The travel bug bites us all in many different ways. Perhaps we are born into a traveling family, maybe it is a semester abroad, a trip for a family event or work related. Whatever it is that gives you your sense of wanderlust and exploration it grows and matures depending on how you feed it.
Europe is the place that taught me how to love travel. Moving there for study was something I certainly looked forward to but never thought would develop as it did. I though living in a foreign country was a big enough adventure, but soon I found myself seeking out all the countries, cultures and experiences I could on this historic and wonderful continent. I would say people can fall in love with traveling right in their own back yard, but Europe is special because the density of differences is so high in such an easily accessible space.
Europe has very distinct cultures. While demographics are similar in some regards, every country and in fact many parts of certain countries have their own languages and dialects, religions and traditions. Just get on a plane or a train and within a hour or so you can find a culture far different in outlook and values from the one you started in. Europe is a great place to learn that we are all very similar while having strong differences.
Climate and Topography
Europe sits comfortably between middle latitudes mostly, but there is something for everyone to experience. The frigid Scandinavia, Sunny Spain and Italy, Mountainous Bulgaria, Switzerland, Romania or the flatlands of Poland and the Low Countries. Virtually any and every type of sport and outdoors activity is available, here, even the island of Madeira allows for subtropical adventures.
The diversity of flora and fauna also is well expressed in the culinary traditions found all over the continent. Nature is well preserved in much of Europe even with vast capitals and industrialized societies. The quality control of available space and the traditions of thousands of years of food preparation yields impressive results.
The smaller size and high concentration of countries means that the landscape is more interconnected than many other stretches of land in the world. There are thousands of rail lines, roadways, airports available and the high frequency of border crossing makes for less hassle with agreements like the Schengen area.
History and Architecture
One of the most vivid mental images I have of Europe is the impressive architecture and the history associated with places and people. These living expressions of artistry, engineering and creativity show the values embodied in this culture. It is one that celebrates human achievement.