procrastination of the aging process’. Wow, doesn’t THAT sound like a worthwhile project?
Before I get carried away any further with the planning of this new research project (what’s happening here? Inspiration strikes me like thunder and I haven’t even had a water-free espresso this afternoon!), I’ll see to cooking the dinner and sorting the kids. But I’ll be back soon!

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