I would definitely say there is a learning curve to travel. On each of my journeys I have learned something invaluable that has contributed massively to my future travels. Turns out ‘traveling smart’ has a learning curve, no matter how much you research.
In South Korea…
I learned that I can’t always follow a group. It’s very easy for me to get wrapped up in what everyone else wants. It was pretty ok for my first time abroad as I wasn’t really ready to strike out on my own too much, but I knew following the crowd wasn’t what I wanted in the future. I also learned that sometimes a really good day in a new country can be spent reading a book inside an empty dorm on a rainy day.
I learned that I much prefer not living with roommates long term. My experience in a homestay was, well, not the most enjoyable. Only child syndrome, I suppose. Fact is, I never learned to long-term share. I also learned not to overpack after dragging a 50lb suitcase down 6 flights of stairs. I learned that I am, in fact, human. As consequence I require such base necessities such as sustenance, water, and sleep.
My Best Travel Experience Yet
All of these experiences, along with smaller trips in-between to places like LA, Colorado Springs, and Philadelphia (where I basically learned to not trust zippers if you need to be on time and fashionable…). All of these experiences led up to what I think was my most smoothly and wholly enjoyable trip. A trip of little to no regrets – my UK trip. So what did I change? What did I learn? I obviously enjoyed myself on all of my trips but something about my UK adventure screamed to me “traveling smart.”
I started it off right. Instead of trying to jump right into everything when I landed in London, I didn’t do anything. I checked into a nice hotel and passed out for the entire day. I didn’t attempt anything more strenuous than walking three feet to the convenience store to get yogurt. And I didn’t suffer the jetlag that so marred my time in Paris. Magic.
I packed light. I brought one backpack and the smallest suitcase I could find that was just large enough to fit my ice skates. This made getting on public transport a breeze.
Really, in a lot of ways I think I learned how to have a great time. I learned not to worry so much about seeing everything, experiencing everything. I learned not to think about what everyone else thought – if I wanted to see something, no matter how touristy, I went and saw it.
After finally deciding on my ‘traveling smart’ philosophy, finally, I can see my future experiences only getting better. By setting myself a few ground rules and actually taking the time to rest I can actually improve my experience! I hope this ‘traveling smart’ breakdown can help you too 🙂