When I look over this past year, I’m quite amazed by the number of places I’ve gone and the experiences I’ve had around the world. I’ve been blessed to see so many different counters and cultures just within the last 12 months, and I’m only 21! Each trip has been drastically different, both in terms of the purpose of the trip and who I’ve traveled with. I’ve been blessed to travel with some stellar people, some of whom I was good friends with prior, some of whom I barely knew, and some of which I was meeting for the first time. I’ve certainly learned a thing or two about how to travel well, who I like to travel with, and how to be a good travel partner. First things first, enjoying your time traveling and your travel partner always starts with you.
Through your own agency and how you interact with your traveling buddies, you can dramatically affect the time you’ll spend abroad, either positively or negatively. These are just a few things I’ve learned through out the past year, and things I like to remind myself of with each trip. Before we jump into it, I’d just like to dissifer the difference between traveling and vacationing. While some might argue that they’re the same thing, I think they’re two different things with different purposes. Vacationing is meant for the purpose of relaxing, and to unwind from real life. Traveling isn’t always relaxing. Of course people travel for different reasons, but learning new cultures and experiencing life in a new place is a major reason for traveling. Both traveling and vacationing are important, and I’d argue really healthy for a well balanced life, but here I am focusing more on traveling.
1. Go with the Flow
When traveling, especially in foreign places, there are so many external factors that can affect your plans. Buses are late, schedules fall through, wrong turns are made. It’s never fun when you have to improvise to find your way or get somewhere on time, but your attitude about it can change the situation dramatically. Keeping a good attitude can ensure you and your travel buddy can make the best of any situation, and getting uptight or upset only makes those situations worse. Some of the funniest memories when traveling with friends are from times when things went wrong or we ran into trouble. Seek to find the joy in those times when things go awry and they will turn into humorous moments to reminisce on.
2. Be Wary of Expectations
Sometimes we have the tendency to make long bucket lists of plans when we’re planning a trip, and plan every second of our time. This alone can certainly set us up for failure, never mind if your travel partner has different interests or expectations. When planning your trip, try to stick to making only a few expectations, or one large goal for each day of the trip. You don’t want to plan so much that you’ll never be satisfied with what you were able to do.
3. Pay Attention to your Travel Buddy
Traveling can affect people in different ways, especially when elements of culture shock, exhaustion, and stress. Pay attention to your travel partner. Signs of depression or culture shock can sometimes be subtle, but if anybody is going to pick up on it its going to be you. Make sure to take time frequently to process together, talk about whats going on in your mind and how you’re interacting with your surroundings. Sounds simple, but sometimes we forget when we’re in a new environment!
Here are just a few of my wonderful travel buddies! Pictured next to me is my dear friend Jill who came to visit me in Italy for spring break. Next to her on the right is Lizzie who I’ve actually done more traveling with than anyone else in my life! She went to South African with me, and we also did the Camino de Santiago (a pilgrimage through Spain) together. Lastly is my dear friend Rayno who is currently studying in Florence, Italy, and whom I hope to do some traveling with soon!
The best part about traveling is meeting new people with your travel buddy! And who knows, sometimes those new friends become future travel buddies! I’m lucky enough to say that has been the case for me. Where will I be traveling to next? You’ll have to come back next #trendytuesday to find out! Until then, stay trendy!