Summer plans to backpack through Europe

Kate Schumacher

While most students will be sitting out in the sun, swimming at the beach, or hanging with friends, junior Ellie Jaskowiak will be backpacking through Europe. Traveling through Greece, Italy, and Turkey, Jaskowiak will be staying at hostels while experiencing and learning about the cultures of other countries with eight other students.

Backpacking through Europe was not an out-of-the-ordinary idea for Jaskowiak and her friend who have always dreamed of experiencing this trip. “One of my oldest friends and I have always dreamed about going to Greece. She called me one night asking me what my plans were from June 27 through mid-July … surprisingly enough my parents said yes, with no hesitation, fate,” said Jaskowiak.

There is a set schedule, but there is also free time while backpacking. “The trip is a pilgrimage. We essentially will be following the footsteps of St. Paul and all the places he taught and wrote letters to. There is a certain theological aspect to this trip, but we will also be going to places for fun. In Santorini, we will be snorkeling in the caldera (volcano), in Rome we are attending a mass of the Pope. In Istanbul, we’ll be going to the grand bazaar, which is the largest market place in the world,” said Jaskowiak.
In order to get from place to place while backpacking, Jaskowiak will be traveling by several modes of  transportation. “We will be starting the trip in Athens … and either flying or taking ferries to get to the other destinations. I’m not 100 percent sure on all of the places on our itinerary, but I know we will be busy and tired,” said Jaskowiak.

Jaskowiak is more than ecstatic to leave for Europe. “On a scale of 1 to 10, I am a fifteen. You have no idea how pumped I am to go backpacking. [I’m] not going to lie, I’ve had a running countdown since January and now we are into only forty some days before departure,” said Jaskowiak.

Given the opportunity to travel to other countries gives Jaskowiak the chance to learn about different cultures. “I am so excited knowing about all the knowledge I will gain. Also, it will be interesting traveling to Turkey, where it is predominantly Muslim. I will be experiencing three distinct cultures, and it will be fun to compare them side by side. Also there obviously should be some sort of spiritual growth in the trip,” said Jaskowiak.

Having been given the trip of a lifetime, Jaskowiak will have to travel light, yet appropriately. “Being a girl in a foreign place can be a little intimidating, so I need to make sure I follow the cultures of the places I am going to,” said Jaskowiak.