1. It’s not a race. I was always so bummed about the number of countries I’ve been to compared to other people my age until I understood that the number of places visited is not what traveling is about at all. It’s not important about how many places you’ve been but the depth you’ve explored them. I have been to some beautiful places all around the world that I am insanely grateful for. We can not compare our journeys to others.
2. Read books you normally wouldn’t read. Question each line. Watch movies you normally wouldn’t go see. Study the cinematography. Order the meal on the menu you can’t pronounce. This is how you discover new parts of yourself.
3. Take care of this earth. We are destroying it faster than we even know. Humans need places that have not been altered or rearranged by man.
4. Clean. Get rid of shit. We don’t need a lot to live. Pack light.
5. Walk barefoot. Harden the bottom of your feet. Wear less makeup and dress the way you want. Be comfortable with your natural body. Drink more water. Take care of yourself.
6. You have the power to choose love. Always choose to love.
7. Going alone is okay. If we all waited for someone to travel with us, we’d be waiting for a very, very long time. So, please go even if you have no one to go with. There are millions of people all over the world that are just waiting to meet you.
Some of them you’ll meet in a hostel room and you’ll end up spending the night walking through the street markets, some of them you’ll meet at a bar and discover new corners of a city you didn’t know existed, some of them you’ll meet sitting on a bench at a bus stop and you’ll end up sharing the best coffee you’ve probably ever had, some of them you’ll meet watching the sunset on the beach and you’ll end up sharing stories and laughing with them until the morning and some of them will end up being your best friends. And sometimes you’re going to be alone and going on tours, to the movies, or to restaurants sounds scary to do by yourself at first but soon enough you’ll learn that it is completely okay to be alone. Solo does not mean lonely.
8. Don’t say you don’t like anything until you try it at least three times.
9. Save your change.
10. One of the most reassuring things in this world is that you are never stuck anywhere. You are never unable to leave.
11. It’s so important. You’ve got to write about our favorite moments, your least favorite moments, ideas, people you’ve met, strangers you’ve walked past on the street, favorite quotes, words to remember, what the sky looked like at 7pm, new songs you’ve discovered and what they mean to you, places you want to go or places you’ve been, write about your passions, how you feel in this exact moment, draw out the mountains, scribble all over the pages. And when that one gets full, buy a new one. Reread it in 2 years, 20 years, when you need a good laugh, when you’re upset and can’t get out of bed, read it to your children. You need to remember these moments in your life. They are so important.
12. Spend less time on social media. It’s no secret that social media is addictive and it’s really good at taking away precious moments. It’s important to not be glued to your phone or laptop while abroad. Social media will always be there for you when you get home.
13. Traveling is overly romanticized. It is very hard work. It does not solve all your problems that you have at home. And traveling is not what it looks like on Instagram.
14. When you’re eating, really taste your food. Talk to the locals. Immerse yourself fully into this new culture. When you’re out hiking, let go of your phone. This is how you’re going to get the best experience possible. Live in the moment.
15. Take photos. It is physically impossible to remember all these moments in your life. Someday down the road, maybe when you’re feeling a little depressed or bored, you can grab your camera and scroll through these photos that’ll remind you of some of the best times of your life.
16. It’s okay to look like a tourist. It’s cool to make mistakes. Don’t be afraid to ask a questions. If you make a mistake, do or say something offensive then and apologize and move on. Your life won’t be over.
17. Cheesy souvenirs are never worth it. Collect sea glass, your train tickets, plane tickets, maps, stickers and coins. Chances are those Colosseum magnets you bought in Rome were really made in china. Support the locals if you’re going to buy souvenirs.
18. People are good. I’m sure you’ve heard or experienced this before but the people with nearly nothing are the most giving. We can all learn something from them.
19. The world is not as bad and scary as the news makes it out to be.
20. Nothing will ever go as you expect it to. Plans go out the door. I learned this the hard way. In fact, I am sure every traveler has learned this the hard way. You’ll miss flights, you’ll get flat tires on road trips, you’ll end up spending a lot more money than you expected, you’ll miss buses, you’ll have to run to trains to get to them on time, I promise you’ll have a dead battery when all you want to do is call mom to make you feel better, the hostel you wanted will be full, your dumb airline will lose all your luggage, things will get canceled and you’ll spend many unexpected nights crying but despite all the struggles that traveling brings upon us, it is always worth it. The tears, sore shoulders and blistered feet are always worth it. There’s no point in getting mad that your plan fell through.
21. Everything happens for a reason. If you get an opportunity, take it and if something comes along in your life to change it, let it.