My one year anniversary of traveling to England and France is coming up, and as my heart aches reflecting upon one of the greatest times in my young life, I realize I learned some great lessons.
14 Things I Learned, My 14 Days Abroad
1. Knowing the currency in the country you are visiting is important.
2. Walking tours. Do them. They really are the best way to experience the city, and you have more freedom to spend your time where you’d like, as opposed to bus tours.
3. Stereotypes aren’t always true. The French helped us hopelessly lost Americans more than the English.
4. Pack your bags. Then repack them with half the things you originally packed. The less luggage you have, the better. And the smaller luggage you have, the better.
5. Your best memories won’t come from the itinerary.
6. You will forever be bonded to the friends you traveled with – no matter when or where you meet up later in life, you share a piece of each others’ lives that you both consider one of the most precious. Staying out at a club until 4 a.m. then falling asleep in mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral the next day? Our little secret.
7. Traveling solo is empowering. Knowing you can get by on your own, in a foreign country, without knowing the number in your bank account, makes the rest of life seem pretty easy.
8. You have to roll with whatever you are dealt. Flight delays happen. You will survive.
9. Not every memory can be captured by a photo. Don’t spend all your time charging your camera, or you’ll miss out on so much. See #5.
10. America is not everyone’s cup of tea. Don’t ever feel entitled because of your nationality.
11. You will meet so many more interesting and well traveled people abroad – take advantage of talking and learning from them.
12. Don’t worry about money. You may never get the chance to travel to this city again. Don’t sit back and wish you could have the extra dessert or go to a play. Just do it, and worry about making up the difference later.
13. You will regret spending time in your hotel room. The best decision I made abroad was refusing to take naps. Get out and go see.
14. You don’t know how great it is, until you leave. Take advantage of everything you possibly can while exploring a new place. The only regrets you’ll have are not seeing or doing what you now wish you did.