In stark contrast to my previous post on the little ‘whoopsies’ that can happen when gallivanting around the globe, I would like to highlight some of the lovely surprises that can happen while exploring the round-ish shaped thing we’re stuck to. In my experience these more pleasant, spontaneous happenings are actually more frequent than the mistakes and trouble can you can encounter while abroad, so never get discouraged by a bad experience. The brilliant and magical experiences are the one’s that make it all worth it.
1. Never turn down an invitation*
You never know who you might meet while travelling. It could be other travellers from around the world or locals who just happen to be really awesome. It’s true it can be very dangerous to accept invitations from strangers, but there is no other way to get out in the world and make friends and build memories that you’ll never forget. Being from a different country automatically makes you at least somewhat interesting to the natives, and why not relish this little perk in your favour. If you’re worried, just make sure you meet in a public place until you feel comfortable with your new friends to visit a home. You can always use the buddy system too, but as I tend to enjoy travelling alone, it occasionally happens that the buddy system isn’t an option. Just use your brain and be safe, and you’ll be sure to learn so much more about the world than you would by just looking at it.
*(Pro Tip: Accept all invites unless you happen to be on a field trip and your group will leave the island without you if you stay for that date with the handsome Greek pool boy. Best to get back on the boat in that case.)
2. On the beaten path or off of it?
One hundred percent of the time I will say take the risk and do something out of the ordinary. Yes, the regular tourist attractions are exciting and interesting all on their own, that’s why they’re so popular, but how wonderful is doing a day trip where you’re not fighting with lines of other tourists for the best photo? Will you regret it when people ask you “Ohh, you went to London! Did you ride the Eye, and visit the Tower?” and you say “No, I wandered the streets of Camden and took the train to Brighton, shopped in the Lanes and saw the Pavilion.” No, I promise you, you will not regret it. You are entirely entitled to see and do whatever you like, and I support that freedom of choice, but don’t be afraid to take the chance, and do something strange you know nothing about. This is how we learn. Strange things tend to be way more fun anyway.
3. Eat everything!
I’m not joking…eat it. Eat it ALL! If it sounds crazy…eat that too. If you leave America for Europe, Africa, or Asia and are disappointed at the lack of hot dogs and American Pale Ales, then I think you’re doing it wrong. (Pro Tip: The touristy Caribbean seems pretty good at accommodating these strange needs oddly enough. So go there if that’s what you’re into.) Otherwise fully expect to dazzle your tastebuds with local cuisine. Eat the fresh fish and cockles, eat the blood pudding, eat the Korean BBQ, eat the strange cold lasagne that tastes like pumpkin pie. Eat the duck tongue, eat the fire roasted goat, and eat every flavour of gelato. Try not to eat the same thing twice, you’ll want to try as much as you can before you go home. (Pro Tip: Just don’t eat the satsuma that grows on the trees along suburban Athens…it’s not for eating and is one of the bitterest things I’ve ever put in my mouth. But hey…what the hell, if you’re into that then go for it!)
So there we have it, the basic to-do’s when going just about anywhere. Clearly this is a short, generic and vague list, but the scope is wide and this way will apply to nearly any travel situation. BE RIDICULOUS! Don’t hold back and don’t be afraid of yourself. No one ought to know you, so the burden of a lasting reputation is off your chest.
-Miss Hailey Jane