Monday, January 2, 2012

12 Things I Learned While Traveling the World

I spent much of 2010 & 2011 traveling the world, living out of a backpack.  Here are twelve things I learned:

1) I Never Met a Stranger
If you aren't able to speak the language of the country in which you're traveling, that's OK.  This deaf woman and I had a 45 minute conversation using only our hands.  Smile.  Learn a few phrases in every language.  'Hello', 'Goodbye', 'Thank You' and 'Excuse Me' go a long way.


2) Soap is Soap.
You can wash your hair, your face, your body and your clothes with shampoo.  I recommend Pantene because it works great for all purposes, and you can get it everywhere in the world.

3) You Don't Need Much.
The less stuff you have, the less stuff you have to carry.

4) People are People.
All over the world people are pretty much the same.  Mostly, they're nice.

5) Face Fears.
They're not that scary when you're staring them in the face.  I'm claustrophobic and deathly afraid of sharks.  But pass up on a chance to dive the Great Barrier Reef?  Not this gal.


6) Slow Down.
Going slowly reduces stress, and costs a lot less.  The best lesson I learned is how to relax, breathe, quit scheduling and enjoy life at a much slower pace.  You'll see and experience so much more.

7) Pack a Towel.
There are always going to be spontaneous trips to a waterfall, the ocean or a pool.  A towel also makes a great blanket and/or pillow on a long bus ride.


8) Try Something New.
Roasted grasshoppers taste just like roasted nuts.  Easy.  And no, I don't like tripe.  But I tried it, which made my adorable Italian-Brazilian hosts very happy.

9) Waiting Isn't So Bad.
A large part of travel is spent waiting.  For the bus.  For the plane.  For the museum to open.  Calm down and be prepared.  I listened to a lot of free podcasts of This American Life on iTunes.  Always have a book handy just in case.  You might be surprised to find you actually look forward to times when you're able to just.  Wait.

10) Everything's Negotiable.
Another helpful phrase to learn in the language of the country you're visiting is 'I don't have a lot money'.  I brought this home with me, and now I'll frequently ask for discounts while shopping or dining out.  The majority of the time I succeed.

11) Accept Hospitality Graciously.
There are so many opportunities while traveling to be gracious and allow people to show their hospitality.  I had to learn this one, because it doesn't come naturally.  Smile, say 'thank you' and vow to pay it forward to the next visitors who come your way.  

12) Home is a Precious, Wonderful Thing.
'Nuff Said.

*I love this woman's list of seven things you learn about yourself while traveling solo.


ashley said...

Great post Kady!

Hobo Siren said...

This post was literally fantass! Great advice.
Love, me.

A Lady Reveals Nothing said...

aw shucks guys. Thanks!

DB Stewart said...

Best post yet.

A Lady Reveals Nothing said...

Thanks! I'm sure I learned six more things, I'll maybe have to spend to this list at some point.

Brutalism said...

Love this!

h said...

You can also shave your legs quite well with shampoo or conditioner. Packing for long trips is quite the art form :)

April in Autumn said...

Having just returned from the Philippines a couple days ago, I completely agree!

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