Every day that goes by, I become more and more certain that I am supposed to be physically somewhere abroad as my heart already is somewhere far, far away. I’ve been fortunate to travel to several places around the world, and often times I feel myself at home in these foreign places. I would, however, like to call one such place my actual home some day. With these yearnings of far away, unfamiliar and intriguing lands I would like to put to light a few things that I’ve learned while traveling.
RESEARCH IS IMPORTANT
Research a place before you arrive there is very important. Here a few things to look for when researching and prepping for your trip abroad.
- Language, currency and alphabet – The first two are common inquiries for a traveler however it dawned on me when I went to Thailand how important it was to have addresses printed out in the Thai alphabet. We spent an extra 45 minutes switching from cab driver to cab driver trying to explain where our hotel was. They could NOT read our English translation of the address. We thankfully found our hotel, but if I had asked myself the question of differences in alphabets I would have had an easier time getting there.
*Also, consider researching WHERE and WHEN is best to exchange your money if that is necessary for your destination
- Transportation options (especially to and from airport) – Transportation around a new area is very important, but knowing your transportation options from the airport and to your place of stay and vice versa is maybe the most important. For example, in Chicago we knew we could take the subway to our AirBnB, but in Cuba we knew we could either take the bus or taxi. This will relieve any stress of the first moments of your trip.
- Geography – Where are you staying, what is around that area? Is it close to your places of interest? Get a feel for the neighborhoods that are within the city or town you are visiting and from there you can choose an area of where to stay and the points of interest you will come across. Look at a map and give yourself an overview of where everything and this will set you up for the rest of your trip.
WALK WITH NO ITINERARY
In my experience, the best moments of my trips were days that I had no set agenda. I walked the streets of the neighborhood in Cuba where I stayed and found a small, local bakery with the best pastries and espresso I have ever had. In Paris I discovered small boutiques that stored beautifully stitched clothing and stumbled upon one of the most renowned bakeries in the city. So if you are someone who loves to schedule, schedule at least one day of walking with only a general direction of where to walk to in mind. Let the rest of day surprise you.
Join a cooking class, talk to the locals or simply partake in their cultural ways of daily life. With each experience that I receive from different lands I gain understanding, perspective and appreciation for the people, culture and surroundings of that place.
Traveling feeds my soul, nourishes my mind and lifts my spirits. It gives me joy, peace and wonder all at the same time. I encourage you all to travel more.
Here’s a collection of photos from some of my favorite places…