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0€ Challenge, how to travel without spend money for two weeks

by Ayşegül Akyüz  from Turkey

Photo by Ayşegül Akyüz

Hola guys!
We are Ice and Albane, two free spirits, two earthlings, who’ve happened to been born in France and Turkey. We’ve met during the last month of our exchange in our host country Brazil, 2013-2014, thanks to Rotary International and we simply clicked. Until now we’ve been to 3 continents, 14 countries and countless cities together. So as you already understood; we are travel partners. And unlikely what most people says (I was one of them once), it is not true that travelling with someone else makes you get distant from the experience. But for that you have to find “the one”. And during this 0€ Challenge this is what we realised for sure and so grateful for; being travel partners for life.

Photo by Ayşegül Akyüz

I can hear you think what is a 0€ Challenge? Well simply, Albane came to Nice to help me making the after video of a project. As we were walking on the Port, we started to talk about travelling. About how people always ask us how we travel so much? Isn’t it so expensive? How do we find enough money? Are our parents so rich? How we find time? etc… And the brainstorm has begun. What we wanted to show people was that it is not impossible to travel with a low budget, just like we’ve done for a month during the summer of 2015! So this time we wanted to push ourselves even more, we needed a crazier deal. So we came up with the 0€ Challenge! Which is not to spend ANY money for 2 weeks! Yeap what you read is correct. Any. A-N-Y. And as we both are into cinema, we decided to make videos to show the daily struggles. Somehow to prove everyone that it is possible but mostly, to have fun! So we created our blog, Youtube channel, Instagram account and made our first video!

Photo by Ayşegül Akyüz

What is the goal of the 0€ Challenge?

To answer all the questions we receive and to prove that anything is possible to first of all to ourselves and then to everyone else. To show people that travelling is not expensive as you might think it is. This of course depends on what you expect from your travels. If you want luxury

it will coast you more. (Even that, with a good research and a good plan, won’t coast you as much.) Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not judging! But I am a 20 year old student who doesn’t make her own money and I will explain how the journey goes from my perspective. Our perspective.

Photo by Ayşegül Akyüz

People are not monsters. Generosity, compassion, and a smile is all you need. When your goal is to discover, to learn, to experience and to share those experiences with the loved ones, your world and soul grow. Then borders disappear, you get closer and closer to the world, empathize more, get lost and found in yourself. You simply grow into a lighter and a larger version of your existence. Because you learn not to judge and how to simply love. You start to appreciate the nature, the sunlight kissing your cheeks, the waves singing into your ears, the green, the blue, the flow, the harmony…

So the goal is to trust, is to love and to share. With ups and downs, we accomplished our challenge!

Photo by Ayşegül Akyüz

How did we get prepared for this trip?

First of all, as this was gonna be a 0€ Challenge, anything was possible. So beside deciding the general skull of this project, there was nothing else to plan. (At least this is what we thought at the beginning). We took our backpacks, sleeping bags, dry food that we can cook (rice, dry fruits, quinoa, bulgur, soup, coffee, tea, almonds and walnuts and some fruits), a portable gas stove, warm clothes, comfortable shoes, thermal jackets, towels, a GoPro, a camera, a microphone and a laptop to make the editing. We bought the boat tickets to Sardinia weeks before the trip. It was 30€ (it was a fancy cruise and definitely worth it), and to come back, thanks to the traditional carnival, it was for free! We bought an Italy Interrail Pass for 3 days in case of emergencies. And the day has arrived!

Photo by Ayşegül Akyüz

Our root was Genoa => Livorno => Olbia => Sassari => Alghero => Oristano => Cagliari => Olbia => Livorno => Bologna => Roma
(To discover how the journey went you can watch the daily videos on our blog!) 🙂

Photo by Ayşegül Akyüz

How did people reacted?

The common question on people’s minds seems to be the reaction of the locals when we tried to explain our challenge to them. One thing I can say without hesitation is that Italians (not the young ones, because we were mostly in Sardinia) don’t speak any english. And that has been

one of the biggest struggles for us. At the beginning we had fun cause we both speak Portuguese and Spanish as well. So somehow we communicated with everyone. Even the people we talked reacted all so cute after they realised that they understand Spanish more than English. They were all so supportive most of the time and helped us a lot. Young, old, children, baker, track driver, sailors…

Photo by Ayşegül Akyüz

Everyone tried to help us and wanted to take the name of the blog so they could keep tracking the journey! All this support and nice words got us even more motivated to finishing the challenge! But sometimes we were so tired physically that we didn’t wanna try to push ourselves to be understood. But we had to. We experienced difficulties about finding a place to stay, food, transportation etc.

Most of the people told us that it would be much easier to do this during summer. And we already knew that but we really wanted to travel together as soon as possible. So we chose the hottest country during February.

Photo by Ayşegül Akyüz

Can everyone do the 0€ Challenge?

Honestly we don’t think this experience is for everyone. I know so many people who’d just go rent a hostel in the middle of the journey or go buy some food etc. Which is totally understandable! We wouldn’t have the confidence to go to a challenge like this with anybody else. You have to know the person beside you. But I still think everyone should try it during their travels at least one day for the experience. To see it is possible. Even after one day you start to feel like it’s been a week.

Photo by Ayşegül Akyüz

Is it possible to do the 0€ Challenge in every country?

We believe that this question is a subjective one. It depends on the person, knowing the region, the culture, the language etc. For example I don’t know if we’d had the guts to do the same things we did in Vietnam or Russia or Kenya or any other country that we don’t know the language, the culture (generally), the rules. But I’m not saying this is impossible. But to survive much easily, knowing the language is a really important fact for your safety and daily life. We know Portuguese and obviously a little Spanish and I still wouldn’t make a Latin America tour before speaking Spanish fluently. Anything is possible and believe me you wouldn’t wanna risk it. But when you want something you gotta go for it! I’m just saying that you gotta be a little more prepared for something like that.

Photo by Ayşegül Akyüz

What could we make differently?

At the end, on our way to Bologna to spend our last day with a really good friend of ours whom we’ve met during Interrail ’15, we were talking about this. And first of all;

  • We wouldn’t do it during winter
  • If we’d still do it during winter, we’d prefer bigger cities withyounger population such as Bologna, Florence, Rome…
  • We’d recharge our gas before we hit the road
  • We wouldn’t make daily videos on a 0€ Challenge. Causeeveryday is a struggle already, trying to survive and at the end ofthe day trying to edit the videos was even harder. Weekly videos?
  • We’d be more organised about the places to sleep
  • We’d definitely take some little gifts with us to give to the peoplewho helped us. (Bracelets, evil eyes, traditional food etc)
Photo by Ayşegül Akyüz

This trip woke us up, pushed our limits, made us experience what is an obligation for real, communicate with people even more, brought us closer, taught us how to emphatize more and most importantly, now we know that travelling with no money IS POSSIBLE! Well I think we wouldn’t make a 0€ Challenge again. Don’t get us wrong, it was a life changing, mind opening, beautiful experience but at the end of the day we realised that we weren’t always motivated, and we were sometimes so tired that we couldn’t even enjoyed what was around us.

Photo by Ayşegül Akyüz

We couldn’t discover as much as we normally could, we didn’t have the time or the energy to enjoy cause we’re either walking somewhere for 2 hours while it’s raining instead of taking a bus or not eat because we didn’t have anything to eat or sleep outside cause we couldn’t find a place to sleep. And another tip, Couchsurfing doesn’t work in Italy. At least on the cities we’ve been during February. Seriously we couldn’t find any host during the trip. Not even one. After some point we couldn’t feel self-sufficient because we were always asking for the simplest things to strangers.

Photo by Ayşegül Akyüz

You can see more by Ice and Albane on youtube

Photo by Ayşegül Akyüz

Mostly we got help but still, we “needed” their help. And we didn’t always like it. The reason we travel is to feel more self sufficient than usual and free. For that you gotta do whatever comes alone. Taste the food you wanna taste, stay on a youth hostel to meet new travellers from al over the world, take the public transport to have more time at a place etc… Not always but whenever you feel like it, you can. Pushing yourself while travelling is unnecessary. But now, you know that if you need to, you can survive without money, cause at the end of the day money is just a piece of paper and a smile will always warm your heart.

Photo by Ayşegül Akyüz

You can see more by Ice and ALbane on YouTube

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