I am not a terribly patient person, my anxiety at times is off the charts. I’m not really a ‘go with the flow’ individual and when it comes to travel I tend to try the patience of everyone around me. However, it doesn’t stop me from traveling and experiencing the world. I never left the country until my early 30s, life got in the way; at least that was my excuse – and I won’t let it stand in the way anymore.
So, I pop my dramamine, chug some wine and get on that long-ass flight to wherever; and I don’t let delays, public transportation or weather drive me crazy. Life is too short to never leave your backyard, here are my tips, revelations and ramblings from my few years of travel.
- Less is more. When we travel overseas to visit our friends, we share one carry-on. A fact that I am incredibly proud of and tell everyone. I have the world’s best carry-on that resulted from hours and hours of research and has survived England, Ireland, Spain and a cruise. Focus on comfort and ease, especially if you are bouncing around – having less to repack will make your life easier.
- Forget the itinerary. Believe it or not, besides making sure we have lodging when we first get there, I don’t over plan or schedule us. Sometimes you just want to sit in a pub and shoot the shit with locals or other travelers. We spent two days in London and never saw Big Ben (yeah, that was stupid), but we met another Michigander, chatted with the locals and apologized for the state of our politics (no one over there is a big fan of our president and everyone wanted us to know that).
- Don’t be afraid to talk to strangers. This is pretty easy for me as I will run across a busy road to pet a dog, much to the chagrin of the owners. When we were out for a walk just last week (in the UK), we bumped into an older couple (with a beagle) that we chatted with for several minutes and they told us about a church off the beaten path where local war heroes were laid to rest. We never would have known about it, if we hadn’t talked with them on a random street corner. It was one of the highlights of our trip.
- Make friends wherever you go. Some of our most favorite people in the world, live on other continents (lucky us). We are so grateful they let us impose on them when we visit. It is like no time has passed, no matter how much our lives may change.
- Correspondence is a gift. I had a good friend that lived in Romania through the Peace Corps and we resorted to good ‘ol cards, letters and packages to communicate. She now lives back in the states, but we have continued our correspondence – although I am much better at it than her.
- Don’t wait. Life is too incredibly short to never experience different cultures, countries and people. There will always be more reasons why you shouldn’t go – money, work, etc. Just do it.
- Take a deep breath. You can’t control train schedules, flights, traffic or other hiccups. The best way to combat the frustration is grabbing a drink and figuring out your next move.
- Open your home. I love when people stay at our house, pop by, or just hang out. No matter where they are coming from, I want them to feel welcome.
What would you add? Where is your favorite place to visit?