St Albans woman plans to visit all 28 states of the EU prior to referendum

Rebecca Sumner Smith, 35, and husband Steve Sumner began their tour of the EU last week, and have al

Rebecca Sumner Smith, 35, and husband Steve Sumner began their tour of the EU last week, and have already enjoyed an Athens sunset, Prague castle and Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic - Credit: Archant

Bringing to life the EU referendum is the challenge facing a St Albans woman who is visiting each of the 28 states before the June referendum.

Rebecca Sumner Smith, 35, and husband Steve Sumner began their tour of the EU last week, and have al

Rebecca Sumner Smith, 35, and husband Steve Sumner began their tour of the EU last week, and have already enjoyed an Athens sunset, Prague castle and Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic - Credit: Archant

Rebecca Sumner Smith, 35, who lived in Marshalswick, decided to visit every EU member state to find out more.

The one-woman tour will see the Oxford University graduate spend a couple of days in each of the member states.

Her project entitled We The EU seeks to bring to life the referendum at a time when many know little about the political situation and fail to recognise its importance.

Rebecca is keen to point out that she’s “not an expert”, though her MA dissertation was in politics.

Rebecca Sumner Smith, 35, and husband Steve Sumner began their tour of the EU last week, and have al

Rebecca Sumner Smith, 35, and husband Steve Sumner began their tour of the EU last week, and have already enjoyed an Athens sunset, Prague castle and Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic - Credit: Archant


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She said: “Put simply, we are being asked if we want to stay in a club with 27 other countries, many of which we couldn’t even point to on a map. I think this is basic stuff we all need to think about in reaching a conclusion on our EU membership.

“I want to keep everything as simple and impartial as I can because all I can see in the media are people shouting for one side or the other.

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“Most people I have spoken to are standing somewhere in the middle, looking for – but mostly not finding – a sensible place to start finding out some information. If my website can help some people with that process, I will be overjoyed.”

Rebecca and her husband – who is accompanying her and taking photographs - lived in St Albans prior to moving to Berlin, Germany, four years ago and will return to live in the cathedral city this summer.

Rebecca Sumner Smith, 35, and husband Steve Sumner began their tour of the EU last week, and have al

Rebecca Sumner Smith, 35, and husband Steve Sumner began their tour of the EU last week, and have already enjoyed an Athens sunset, Prague castle and Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic - Credit: Archant

When she spoke to the Herts Advertiser after a long bus journey to Czech Republic’s Cesky Krumlov, the pair had just arrived at a hostel, where staff told them there are bears in the drained castle. They were off to find out if it was true!

Rebecca has taken 10kg of essentials on the self-funded trip, which includes a sleeping bag liner, spare toilet roll and universal sink plug – as well as books on the EU and travel writing.

She said: “In terms of places I am looking forward to seeing, it is basically all of them.

“Although based on what I have seen of Cesky Krumlov so far, I could happily just stay here until the referendum.

“I am sure some places will be highlights though, and we are seeing places like Mount Etna and Pompei in Italy and Dracula’s Castle in Transylvania.

“Having lived in Germany and Spain, I have learnt that stereotypes are sometimes spot on and sometimes wildly incorrect.

“What I am most interested in, however, are the EU states where we know so little we don’t even have a stereotype.What does the average British citizen know about the life of someone in Latvia or Slovenia, for example?”

Rebecca plans to interview Brits living in the states and feature basic background information and profiles on her specially set up website.

She is inviting online interaction from people who are interested and can be contacted at @WeTheEU on Twitter and Instagram. Or follow updates here.

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