Independence, standards, and skills. What’s it all about?

Travel is defined as going from one place to another. Whether that happens alongside a couple of friends enjoying a warm summer trip or going skiing with your family on a cold winter vacation, every travelling experience is a fun one.
Tim Grech, a 21-year-old student, is well travelled. He recently visited six different countries by train. Using an Interrail Pass, Grech visited Austria, Germany, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Grech completed this tour without paying a cent on transportation.
He applied for a scheme which paid for his train journeys – even his flight to and from Malta!

Grech made it a point to fit in as many things as possible in his itinerary. He mainly visited museums and went on free walking tours. There was lots of walking involved!

Tim explained that the walking tours were a remarkable experience. It’s not every day that a local is willing to give you a tour on foot around a city. However, there is a donation involved.

When asked about differences between the different cultures he experienced, Grech said that he saw higher general standards in the countries he visited. He noted that abroad public transport was always on time, everything was cleaner, locals were always willing to help, and the food was always up to scratch.

“When it came to culture it was always a welcoming and positive experience,” said Grech.

He mentioned the German Oktoberfest in Munich as an example of standards in culture. He said that the German event was different in comparison to how the event is held in Malta. He claims that in Germany things were more organised and civilised. Grech added that if you wanted something you knew where to get it from and you could do so with ease.

Grech said that the locals were more open to using public transport. He said that the people living in other countries were more laid back, except for those in Paris. Grech says that there, people were always on the move with trains constantly being used.

Experiencing a trip such as this one alone is not easy, especially if it’s the first time you’re visiting these countries. Grech stressed that he had to plan his day-to-day routine, his accommodation for the next country, the wise use of money, and public transport connections among other things. The use of skills he possessed was also vital. Navigation, cooking, and good preparation were the main skills highlighted by Grech.

When questioned if people should take up opportunities like these he answered that “it opens up our eyes to different cultures and makes us open-minded”.

He continued by saying he doesn’t think it’s right to stay in one’s home country or a single country and simply think that that’s the entire world. The values he learned through this trip were those of communication and independence. They’re values which can’t be learned through reading a book but rather through experiences like these.

Tim has some words of encouragement for people who have yet to embark on an experience like this or are perhaps making a decision about it now.

“Don’t give it a second thought and just go for it head first. Enjoy every single second of it, the good and bad”.

By Gianluca Vassallo Ciliberti interviewing Tim Grech
Young Reporter Eurodesk MT

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