Five years ago I found myself homeless and unemployed. A very good friend of mine, when he heard about my plight, said, “You should come stay on my boat in Monaco for a while. You’ll love it.”
I had never been to Europe before. The only things I knew about Monaco were from Bond movies and that Paula Abdul song where she rhymes it with “I’m not impressed with all the places we go.” But while going to live on a boat sounded exactly like what a homeless, unemployed person would do, going to live on a boat IN MONACO??? That sounded like the stuff of a jet-setting playboy.
But so it was Monaco that was the first place I ever went in Europe. Turns out, this tiny sovereign Principality was also the ideal jumping off point for all my European travels thereafter: It had all the history, architecture, food, and culture one expects on the continent, jammed into one pocket-sized 2-mile strip friendly to English speakers and my wallet.