I've travelled with my parents; I've travelled with groups; and I've travelled with friends. Yet to go solo, but who knows what the future holds, right? But I thought I'd take a little time to think about what I've learned during my various adventures and share them with you wonderful people.
Lesson No. 1...People I
|This is the near perfect travel buddy!|
|New York, NY|
- Find someone in the group that you click with and have similar interests. That way, if need be, you can break off from the group and do your own thing. Plus, if you're like me, you can mock those annoying people. Yes, I'm a big enough person to admit that I make fun of annoying people. Honestly, who doesn't?
- Pack the necessity: earbuds!!! If you're going on a group tour, chances are there's going to be a lot of bus time, especially if you're going to more than one country/state. People talk A LOT on the bus. And for some reason, some of them think they are still outdoors or that other people want to hear their conversation. But we don't. We really don't. So to avoid overhearing these conversations, make a rockin' playlist and plug in those buds.
- Practice your soothing breathing. I'm not kidding. It helps :)
- Understand that everyone is different and that they don't all think like you. And that's cool. Let them be them, and you just do you. Everyone will be a lot happier.
- Traveling with friends is awesome! Planning together is super fun, and the build up is too exciting. But no matter how great of friends you are, there is a such thing as too much time with someone. If you feel yourself growing agitated at ridiculous, little things, PLEASE take some time for yourself. It gives you time to cool down and not say something you'll regret later.
- Being flexible is key. Everyone has high expectations, and disappointment is really easy to reach when a plan doesn't play out. But you just have to go with the flow and try not to let the disappointment set the mood over the rest of the trip.
- Plan things that both (or all) of you want to do. Something for everyone keeps all travelers happy!
|Blue Ridge Mtns|
Lesson No. 2...Planning
|Maroon 5 in Nashville, TN|
I know I just said to go with the flow, but that doesn't mean there can't be a plan in place. You don't have to have every minute of every single day planned out, but you need to have an idea of what you want to do/see. Also, I highly suggest packing lists. I always make them ridiculously far in advance, and it just gets me so pumped. But don't be like me...I never fail to forget something even though I write it on the list.
Lesson No. 3...Perspective
Y'all...I don't know if you've noticed this, but the world is a HUGE place! There are so many fantastic people to meet, places to see, and things to experience. I beg you not to forget this. When you're standing in the throne room of some ancient Bavarian castle, please do not take advantage of it. Stop checking your phone. It can wait. Take a moment to think about where you are, the history surrounding you, the lives that lived before you. As much as we like to think it sometimes, the world does not revolve around us and our social lives. Also, if you're in a foreign country, PLEASE stop looking for a McDonald's. I don't care if it's familiar. Just don't do it.
Lesson No. 4...Consideration
America, despite how much we brag about ourselves, is behind in the world in terms of education and consideration. How many people speak any language fluently? And I'm talking about more than Spanish. How many Americans can say that they speak a passable amount of French, German, Dutch, Italian, etc? It's a very slim number. Now let's look at Europe. How many Europeans can say that they can speak a passable amount of English? A LOT! Language barrier isn't really that much of a problem anymore in a majority of European countries because most of them learn English in primary and secondary school. They take the effort to try to speak with us in our language, so why can't we do the same for them? You know in advance if you're going to a foreign country, so why not try to learn a few basic phrases? If they see that you are trying to speak with them, they'll appreciate it and be much more likely to help you. Plus, they'll probably do it in English. Serait-ce si difficile?
Lesson No. 5...FUN!
|Juliette, GA (Friend Green Tomatoes)|
This is the last, and most important, lesson. You are somewhere new, whether that be a new city, state, or country. ENJOY YOURSELF! Be a sponge. Soak everything in and let as little go as possible. Keep your eyes and ears open, camera ready. I always carry a notebook with me. People think I'm doing it for school, but it's just because I don't want to forget what I'm learning and seeing. Traveling is one of the best therapies in the world. It makes you a better person. And it's just so FUN! So don't let silly stuff ruin it for you. Make the most of every experience!
I love traveling, and I CANNOT wait to travel to Canada with my best friend this summer. And I know I'll learn something else there, and we'll see what kind of travel buddy she is ;) I'll leave you with this quote to inspire some wanderlust:
"I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list." -Susan Santay