So in case you might not have noticed, summer is here! Sure, if you live close to the polar circle that might not sound as exciting to you, but the truth is that there have been some degrees more in temperature, and we need to take advantage of that. To add to that great summer factor, there's the vacation factor! If you're a student of any kind, you most likely have A LOT of free time right now. Time is something that once you put it to good use, you'll be creating great memories, to have for yourself or to share with others.
Enough rambling. I came upon a post recently, and in short, this guy wants to go see Homestory Cup 5, in person. But he's Polish, so he probably does not have as much $ as germans. He doesn't care, all he wants is to get there and see the miracle with his own eyes. It reminded me of my own event adventure, last year, when I went to Dreamhack Summer. It was my first time seeing such a LAN, and first time seeing the pro players, and crowds cheering. I can't even describe how nice that was.
So this guy inspired me, and I decided to make a guide, for all those that think it's too hard for them to attend an event. The truth is: you're probably just a princess and don't want to get your dress dirty.
So here's the breakdown: 1. Find an event close to you. Travel is very expensive generally, and you want to keep that cost low. The cheaper you travel, the longer it takes, so it either costs money or time. What's that you say? No event close to you? AHAHAHAHAHA So there are... MLG, NASL, WCS, CSL, IEM, DreamHACK, Gathering, Assembly, Homestory Cup, just to name the BIG events going on. Well, I guess they're mostly EU and NA, but you get my point, right?
2. Plan ahead. Basically, the more time you spend in front of your PC, planing how to do everything, the cheaper and faster everything will be when you get to execution.
3. Getting there. Trains and plains are f** expensive, no matter what country except India you might be in. But the last time i checked, not a lot of big IEM tournaments in India anyway. Get a ride! Look for sites that have hitchhiking guides. Often you will find detailed information about how to do it, which gas station is most popular in which town etc. I also recommend having a pepper spray with you just in case <- at least I do that. There's also car sharing websites, and even if you might share some of the gas price, it still ends up cheap and fast!
4. Staying there. So where do you spend the night? Well, there's this wonderful invention called a tent. + Show Spoiler +
If you don't own one, borrow one. If you don't have friends, buy one, they are worth the investment. Also check the laws, they might help you! In sweden you can camp for one night on a privately owned area (woods or whatever) without asking for permission, as long as there's no fence around it. Europe is full of stupid laws like that, is how the gypsies survive and thrive, on silly laws that should not need exist. Second option is to couch surf. Just ask anyone if they can help you out with crashing on their couch for a night. When I say anyone, I meant post it here! Anyone here on TL, cause everyone is such a doll on this site :D There's also sites like www.couchsurfing.org that you can use, just don't be an abuser, try to be social, as hard as that can be for a gamer. Open minded is the most important attribute to have.
5. Food. Some of you might not know what to eat when your mom isn't around, cooking for you. I've been backpacking around Europe a few times, and my main meal is the sandwich. I go to the local supermarket and buy: a) sliced bread; b) butter or cream cheese; c) salami or something similar; and d) a vegetable, like tomatoes or cuecumbers. I usually make between 10 and 30 sandwiches, and eat 6-9 of them a day, 2-3 for each meal. I know it sounds awful, but if you mix up the ingredients it doesnt always get that dull. And it's only for a few days anyway. And you save up a lot of money this way. And get a god damn water bottle! Use the empty plastic coke bottle, don't go buying crap you're not gonna use.
6. Involve your friends. Even if they don't follow starcraft, ask them for suggestions. Maybe they know someone that can host you for a night, or maybe they have some valuable tips for you. And if they follow the SC 2 scene, PERFECT! Get them to join you on this great adventure. I promise you will not regret it.
Lastly, I would like to say that my last year trip to Dreamhack was not a picknik. I had to spend many hours alone, just me and my music. Sometimes you need to take a crap, and there's no toilet around. Sometimes it rains a lot, cause its freakin' sweden and the weather sucks, and eventually you get some water in your backpack. Sometimes the venue is really far away from your host and walking is a bitch, but you don't wanna pay for bus, f* that. But the JOY, oh THE JOY!!! Taking pictures with the likes of TLO and Grubby, or watching Day 9 cast live, right there, just 20 m in front of me. I even got to talk to my hometown heroes, NightEnd and DeathAngel, who I would later get to meet again in Bucharest. Those memories burn birghter then all the hardships I endured to get there. So GO young skywalker, follow your dream, it just needs a little planning.
<3 This is my first 'major' post, and if at least 1 person gets to see an event because of it, my mission here is done. I love you TL, I love you StarCraft. See you both at the next event.
Ha, let me ask you something, you shaved your beard right before you left for the adventure, but it grew untill you've come there?
that actually sounds like an interesting ideea, but it would fit something like going to IEM China
Actually how much time it took for you to get from Romania to Sweden?
i was lucky enough to be in sweden for different reasons around the time dreamhack was held, but i did travel back to romania via train/backpack, and that took like a month but i was not in a rush, so i kinda went sweden-spain-switzerland-romania
if anyone has any more questions feel free to ask. i'm also great at giving advice
If you buy a bike (preferably a speed bike for easier highway travel) an ultralight tent and some simple camping gear (easily stored in a backpack, saddlebags or a trailer) you could take a summer and attend a bunch of different European eSport events.
Some things I thought of while reading your post:
1. Hostels. They are cheap/free, and you can easily find the safer ones by researching online beforehand.
2. If you are fine with camping and biking, travel and lodging will be free, keep you in good shape, and as the OP already mentioned, give you a great summer worth of memories and stories for a lifetime.
3. Groups. This would be much safer, and possibly a lot more fun if this was done with a few friends.
4. Camping gear is a great investment. Water purifier, ultralight tent, sleeping bag and pad, small cooking supplies and some survival gear and other misc items. Yes this can cost a few hundred dollars (if you get good quality stuff that will last you a while) but the investment is worth it for multiple reasons.
5. More than eSports. You can see a lot of Europe and experience a lot more by travelling this way as opposed to flying everywhere and staying in a hotel all the time.
If I was more familiar with Europe, I would create a more in depth guide (a list of suggested gear and a plan of events you could attend, etc.). But alas, I have never been to Europe other than connecting flights, so I would not be a good person to do this, maybe someone else could do it?
cycling and gaming is actually a plan that I have. it's not for this year, unfortunately, but i plan to cycle europe and game in all the big LAN cafes in major cities, and blog about it kinda like a gaming prophet, spreading the good news ).