Each month, Oprah writes a column titled “What I Know For Sure” for her O Magazine. After recent events, I am inspired to write my own article on “What I Know For Sure” about travel. For me, travel is all about “The Travelling Be’s”…
Travelling is like gambling…sometimes you win, other times you crap out. I would love to say ‘always bet on black’ but you might get caught in a blackout and I can’t have that on my conscience 🙂 Not every trip will go as planned…and that is the beauty of travel. The adventure you experience along the way. You may have a bad experience or 2, but hopefully the good travel memories blot out the bad. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Remember this…you are somewhere AMAZING (hopefully…sorry if you aren’t…that does suck for you…and if that is the case, get a ticket and go somewhere amazing, k?)!
You’d be amazed how far a smile & great attitude will take you. It will open doors to experiences you wouldn’t otherwise be privy to. People are more inclined to go that extra mile for folks who are kind & really embrace experiencing their culture. Travel is stressful but don’t let the small stuff ruin what could be a fabulous vacation. Delayed? Strike up a conversation with a fellow traveler…you never know what tips you can learn! Going on a tour? Take the time to get to know your tour guide. My guide in Fez took me under his wing and had his wife & sister-in-law take me for a memorable hammam experience!
I research…then research some more on each destination I travel to. I recently learned the hard way about going somewhere unprepared. You don’t want to miss out on seeing/experiencing something amazing! But you also want to make sure you are safe. A small investment in a guidebook (I love Rick Steves…followed by Lonely Planet) makes all the difference. Also, I’ve gained LOADS of tips from fellow travel bloggers which has enriched my own travel experience! Don’t just rely on guidebooks though…search the web. I highly suggest keyword searches on “sexual harassment + name of the city you are visiting”, etc. Guidebooks are meant to entice you to a particular city/country. Try to gather information from various sources to make a well-informed decision on your next travel destination.
Lord knows I struggle with this. Flight delays, long lines at museums, cranky people…the list can go on and on. There isn’t much you can do about delays. I travel with my Kindle, iPad and camera to keep me entertained during unexpected downtime.
Remember you are a guest in someone else’s country/state/city. Their ways may not be your ways. Open your mind, forget the stereotypes and embrace the journey you are about to take! Try new foods, check an activity off your bucket list…get to know the locals. Beautiful memories of a trip create a travel scrapbook for your soul.
The purpose of a vacation is to “vacate”. I am guilty of constantly checking my iPhone for work messages while I’m on vacation…then end up spending precious moments in a fabulous locale troubleshooting drama back home. Which defeats the purpose of the trip. I am also guilty of scheduling a lot of tours/activities because I want to experience everything. What I know now is to choose my top 3 activities and spread them out. Balance sightseeing with doing absolutely nothing but relaxing. Relax, Release, Rest.
So…what do I know for sure? Travel is unpredictable, addictive, educational and magnificent. Yeah, you can have a bad experience but I like to treat them to the Harry Potter effect. If I’ve gone someplace that was awful, I don’t even speak its name…it is now known as The Country/City/Place That Shall Not Be Named. Think of it as a lesson you learned to make your future trips better. If you aren’t travelling, then start. There is a whole world waiting for you! Remember “The Travelling Be’s” and start your adventure. Happy travels!