While traveling, I write myself little notes and tips for the next time I leave my front door. I don’t always follow them, but I like to hope that a few will stick. Below are a couple of my travel photos that didn’t quite make the blog-cut, and the things I (re)learned in 2017:
- Give yourself a week to execute tasks when traveling internationally. Not a week to schedule and get done, but a full week just to act. I promise you every monkey wrench ever is lurking around the corner waiting to throw itself into your do-or-die travel plans. Expect banks to close early to decorate for the holidays, traffic that will make you miss a wax appointment, and a doctor who forgets to call in your prescriptions, and you will be better off (not that these oddly specific examples come from my life or anything).
- Sometimes the best you can do is airport Micky D’s. So enjoy those supersize fries and the taste of not getting food poisoning guilt free.
- Nothing beats a sturdy backpack.
- There is no shame in the Alka Seltzer game.
- Just because you have been someplace a million times doesn’t mean it is destined to be lame. Fresh eyes make a big difference. So stop by your parents’ house and look for what interests you now. Not what interested you at 16. I’ll bet time has changed the place–hopefully for the better.
- If you plan to use a streaming service, download what you want to watch in the country you live in. Otherwise, you’ll get to XYZ country and no amount of yelling “But I’m an American!” will give you Star Trek.
- You are never too good for stealing the shower caps.
- Learn what kind of traveler you are at this stage in your life.
- Accept the above and assess it every so often. There is nothing wrong with admitting that you MUST have hot water. Knowing how you like to travel will make your experience better. In the case of hot water, it just means you’ll be staying in American hotel chains and probably not homestays off the beaten path.
- Travel is about making yourself comfortable in occasionally uncomfortable situations. Roll with the punches.
- Schedules are made to be broken. If your visit to a museum gets delayed, take a break for a glass of wine in a cafe. Observing the street can be just as good as seeing the classics.
- No matter how good your language skills are, you’ll always run into a vocabulary hole. Think of it as a chance to be a lifelong learner while you stumble through trying to explain how local elections work in your not-so-native tung.
- Traveling, like a lot of life, is about saying yes to opportunities, or ideas, and having faith that you’ll figure it out when the time comes.
Happy 2018 All!