Say hello to our first edition of our new #EPICLLAMASTORIES series. 👋

We’ll be featuring real stories from our awesome past epic llama travellers. They are unedited and true to the bone! This first story comes from Christine who joined recently joined ‘Adventure Wanderlust’ in June. Dive in and enjoy the read :)

Christin:

It was in march 2019 when I reunited with a group of friends which I hadn’t seen in a very long time. I believe I started talking about how I experience a lot of „Fernweh“ recently and that I would love to get out of town soon. My friend Tito then told me about EPIC LLAMA!

THE PRE-ADVENTURE

I was hooked right away and after I got home I instantly started researching it. I really needed some sort of adventure after a rough start of 2019. Since I have been traveling alone in the past and lived in different cities and places of the world going somewhere unknown didn’t make me nervous at all. Looking up the „llama-website“ I felt a bit skeptical though. Especially because of not knowing with whom I’d be traveling and about these challenges they were talking about. CHALLENGES? GAMES? ME??? That’s not my thaaaang, I thought. Not to mention HOSTELS, which I had written off after a horrible experience in a 16 bed dorm room in Madrid years ago.

So here I was filling in the application. Because well, there’s no danger in answering a few questions right? It’s not a commitment yet, right? Also parts of me were thinking, I probably won’t even go because they won’t choose me. But then filling in the lil questionnaire put a huge smile on my face and I felt this could be something amazing. I won’t tell you more about it, just: the questions are rather unconventional. ;-)

One day in May all the sudden I got the confirmation E-mail. It didn’t even cross my mind anymore that I applied for the adventure. But luckily I took those days off of work in advance. I had to make a quick decision! My fingers flew nervously above the keyboard of my laptop but then I remembered my just recently new rule: If you have to make a decision then do it in less than 30 seconds! So I hit YES, transferred the money and got excited. And also thinking: 

WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING?!

CONFIRMATION, PACKING & DEPARTURE

What did I expect you might ask? Well, I guess with the title of the adventure being called “Wanderlust“ I thought about hiking of some sort. Which then brought my mind to: bringing the wrong clothes, also no sleep because of a shared bedroom, way more additional expenses than expected, no me-time and lots of travel-stress because someone who’s not me planned the trip. hahaha. Ok, that was just the worst case scenario. I was also looking forward to new experiences, getting out of the city and feeling the thrill of not knowing what to expect. In the end it’s the internal conflict that makes it fun, right? Fighting that little pessimistic fearful and doubting self inside of you and prove them wrong! That was my mission.

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So here I was at the airport then with the smallest backpack ever and ready to go to a place I didn’t know yet. At the airport I was looking around to find my travel buddies – strangers I didn’t know anything about (yet). Four bananas and lots of colorful envelopes later I sat on a plane to a place I probably would have never thought of as a vacation spot. There was no hiking involved and it seemed I had just packed the right clothes for the right kinda weather. The travel went fine, the tribe got along well and at around 8:30 pm we arrived at the Hostel. After a quick check in there was no time to rest. The first challenges already awaited us.

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From the very beginning the group was very committed to the tasks for the evening and so after a bunch of little games we finally found this cute little traditional restaurant that gave us the warmest welcome and very happy tummies after a long arrival day. Prepared with ear plugs and filled with joy about how smooth everything went so far I slept as tight as I haven’t for a very long time. In an 8 bed dorm room!

The next morning I took some me-time and decided to not join the free walking tour around town. I found myself a nice Café and then took my own stroll through the streets which was beautiful. After lunch the group met up ready for the scavenger hunt! Since that’s the most surprising part of the planned adventure I won’t give away details about that. But I can say that all of us got out of our comfort zone while getting to know the city, locals and ourselves in a very unique way.

After a sunny challenging day we got ready for the pub crawl that the Hostel initiated. My worst nightmare. Because I associated it with a bunch of drunk and loud uncontrollable men. We went along anyway and what can I say… in the end we had an amazing night! The tribe and a few more people we met on our way somehow ended up in a karaoke bar singing classical rock anthems until the morning. I did not see that coming. It was amazing. 

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With not so much sleep we headed to our last adventure on our last day. A special guided tour through the city not organized by Epic Llama but recommended. Again an experience so unusual that I could’ve never guessed it. After that we went back to the Hostel, grabbed our backpacks and took a Taxi to the airport. Quick bite to eat, check-in and before we knew it we were already back home. 


THE POST ADVENTURE DEPRESSION

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Coming back to Berlin was surreal. I felt as if I just had spent a week or so on vacation. So many new impressions, faces, learning and fun events in such short time. To me the greatest part besides visiting a new place was, not having to organize or plan anything. I do like that too, but to just let things happen as they come without knowing what and how felt very liberating to me. I am usually rather a single traveler avoiding hostels and pub crawls all together. So the thought of all that was kinda challenging. But I can honestly say, I really enjoyed all of it. Especially since the Llama-tribe was brilliant! Thank you all for being there!

Now I keep asking myself what I am still doing here. Why I stopped traveling the world. I learnt that I am capable of traveling light without a lot of clothes or extras. Hostels can be nice, games in the streets are fun, and pub crawls can be nice too and also lead to an unforgettable karaoke night with strangers. Also everything about the trip and Epic Llama is filled with so much love and devotion, so many details and support starting at filling out the application all the way to the returning home part. I never felt left alone or scared. 

So don’t hesitate! Book your adventure and surprise yourself! I sure did surprise myself! Prepare for the most adorable E-mails, fun games, getting to know a new place in a whole new way and rise above yourself! No time to overthink it. Just do it.

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Christin is a Berlin-based freelance illustrator with a passion for self invention and radio broadcasting. Check out her awesome version of an actual ‘epic llama’ below! You can see more of Christin’s awesome illustrations on her Instagram. 🎨

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