I backpacked across Europe for two weeks and slept on overnight trains and in budget Airbnbs.
I didn't expect to use my iPad every day, but it surprisingly brought me a lot of comfort.
Drawing, watching TV, and reading in transit and at night helped me feel more at home.
When I packed my iPad for a two-week trip to Europe, I figured I'd use it once or twice. I was wrong.
During my backpacking trip last October, I flew and traveled on sleeper trains to four European countries: Germany, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland. And I used my iPad every day to watch TV, read, and draw.
Before my trip, I downloaded guidebooks for each country I visited. Once I was in Europe, I downloaded a few episodes of my favorite TV shows to comfort me, which I usually watched around bedtime.
My iPad helped me pass the time on planes and trains
When I'm traveling by train or plane, I find that being stuck in one space for several hours makes time go by slowly. So when I was in transit in Europe, I read about the sights that awaited me in my guidebooks.
These books helped me decide how to spend my time in each location and built up my excitement for my upcoming adventures. Downloading them onto my iPad also helped me avoid bringing physical books that would take up too much space.
Watching comfort shows made me feel more at home each night
Whether I was in an Airbnb or on an overnight train, watching TV and enjoying my hobbies made me feel more grounded at bedtime. Some nights, I used my iPad to draw cover art for my band with the Procreate app. On other nights, I found comfort in my favorite TV shows.
I'll admit that using my iPad so much during a trip made me feel guilty at first. I should be immersing myself in these experiences, I thought. But by the end of the trip, I was able to give myself a break.
Traveling is enriching, but it can also be uncomfortable. So I decided that there's no shame in turning to familiar activities to help me relax during my downtime.
But when I find myself on a long-distance train watching TV for hours, I don't forget to look out the window every once in a while and take in the views. Trains travel through spectacular landscapes, charming towns, and bustling cities.
In between episodes of "The Office" during overnight train rides in Europe, looking out the window was a constant reminder that I was on my way somewhere — and my excitement grew for the upcoming destination.
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