Travel

Lessons in Travels

Lessons in Travels @ twentyfourcarat.net

I am leaving for Asia in two days for a month of of foraying in Hong Kong, Langkawi, Changmai, Koh Phangan, Bangkok and Seoul so I thought it was time to reminisce about my last trip that I’ve had no time to write about since cycling has apologetically ruined my life. The excitement hasn’t commenced yet, as was the same for my last adventure in Europe in May— it didn’t even hit me until my second day in London (I was too busy shopping the first day— typical me). I swear I’m not boring. I like to think I live in the moment so I’m enjoying every moment of my life right now!

I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing whe

Here are some lessons I learned from my last solo trip around Europe:

  • Pack clothes you will actually want to wear and you’ll feel good in. Maxi dresses, boots, pretty cardigans, dresses… when you [think you] look good, you feel good.
  • Don’t over-pack. If you are a shopaholic, you will definitely be shopping even though you promised yourself you would NOT shop. You’re on vacation… do whatever you want and shop as much as you want. I’m a terrible influence. Sorry, not sorry.+
  • It’s worth it pay a little more for a proper meal and a glass of wine. Food is life and the best way to experience cultures.
  • Walk everywhere. In Europe where so many cities are walkable and it’s really the best way to explore. When I was in Paris, I only took the subway once but walked everywhere else and accidentally stumbled onto all the must-see sights. Painful and sore feet aside, I wouldn’t have done it any other way… plus I had to find some way to walk off the endless pastries I shamelessly devoured.
  • Run aimlessly. Put on your running shoes and headphones and run wild around the city with no directions. Don’t worry about getting lost if the city has good public transportation and you have your phone’s GPS turned on. The only negative part about this is smelling like a wet towel while running through throngs of tourists… but they will never see you again.
  • Look for gyms with free trials to get your workout on. Seriously, best idea ever.
  • European trains are LOVE. Avoid flying when you can because travelling via rail is so relaxing. Plus a first class upgrade isn’t that much more if you want some peace and quiet and more leg room while recovering from all those all-nighters you pulled in Barcelona.
  • Wasting time in the airports suck but arriving there early is a great way to reduce stress. I’ll go there hours before a flight, have a great meal and read a good book before boarding the plane …last so I never have to stand up and wait in line.
  • Check in bags whenever you can. Having less to lug around with you = less stress. Plus not having to worry about boarding early so you can find an overhead compartment for your carry-on… and waiting at baggage claim for luggage isn’t bad. Use that time to research something about the city you are in. If you have been travelling for a long time, it actually feels great to slow down.
  • Splurge on cabs if you can afford it. It’s worth the money when it reduces stress and saves time (can you tell I’m a huge fan of stress-relief strategies?). By the last half of my trip, I cabbed to and from my hotels to the airports. Plus my suitcase got bigger and bigger and I was too lazy to lug that thing around. Don’t worry, I made up for that laziness by always walking around the city versus public transit (unless it was super far and I was super intoxicated).
  • Meet your fiber in-take! Unhappy bowels mean an unhappy traveler. It’ so hard to get enough fiber on vacation so my hotel fridges were stocked with pre-washed/cut fruits and veggies. I was constantly craving for spinach and arugula!
  • I can never be a “backpacker.” Backpacks may seem convenient but it is definitely not glorious… with the sun beating down on you and a sweaty back. Gross. I had no problems with rolling luggage and wouldn’t have it any other way. There, I’m prissy.
  • Travel essentials: packing cubes, multi-adaptor and a small umbrella. The umbrella!! I bought it very last-minute before I departed Vancouver and it became the most useful thing on my trip. The rain loves me but good thing I’m not one of those people who gets all depressed when the skies turn grey.
  • Google Maps!! No WIFI needed as long as you load the map of the city you are in. Turn on your GPS when you need to pinpoint your location.
  • Coffee shops. Expresso and free WIFI. Enough said.
  • Portable cellphone battery & good music. Wouldn’t be able to survive the trip without them… I wouldn’t even be able to survive at home either!
  • There is no such thing as a ‘must-see.’ Everyone has their own hobbies and find different things interesting. Ditch the travelers’ guilt and only spend time seeing things you truly want to see, not because Trip Advisor told you to.
  • Travel slowly. Don’t try to see everything at once because YOU’RE ON VACATION. People tend to forget that and try to cram everything in, thus making their trip more stressful.
  • At the same time, don’t waste your time sleeping. You can sleep at home. Coffee, people!! Life is short.

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