After 33 days of personal enrichment, 12,500 kilometers of fun and sun in eight dream cities, we’re back where it all started – home sweet home. Needless to say, we’re a tad exhausted, but infinitely proud of all the experiences lived at the same time.
A quick mental-rewind takes us to … the hours of coexistence in the zeppelin. Our nerves that first day in Paris. The home-cooked dinner that Neils from Amsterdam prepared for four strangers: us. The fine-tuning our hips enjoyed practicing hoola-hoop in a Berlin park. The semi-debacle in Prague. The Budapest birthday bash that wrapped up at seven in the morning. The unequalled hospitality shown by Istambul’s citizenry. The night-life in Barcelona.
Regardless of whether this ExperienceLess journey is considered a success, the sense of achievement will forever occupy a prominent place in our hearts.
Even though our zeppelin trip has concluded, the spirit of ExperienceLess is still alive. From now on, it’s our intention, to “throw ourselves down” with our sign whenever we can. Not just as a pretext for filling up this blog, but because we can’t think of a more fun and spontaneous way to get to know cities and their people. Besides, it’s one of the coolest things any of us has ever done.
That’s why we encourage you to do the same. Crazy as it seems, just “thrown down” that sign and don’t hesitate to enlist help from locals and get ready for anything on earth to happen. If you can manage to tape, record, or otherwise document your experiences, send them on to us at: email@example.com and, well, hunky-dory.
Our journey was approaching its final stage and we could feel it in our bones. We arrived in Barcelona on a Thursday after a long day on the road. Fatigue had taken control of our bodies, but a burning desire to make the most of our last stop dissipated any hint of collective weariness. We still had three days of adventure ahead of us!
Barcelona stood before us majestic, just as it always does: good weather, a general hullabaloo everywhere, neighborhoods teeming with activity and the Mediterranean, finally, making its appearance on our travel log.
After one day of commiserating with friends, we pulled out our markers and drew up one of our posters with a by-now familiar message. On this occasion, we chose Plaza Macba to publicize our desire to live Barcelona. The seemingly endless array of skaters that congregate in this square daily delighted us with their gravity-defying leaps and showmanship. Not only did they provide us with entertainment, but also more than one close call, making this “sit” the most thrilling one to date.
It was here that we received a healthy smattering of smiles from Barcelonans passing by and an equally salubrious share of good advice. But the master plan was suggested by Guillen and Laura, who informed us that that very night Monjtuic (known as the “the magic mountain” of Barcelona) would be experiencing its most special night of the year, with all sorts of activities scheduled up and down the mountain. Not only were our new acquaintances kind enough to tell us, but they invited us to join them and other friends to experience it. We readily accepted!
Things kicked off at Laura’s house, where assorted mates joined in to prepare potato omelets to savor later that evening. Rumba concerts, Brazilian rhythms and Capoheira gym-dance exhibitions were among the night’s entertainment fare. Words of gratitude are forwarded to Guillen, Laura and all their pals for the convivial hospitality shown.
Once again, our sense of being ExperienceLess vanished, thanks to the input and good vibes of others.
The last few weeks have been hectic at trourist, from a product standpoint, as well as the communication of same. We’re not saying this as an excuse to explain our lack of activity in this space. Quite the contrary.
From a product perspective, as many of you know, we’ve been operating in private beta mode for a month-and-a-half. We are painfully aware of the need to bring things up to speed in a number of areas. We’re working on it. We also want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have dedicated the time and effort to get in contact with us and share a slew of ideas and suggestions.
Our intention is to open trourist officially after this summer of 2009, when those functions that you’ve sorely missed are up and operating and when it will be easier to consult our site for experiences in high-interest destinations. The goal is not an easy one, but we firmly believe in your passion and desire to share with us those special moments that distinguish one city from another. This is why we recommend that, if you’re planning to hit the road this summer, take along a Moleskine to jot down trourist experiences.
From a communications view, we’re flying. We’ve just come back from ExperienceLess, our promotional campaign to increase awareness of the trourist philosophy. People in the most diverse cities have responded in an overwhelmingly positive manner, much better than expected, in fact. We’ve spread the word in Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Istambul, Dubrovnik and Barcelona. The experience has been one that will remain indelible for all of us. If you look at our ExpereinceLess blog, you’ll be able to read about our current activities and enjoy the videos that we’ve been hanging along the way. Be sure to check it out!
Lastly, let me take a timeout to make a wish for you all: This summer enjoy your trips to the max. It’s the only way to have fun and learn at the same time. And remember – keep traveling real.
Istambul, a city where East meets West and Europe merges with Asia, has captivated a place in our hearts forever. Not only because of the reigning chaos that prevails on each and every street, but also, and perhaps especially, because of the unceasing hospitality and vitality of its people, determined as they are to always put their best foot forward.
We arrived in what was once Constantinople, capital of the Byzanntine Empire one Friday night, and during our first four days, we saw no need to pull out our magic markers and write new posters. Tips from locals came with unprecedeted ease, sometimes after chatting with someone for just five minutes. Never in our wildest expectations did we expect to have our kickoff visit to local drinking holes end up on the Bosphorus, sharing beers with native Turks. Nor the next night when we followed up our initial romp with a sort of karaoke bash, singing our lungs out till five in the morning.
As if things weren’t going well enough already, we did do a special “sit”. The results were remarkable. We do not exagerrate when we say that it took a record 25 seconds for someone to come up with a program of activities that really permitted us to get to know the city and its people. First, there was Damla, an exceedingly friendly and interesting writer, who took us to dine at her favorite restaurant. Subsequently, an amiable lad named Ahmet led us to a place where smoking a water pipe took on a whole new dimension.
Without question, arriving as an ExperienceLess visitor to an unknown city has been one of the most enrichening and fun experiences any of us has ever had. Istambul wins hands down as the city that managed to make us feel most welcome. What a pity that our trip is winding down and the number of stages left dwindles with each passing day.