• Katie Trojak

4 Continents in 6 Months

There’s a lot of work that goes into planning any trip, no matter the location. But to visit 4 continents in 6 months took even more than usual.


It took coincidence, willpower, and a little bit of luck on top to make it all happen. And the fact that it occurred by accident makes it even more astounding.


So before anyone starts assuming I spent an exorbitant amount of money or anything else, let me explain how I got to 4 continents already in 2019.


North America


A beautiful summer sunrise from my window in suburban Pennsylvania

This one isn’t hard. I was born and lived in the United States until 2018 and it’s still where my passport is from.


Since I moved away, I’ve come back for Christmas and during the springs to visit home and see my family. Coming back to a place I know so well is always like walking through a memory at first until I settle back in to the differences and quirks that makes the states so unique.


It’s a plus that we speak English, too.


Europe


The Tower of London on a bright day

I’ve been living in London since I left the US in 2018 so I could attend University at King’s College London. It’s my main residency and my student visa is still valid (more information on how I got mine here!).


You can usually find me in England during any school semester, though on breaks or summer holidays I’m generally off somewhere else in the world.

Tower Bridge from the North side of the Thames

Europe is an easily accessible continent and is fun to explore. I love London during any season, from its markets to restaurants to art shows to museums to streets. The feeling is electric and old all at once and it’s such an amazing place to study.


London is one of the most amazing cities, if not the most amazing city, in the world and I can’t wait to get back to it in the fall.

A typical cloudy day as I cross the Thames to get to class

Living on a continent so small and developed means that it’s really easy to get around, so I love taking short trips to other countries. Last year, I took short trips to Italy, Spain, and Scotland, not to mention a longer trip through France and Italy when a friend came to visit.


It might not be as cheap as other continents, but it is very convenient when you live right there.


Asia

The famous Bund in Shanghai after dark

This summer, I stumbled then raced into an opportunity to teach in China. Through my University, I became connected with Gotoco (read more about my experience with them here!), who connected me with a summer camp just outside of Shanghai.


I had a volunteer visa with one entry into China and I hope to go back next year.

I lived there for about 6 weeks and taught music, kayaking, and swimming while helping out with other activities in a dual language environment.


Just a normal day at Jing'An Temple in Shanghai

One of the aims of the camp was to help the children become more confident in their English abilities by being fully immersed in it. Because of this, we got kids with all levels of English. Some had lived in America and were fully fluent whereas others needed a translator at all times.


Every weekend the counselor had the chance to go into Shanghai, so I got to know the city incredibly well. My favorite place was Yu Gardens. It was so alive with people and culture and after dark, the entire city lit up.

Yu Gardens just next to the tea house and koi pond

It was also incredibly different from home and I found that most people on the street didn’t speak English, but don’t let that deter you from visiting. The excellent exchange rate making everything cheap is more than enough to compensate.


After camp, I travel for about 4 weeks through China and Korea. Some was with a friend of mine but most was by myself with my parents checking in via text. It was daunting, but I absolutely loved it.


Spending so much time there helped me feel like I really got to know China and Asia, but it wasn’t enough time. I’m crossing my fingers on a return soon!


South America

A gorgeous sunny day at Convent of Santa Cruz de la Popa

It’s so lovely to still be very connected with your family back home because you still get to go on vacation with them. And because you’re a struggling Uni student, they offer to pay for you.


My family is definitely more into budget travel than vacation, the main difference being how much relaxing you get to do, so a calm vacation like this one was so exciting for us. I loved the time with my family and to breathe while looking out over the deep blue water.


Though it was short, we had a day in Colombia on this trip. It was only a taste of what I hope someday is a much longer trip, but it was enough to say that I’ve been to South America now which was a check off my bucket list.


It was an exciting city to explore with beautiful views all around. But it was also one of the places I’ve felt most uncomfortable; I felt that I stuck out like a tourist’s sore thumb.

There were people littering the streets trying to sell us everything from food to sunglasses. Even so, I loved my time there and the coffee was divine.


It’s a huge hope of mine to return to South America and see past just a day’s tour of a crowded, but lovely, city.

Colored buildings were everywhere, lighting up the city

I never forget how hugely lucky I am to travel so much and to have access to the opportunities I do. But I also want to encourage those around me to seek out chances that will take you to foreign destinations. Traveling takes a lot of work, but is never as impossible as it seems.


And hey, it can’t be that hard if this struggling University student managed to make it to 4 continents in 6 months.

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