I just came back from my coolest trip ever! This Spring Break I went with a group of European exchange students to New Orleans. We had such a blast partying on Bourbon Street. Later, five of us rented a car to go on a road trip. We drove as far as to Houston in Texas. The pictures are on facebook now, you can go check them out.
Now that I think about it, how did my companions make this trip so enjoyable? The answer is simple.
The European exchange students do not hold back on spending money. If you have traveled far enough to another city by flight or whatever, the most stupid thing you can do is not paying the money for getting into parks, going out at night, and tasting the local cuisines. I have seen people thinking that 20 euro is too expensive to get into an Aquarium in Lisbon, after paying the 200 euro flight ticket. Other people save money on buying cheap fast food all the time. Seriously, get real.
The European exchange students are all older compared the Asian and American friends I have here. With age comes life experience. My travel companions all know how to drive, how to party and have fun as if there is no tomorrow. They have all traveled the world so all of them can talk about interesting topics and stories from their trips. They got good people skill, speak a few languages, can chat up any random stranger and hold an interesting conversation for at least half a hour.
When you are traveling with the European gang, there is much room for improvisation. Before flying to New Orleans, we booked the return tickets for a week. Since nobody knew how the city would be like, we just booked the hostel for 4 nights. After the 4 nights, we felt we saw most of the Bourbon Street. And since the hostel was full so the reservation couldn't be extended, we decided to go on a road trip. After renting the car, there was a small debate of either going west or east from New Orleans. The decision was made by a coin-flip: west we go. After eating lunch in the wilderness of Louisiana next to a wild alligator and walking on the beach of Mexican gulf, another coin-flip decided that we drive to Texas. Eventually Houston. If I knew before that we'd end up in Houston anyway, I'd be less excited when seeing Houston on the horizon.
Most crucial of all, the European students have a good worldview. Living your life isn't about money, family, or power. Since being alive is a fact, what you should be doing is maximizing your joy. Life doesn't have to be enjoyed through huge successes, these things are naturally hard to come by. Life can be enjoyed through small pleasures such as taking a beer and talking about controversial topics like drinks, drugs or sex. The Europeans here know what they want, and they don't hesitate or be afraid of anything. If you know what you are doing, taking years off working as a bartender is not wrong. The money you make can be saved for travel expenses. A Danish friend here took a year off after high school. He used his saving to visit 45 countries. Whenever he gets to a place, he spends the day exploring the tourist attractions, and night to get into clubs to hook up with some local. His confidence is overwhelming. Not to say his sexual-confidence. After experiencing all the crazy things during this trip, I finally perceived the European's way of life. As an Asian-European, I will pick the best of both worlds.