Forget what you’ve seen in all the hand-holding Instagram posts with cheesy captions thrown underneath…
1. You have your own travelling “style”
It might take a few trips, or just after your first one to realize that you have your own style of travelling. You may the type of person who enjoys more historical and cultural sightseeing, whereas your shopaholic travel buddy could be heading straight to the local markets or luxury brand avenues. And let’s not forget about the foodies want to try authentic and local eateries and explore every street food menu there is. The more you travel the more you’ll learn about these different types of travellers, and find out nobody can travel “wrong”, people just like to explore the world differently. What’s the best way to make sure everyone enjoys a trip together? First, knowing what your own travel style is. Second, making sure everyone has time to accommodate their own interests (otherwise you’ll run into #3 a lot)!
2. You will realize you have lived in a bubble your whole life
This will resonate with you if you’ve experienced your first eye-opening trip, and the many more that inevitably followed. Imagine being in a foreign place where you don’t know the language, haven’t experienced the culture, or made friends with the locals (yet). All of a sudden you start realizing and learning A LOT about a whole world where people live very differently and happily that is very far from your own normalcy. In fact, it’s not until you make some new friends and start feeling like a true local yourself that you really understand the place you once called home isn’t in just one city anymore.
3. Keeping good vibes with your travel buddies can be the toughest part of your trip
Forget what you’ve seen in all the hand-holding Instagram posts with cheesy captions entered underneath. Instead, try talking to someone about their experience travelling with others abroad. What you’ll quickly discover is that everyone has gotten into at least one fight with their travel partners, if not plenty! This is totally normal for people who are new to travelling, or are travelling with new people. Just remember to take away those lessons you learned about yourself and others so your future trips can slowly become more enjoyable!
4. You most likely will feel unsafe or uncomfortable at some (or a few) points in your journey
Disclaimer: This will most likely be far more relatable to women than men (unfortunately). If Google maps led you to a sketchy street with questionable people standing around or not-so-artsy graffiti, TRUST YOUR GUT. I can’t emphasize this enough! There are so many reasons why people won’t trust their instincts when they just don’t feel good about the environment they’re in. Whether it’s because you’re running late for a tour, or you’re with a group of people who are trying to play it cool and pushing you to be “adventurous”, understand that there are limits between being spontaneous and being reckless – always play it safe!
5. You will come back broke and way over your budget
Whether you’re a heavy spender or a penny-pincher, you’re guaranteed to throw your budget out the window at some point throughout your trip. Why? Because everyone always makes at least ONE exception (one too many in my case) if they really want to buy, eat or do something they love. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we all have guilty pleasures or we’re all super passionate about something that deserves some broken rules for. It’s important to remember when you look back at the disaster that is your credit card bill, that the beauty of travelling is in the experiences you have that change YOU as a person. Travelling teaches you A LOT about your personality, your passions (especially ones you never knew you had), and exposes you to a world of new people, languages, foods and cultures. You might have a few months of intense budgeting to follow, but you’ll have an endless amount of new memories, knowledge and friendships you’ve gained that really does make it all worth it.
6. Adjusting back to your “normal life” becomes hard
I don’t mean this in the sense that you decide to quite your 9-5 and live a life of adventure or luxury. Instead (and on a much deeper level), it becomes harder for you to stay who you were before you left. You might have changed because you made a new friend that you really care about now, and feel like you’ve left a part of you behind. You could have also studied abroad and had become completely accustomed to a new culture, and so you see the world from a completely different perspective. Whatever your reasons may be, take a moment of gratitude to appreciate the privilege of travelling to a new place, feeling accepted into that culture and being open-minded enough to accept and love it as well, along with its people for what it is, no matter how different from your own reality. Leaving that behind isn’t just leaving the vacation and downtime behind, you’re also leaving what made you grow as a person in the time that you did, and have new opinions, views and memories to bring back with you. So even though your back, that whole experience changes your life for the better, and makes it harder to go back to your “normal life”.
7. Feeling sad and lonely when you come back home is normal
Although this point deserves an article on its own (hint – coming soon!), it’s crucial that people realize this is a real and totally normal thing. It actually took me a few trips to even recognize that I wasn’t feeling too great when I came back. I couldn’t put my finger on why I had such an amazing and memorable trip, yet I was feeling so out of touch and sad with my own life back home. The truth is, it felt like I broke up with something – and I know this sounds weird for those who aren’t familiar with the feeling, but trust me when I tell you, it’s real. Nobody will understand the little things, the habits you picked up, the unexpected friendships. It’s the fact those things that life made happen, not planned or intentional that make it feel like “it was meant to be this way”. That is what makes it feel like a break up. To this day, I can’t let go of this memory I have from when I spent time in Italy. I would wake up every morning for breakfast on the rooftop balcony and sip a fresh cappuccino while I watched the sunrise because my jet lag got me up just early enough. As much as I tried to like Starbucks cappuccinos back home, every sip would trigger the real taste back in Rome, and what a dream it felt like just to enjoy that the simplicity of that experience every morning.
This post was inspired by all the little memories that never got told as stories.