Previous Post: Commitments & Decisions
Next Post: Time Management 101
I have been so very blessed in my life to have been able to travel as I have. Everyone needs to travel – and not just within their own country! Sure, there’s so much here on my own homeland that I need to see and experience before I die … But there are things you learn when you travel abroad that you really can’t learn at home — especially in the United States (sadly).
I believe I first got the travel bug the summer between my junior and senior year of college. It was a requirement of my Italian minor that we travel to Italy and study the language for 5 weeks.
And it. Was. Glorious!
I’ve since joined this really cool club that not only allowed me to take 15 vacations from 2010 to 2014 [with a few being out of the country — and many more to come!], but I’ve also been introduced to a new world of people and a transformational way of thinking.
Through my travelling, I’ve learned so much about myself, other societies, other cultures and religions … I may not be able to go into all of it at this time, but I felt that these lessons have made the biggest impact on me:
1. Enjoy The Time You’re There
At the time I was in Italy, for the most part I enjoyed what I was doing, but I had a significant other back home that I missed very much … And unfortunately it was a major focus when I wasn’t doing anything (sightseeing, going to museums, etc). It was a cause of stress and duress that cut into the time I spent there.
The reason I wish to stress this is because in this day and age, with the way the world is … you never know when you’ll get the chance to go back. You don’t know if the wondrous works of art and architecture will be there in a few years.
It could all be gone in a moment … Or you might not have that “next time” to look forward to.
So wherever you are, IMMERSE yourself! Soak it all in. Let it permeate your entire being so that when you think back on it, you can physically see, smell, hear, feel everything you experienced.
2. Be Wary of Oddly Dressed People (Or Just Expect to Tip)
So … funny story. While I was in Rome, I saw this guy dressed up as a Roman centurian near one of the ruins. I took a photo of him cause I thought he was cool … He then proceeded to stalk me and follow me around, telling me I owed him $5. — It was kind of scary!
I finally gave him the $5 (euro – so it was more in US dollar) so he would leave me alone, and then he got all, “Oh you American! You so pretty. You have un boyfriend?”
That guy truly had no people skills …
But the gist of it is this … When you see someone dressed up like that, or living statues, or whatever the case may be … Keep in mind they are not just there for your enjoyment (usually). While the $5 photo requirement was RIDICULOUS, at least tip those people. And if you’re like these guys, tip a LOT!
This was a human statue … Completely painted and scared a couple people when he finally did move! Absolutely loved this guy ….
A little dark, but this guy was phenomenal as well. That tie that looks like he’s running or it’s really windy? Nope. He got that thing to look like that and stood in that position. Living statues, dude …
3. Know Enough of the Language to Get Around
I think this one speaks for itself. (haha)
Most countries have English as a main language so this isn’t usually an issue, but the people generally appreciate it when you take the time and effort to try to learn their native speech.
4. Purchase the “Let’s Go (insert country here)”
This book was absolutely incredible for me while I was abroad! Our Italian professoressa told us to purchase it and I’m glad I did! It had all of this and so much more:
- key phrases in the language of the land
- tour information (like a tour around the volcanoes, etc)
- places to eat or shop
- places the locals go (that visitors might not know about)
- price range on places
So whenever you’re going to another country, I would highly invest in purchasing this book before you go so you can do some research and really take advantage of the things available to you. If you do so, you can maximize your time there.
5. Don’t Just Take Photos – Drink in the Experience
I took over 1,000 photos while I was in Italy. And while photos can help to trigger memories, don’t be lost in taking those photos so much that you’re not actually experiencing the things you’re doing.
6. Take Advantage of Everything That Interests You
This would seem like a no brainer, but here’s why I put this here.
When I was in Italy for 5 weeks, it was with my Italian class (or at least some of my classmates). And the 2 main reasons we were there was to immerse ourselves in the language and learn more about the culture … But every time I hung out with the rest of my classmates, I felt like my voice was never heard. They rarely spoke Italian except when our professor was around and it seemed like all they wanted to do was shop, party, or go to the beach.
So I went off by myself — and I’m so glad I did! While I did miss out on hanging out at a few beaches, I got to see things other people didn’t.
I was at the Heineken Festival when the freak storm blew through …
I was a patron at some little bitty place that was showing the history of serial killers … (creepy and fascinating, let me tell you)
I got to spend more time with our professor and meet her friends, ride on a Vespa, and so much more.
And this lesson really can be applied to anything, not just when you’re travelling.
7. Meet New People (Make Pen-Pals)
It’s wonderful having friends all over the world! My lifestyle & vacation club taught me that. Unfortunately, I wasn’t introduced to my club until a few years after my trip to Italy … but it still holds true.
When you have friends in other countries, you not only have friends … but they’re in another country! Someone you can call on when you’re “in town” or can try to meet up with if you’re kind of near the area and can take the train or whatever.
And it’s always good to simply have someone to bounce ideas off of, find out what’s going on in their country, etc.
8. Spend Time With People You Like – Otherwise Go It Alone!
Just like in #6, this applies to everyday living. Not everyone will want to do what you want to do. But don’t stop yourself from living your life in such a way that reflects who you are just because the people around you don’t want to.
And DEFINITELY don’t hang around people you don’t like or who will bring you down.
Life’s way too short and there’s so much out there for you not to enjoy it.
You’d be amazed at what you can find when you just walk around and enjoy the things about you.
10. Check Out Any Ruins in the Area
It’s absolutely fascinating what you can learn about a culture through it’s history.
11. Check out the Architecture & Sculptures (Even the Churches)
Cause … well … this:
So that’s basically it. Travel. Have fun. Enjoy yourself. LIVE!
~ To Your Success ~