If we are still on schedule, I am in Beaune, France today. I could not think of anyone better to guest post about travel, than Melissa. She is my traveling kindred spirit and has already visited so many places that I hope to go. I will turn it over to her to share some of her traveling tips.
Hi there! My name is Melissa, and I blog over at Press Play about goals, reading, music travels, and everyday life. I’m so excited to be guest blogging for Angie while she’s off traveling Europe! I left part of my heart when I backpacked Europe- 2 summers in a row- and couldn’t be more jealous of her adventures.
I can honestly say that traveling over the course of 5 years changed me as a person, and I am so happy that I took the opportunities that came my way and visited various parts of the world when I could. I’ve learned some really great lessons while on the road, and in the spirit of Angie’s travels, thought I would share 5 points that guided some of my adventures.
1. Always eat fresh and local. Sometimes it’s scary to eat food outside your comfort zone, but I promise the food in a new country is half the experience. I know some people will stick to the foods they are comfortable with at home- and in some countries that might be okay- but there is honestly nothing like a fresh meal halfway across the world! I still dream of fresh pizza in Italy, and the amazing home cooked meals I had in the outdoor kitchens in Brazil.
2. Get a good night’s sleep. Obviously there will be a few nights that you’ll want to be out partying and enjoying the city’s night life, but there is so much to see, do, and experience during the day, make sure you’re getting 7-8 hours almost every night. I remember trying to survive on 5 hours a night while backpacking Europe, and after almost a week of 14 hour non-stop days, I almost collapsed. Don’t overdo it, because that’s not fun either!
3. Bring two books you wouldn’t read at home. Some of my favorite books that I’ve read have been while I’ve traveled, and they’re also coincidentally the books that I would have been least likely to read if I had left them for some later time. I discovered the wonders of Malcolm Gladwell on a beach in Greece, and the beautiful story that is Patti Smith’s autobiography (“Just Kids”) while traveling on a ferry through the Greek isles. Of course, bring one or two easy reads, too! There is just no feeling like great novels while you travel.
4. Once you’ve packed your bag, pack it again. I’m an over-packer by nature, even though I’ve traveled with my worlds’ possessions on my back, through multiple continents, in the span of just a few months. I have the fear that I’ll leave something behind I REALLY WANT TO WEAR while I’m gone, and it’s 99% never the case. Once I’ve packed my bags and I’m ready to go, I take a walk, come back, and re-pack by trying to remove a few extra pieces of clothing (or shoes). It helps take some weight off my shoulders- literally!
5. Do something completely out of your norm, just because. My friends will be the first to tell you; I’m not a daredevil. The most exciting thing I do at home outside of my routine is stay up a little late. But when I travel, I try and open my mind and my heart to experiences that are scary, and that I probably wouldn’t enjoy under any other circumstance. Hell, sometimes I don’t even enjoy it in another country either, but I am ALWAYS happy to give something new a chance. I’ve surfed in the freezing cold Pacific, swam with stingrays, jumped off the edge of a boat into the bright abyss of the Mediterranean, and hiked a volcano. Some things I loved, some not so much, but they are all stories I am so, so happy to have brought home with me.
Most importantly? Have fun! There is no feeling quite like packing up and heading to the unknown. Make the best of it, try not to complain too much- even when your feet hurt and you’re exhausted, and write down the details so you don’t forget them when you head back home.
Have an amazing trip Angie, can’t wait to hear your stories!
What important lessons have you picked up during your travels?
Great advice! I spent a semester in Paris during college and then two weeks in Eastern Europe after I graduated. They were some of the best experiences of my life and truly shaped who I am as a person. 🙂
That sounds so amazing! I would love to live abroad at some point.
Thanks again for having me as a guest blogger, hope you’re having an amazing trip!
I am an overpacker too. I always carry too much stuff. I think I take that whole “be prepared” thing too seriously sometimes. I can repack for a trip a few times and still end up taking clothes I don’t wear but I’m trying to get better. Bearing the extra weight is definitely not the best way to enjoy a backpacking adventure.