Don’t feel silly.
Travelling isn’t always the most luxurorious experience. Sitting on planes or trains for hours isnt always the most comftable experiance. When I left for Europe I felt silly with this humongous rucksack on my back. This ridiculously giant bright blue ugly bag that was bigger than me. When I didn’t have that on, I had a smaller version for the daytime and guess what, that was even worse. I adore my little pretty rucksacks and handbags. What was I doing swopping my fashionable bags for this bloody rucksack, however after 2 days, I really didn’t care. It was convenient. Infact, it made me feel as though I fitted right in with the whole backpacking and travelling business. When you’re away seeing the world in whatever city or country you’re in, you stop caring about all the things you have back at home and concentrate on what you have with you. Like mentioned in other blogs, every time I come home from working abroad or travelling I hate myself for the amount of belongings I feel that it’s necessary to have. Get the lightest, biggest yet most convinent bag you can find, whatever fucking colour you want and embrace it. Maybe not walking down Leeds City Centre or down the Malia strip with it but you get the jist. You’ll fit right in when living in hostels and exploring living your dreams.
So I’m starting to get used to whole flying long flights alone malarkey. Flying to Athens was only 4 hours however, was I prepared. Blanket, head rest, eye cover, charged ipad with movies, plenty of food and water and a clear mind. Feeling like a prat is easier when your with someone else. If two people do something a little embarrassing it’s not as bad as just you by yourself. Flying to Athens, I had to get over this. I had my little blue ugly rucksack ready, my travel blanket, the lot. Let me tell you something, it was the comfiest and calmest flight. I was prepared. Felt right at home, well, almost. I tried. Get whatever is going to make your travelling more enjoyable and make sure you give yourself time to be prepared. In big cities getting maps is very helpful, you can pick maps of the city at most hostels. Don’t be afraid to ask locals, other backpackers and hostel staff on good places to go. Everyone always knows something you don’t so make sure you grab enough info about your destination.
I don’t know about you guys but these two words give me more stress then they should. How can you possibly put your life for however long into one bag. I’ve said it before and ill say it again, its difficult. For those lovely ladies out there who also like their straightners and perfumes and a variety of shoes. I have to break it to you, give it up. We have to let them go. In some way I actually like the challenge of not having everything I want and finding ways to feel good. I can not stress enough that this statement is true; pack half of what you think. Make sure you feel satisfied that you have the clothes you want, nevertheless, keep it basic and light. Wear things that you can wear over and and over, easy to clean and something suitable. Depending on your destination your travelling too, certain clothing is needed. In Asia you need to have your knees and shoulders covered in the heat. Travelling Europe I had two pairs of jeans, a pair of trackies, 2 pairs of shorts, 1 skirt, 10 tops, 1 cardigon, 1 trainers, 1 sandles, 1 flip flops and 1 maxi dress. This was more then enough.
Do your research
Know where you are going. If you are going to spend time somewhere, you might as well get to know the area. What is there to do there, what’s the history. You will benefit from this in more ways then one. It can help you save money, understand the culture and even have a better time. I found this out when arriving in Rome, I felt silly. I had no proper idea about anything to do with Italy. I had come all this way to a country I didn’t really understand. Getting to Rome was my first main destination. It very hot and busy and I had no idea where to go. Even when I spent the day walking around seeing the main tourist attractions … I didn’t know much about them. Also, if you do your research before you get somewhere you can fit your dates around certain events. Despite still making it to the superb popular Turkish baths in Budapest, I wasn’t able to get to the huge party they had every Saturday night. I had no idea about it till I got there and was gutted to miss it. Even when I got to Paris, I found that Beyonce and Jay Z where playing while I was there. Some miracle happened and I got given a ticket to go with someone I met while out in Paris. Winner Winner chicken dinner. Anyway, I would recommend finding out what’s going on when your there, and finding out what exactly you are interested in doing.
A picture speaks a thousand words.
You don’t have to be that irritating tourist taking photo of a bloody lamp post but your making incredible memories, capture them. Nowadays everything is posted on social media sites and I appreciate it’s not for everyone. Look at me, I have a bloody website rambling about my life but theres nothing better then just having your very own beautiful travelling photos to look back on. Take lots of videos and photos, you will regret not doing so. I also suggest getting yourself a decent camera to make things a little more fun. I recently puchased a GoPro Hero 3+ and I love it! Don’t spend all the time behind the camera, you have to embrace where you are and enjoy being in the moment but try capture what you can. It’s free, easy and the best souvenir.
Speak to everyone.
A big part of travelling for me is meeting people. Wherever I am in the world I find it is important for many reasons. Not only is it good to learn things from others and have different company but most of the time they want to help you and backpackers are always so friendly and warming. Travelling Europe a lone ment I just had to go and meet new people and everyone was always so lovely. There is always people around from all over the world with such interesting stories and tips. I know lots of people who have met others while travelling and ended up contiuning the trip together.
Leave your comfort zone.
Feel as though there is something you dont want to do? Not sure if you want to go somewhere or try something new? DO IT. You always remember the crazy times you went and did something a little different right? Without being too silly, the best things in life and those you learn most things from are from leaving your comfort zone. Go do something different or try something you didn’t want too. Never know what you might learn.
Don’t over plan.
It is finding the right balance of knowing where to go and where not too. Things can change everyday. Who you meet, what sitatuion your in. It is always good to have an idea of where to go and like mentioned earlier, know where you are going HOWEVER please don’t feel as though you can’t change your plans. Let things happen. Sometimes going with the flow will lead to exciting new adventures. Depending on your sitatuation and who you are with, part of travelling is to embrace on exploring this planet.
Sleep when your dead.
Okay, not literally. A little extreme there Leah. Seriously though, wake up and do things with your day. I adore my sleep and back in England I seriously struggle getting up before midday. Yes, go out at night and have a good time but please don’t forget how important the days are. Lots of things go on only in the morning. Markets tend to close around 3pm in Europe. Get out for a local breakfast and set off walking and see where you end up. There is always so much to do and see, whatever budget you’re on.
Don’t be scared to get lost. When I was backpacking Europe I always tried to be up for 9am. To me this was a perfect time as I still got my hours sleep at night however was up, ready, out and doing things by 12 which was perfect. I tend to tan well and when working abroad I get a lot of comments like, ‘how are you so tanned and brown?’. My answer. I get up relatively early and go down the beach. Despite the beach being my favourite place ever, I like to be out in the sun in the daylight. I always like to keep busy personally and I am not saying to never sleep, this is also important to keep you fit and revitalised with lots of energy to explore. I am all for those long crazy nights out and partying till the early hours but when travelling and being away from home, those days are vital.