Before I began traveling I heard countless stories and read just as many articles about the lessons one learned from their travels. So it was no surprise that once I returned from Europe I too felt I had learned a thing or two so here are five things I learned, or rather took away, from my first trip abroad.
1) I SHOULD’VE GONE SOONER, BUT IT’S NEVER TOO LATE
I didn’t travel out of the country for the first time until I was 29. As soon as I stepped foot in Norway I knew that I had waited too long. But I didn’t kick myself for long. I pushed it to the back of my mind and hit the ground running, never looking back!
2) I’LL FIGURE IT OUT
When we arrived in London we realized that we booked our accommodations for the wrong date so we had nowhere to stay. We overslept the morning we were to catch a bus to Amsterdam, waking up 30 minutes before our bus was set to leave and we still needed to travel 30 minutes across town. Our AirBnB cancelled our reservation with no explanation the day before we were set to arrive in Paris. But here I am typing this from home so as you can see everything worked out and we made it! Whatever wrench is thrown in your plans I am 99.9% sure that you’ll figure it out and you’ll be okay in the end. Plus, you’ll have some great stories to share.
3) IT’S OKAY TO TAKE TIME AND REST
I was in Europe for 10 days and right around day 8, I was starting to feel as all the ripping and running I had been doing was finally catching up to me. When you’re in a place you’ve never been, you want to see and do as much as possible but what good is that when you’re too tired to really enjoy it. So don’t be afraid to press pause and should taking this break keep you from seeing something you really wanted to see, just think of it as reason to return.
4) DON’T TAKE SOMEONE ELSE’S WORD FOR IT
Don’t allow someone else’s experience to dictate yours. Had I assumed I would be unimpressed by Paris the way some of my friends were, I would have missed out on this city that I am now head over heels in love with! There’s nothing wrong with soliciting the opinions of others and doing some research, but I think you are doing yourself a disservice by not approaching every city with an open heart and mind.
5) THE AMOUNT OF MONEY YOU SPEND HAS LITTLE IMPACT ON YOUR OVERALL EXPERIENCE
Yes, shelling out the big bucks can get you into the finest accommodations and meals at the finest restaurants. If that’s what makes a trip for you, you’re set. But my best moments in Europe were free of charge. They were in the laughs I shared with my friend; in the relief I felt once I was finally settled into my seat on the bus I was running late for; it was vising Sacré-Cœur in Paris. The takeaway is that I refuse to let the money I may or may not have dictate my experience.
As exciting as traveling itself is, the lessons I stand to learn are just as important to me. I hope to always return a different person than when I left. I want to encounter someone or something that makes me a better, stronger, wiser person. What are some things you learned through traveling? Let me know below!