“Nayim from the halfway line ” – Tottenham Hotspur fans.
Is it possible to go to one continent and yet class yourself as backpacking a different continent? 😂🤣
Well I did a bit of research and it turns out that it is possible to backpack The European Union while also backpacking Africa. You can even backpack The European Union in Antarctica as I did in 2010 when I visited Polish🇵🇱 Antarctica🇦🇶.
Whilst I don’t recognise the “European Union”, I still respect the countries within it and so I backpack them. The easiest way to do that is in Europe but I also officially backpacked the European Union in The Caribbean, Antarctica and South America. Here’s how to do it in Africa…
One cringeworthy fact to note is that a few of the European Union countries succumbed to the dreaded left wing ultra togetherism known as “The Euro”. It’s one of my most hated aspects of travel. It sometimes feels like crossing the border from Belgium to France you are not even aware which country you are in.
I remember the glory days when we could visit Republic of Ireland with Punts, France with French Francs, Germany with Deutsch Marks, Latvia with Lats, Spain with Pesetas, The Netherlands with Gilders, Greece with Drachma, Italy with Lira and Portugal with Escudos. The sad fact is most of those dead currencies will not come back. It upset me to the point that in those countries, I now like to pay on card so I don’t have to look at their destructive currency. So instead, backpack Africa and the EU and try to forget all that. Here’s how you can do it, and how I’ve already done a bit of it.
1.The Azores (Portugal)
I first backpacked the Azores in 2022 when I landed in Ponta Delgada, São Miguel Island. I enjoyed a pub crawl, swimming in the Atlantic, touring Ponta Delgada and an epic quad bike tour.
The country is an overseas territory of Portugal so they speak Portuguese, use the Euro and one of their football clubs plays in the Portuguese league, yet here you are backpacking in Africa.
Famous for – Pauleta (who dicked Poland with a World Cup hat-trick)
Don’t Stop Living best post – Backpacking in The Azores: Quad Tour To Sete Cidades, São Miguel Island
2.Canary Islands (Spain)
Officially I completed a fool circle of a 42 year journey in 2022 when I backpacked through Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria.
My Mum and Dad had a summer holiday here in 1979. 9 months later I was born and something tells me I’m linked to the Canary Islands.
I really felt sentimental on my visit.
Famous for – Dave.
Don’t Stop Living best post – Backpacking In Spain: Feeling Where I All Began in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
Surprisingly I haven’t yet been to Madeira, but for sure it is on my list and actually it’s quite an easy one to get to and to tour so I won’t be doing it anytime soon as I’m focused on more wacaday spots. Madeira is off the coast of Africa yet it’s EU loyal.
Famous for – Cristiano Ronaldo.
4.Reunion Island (France)
Finally in 2023, I backpacked on Reunion Island. This is connected by direct flight to France, every day! So it’s also easy to get to and although the French class it as a domestic flight, for me, they are two separate countries on separate continents!
Famous for – Lauren Robert and Dmitry Payet.
Don’t Stop Living best post – Backpacking in Saint Gilles, Pubs of Saint Denis.
The French got around and I also recognise Mayotte as a real country but as yet, it’s unbackpacked for now. I’d like to whack it into the same trip as Zanzibar (away) and Comoros (away).
Famous for – sounding like BIOT, which is also Indian Ocean loyal!
6.Ceuta and Melilla / “Spanish Morocco” (Spain)
“Spanish Morocco” sounds epic and I skipped it despite officially been to Morocco 5 times! Oops. Next time maybe…these are two Spanish enclaves and probably the best way to backpack the European Union at Africa away.
Famous for – Nayim from the halfway line.
7.”Buy It”/ BIOT (Northern Ireland)
Whilst officially “The UK” is not in the European Union anymore (the Brexit vote in 2016 ended ties), there is a wee Northern Ireland away trip loophole here, so bear with me on this one! British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), an archipelago of 58 islands covering some 640,000 sq kilometres of ocean, is a British Overseas Territory. Remember that Northern Ireland is in the UK and until 1921, was joined with Republic of Ireland which is currently EU. Plus, back then, the EU didn’t exist and when it finally did, both the UK and Republic of Ireland became members…nice flag too.
Since some parts of Northern Ireland associate themselves as Republic of Ireland then I’m sneaking it in as a wee “EU away trip”. What you do is you backpack through BIOT, which is acronymical for British Indian Ocean Territory. If you get an Irish passport you will notice that the map on it includes Northern Ireland which in turn is also included in the UK. The capital/main island of BIOT is actually called Diego Garcia, which sounds more like a Spanish footballer! It’s pretty hard to get to as a backpacker though with not many flights or boats in and out. Diego Garcia is UK, ex-EU, Africa and Indian Ocean all in one. It looks nuts though…
I fully recognise BIOT as a country and as part of Africa Away (close to India too, mind you) The only snag here is there are no Belfast to BIOT direct flights just yet.😂🤣It won’t be £39 on Ryanair anyway. BIOT is tropical! So with those 7 places you really can backpack the European Union and Africa away at the same time!
This is one of the worst blog posts I have written on REAL backpacking as I only backpacked THREE out of these SEVEN so far!! Crazy, but until next time, DSL, GDL – Don’t Stop Living, Glory Days Loyal!