1. The concept of time no longer exists.
If you travel any longer than a week, you’ll know what I’m talking about. During the first week of travel you manage to keep track of the date, but the next week you’ll wake up and no longer know what day it is, let alone date. Time takes a backseat to exploring and experiences.
2. How to just go with the flow.
It suddenly down poured while hanging out at the Eiffel Tower.. But that wasn’t a problem, I made friends with the Middle Eastern guy seeking shelter next to me. I could have easily headed back to the hostel, but I would have missed out on that experience. Just go with the flow, you never know where you may end up.
3. You can learn the basic words of any language.
Before I travelled to Italy for 2 weeks, I spent a little while keying myself up with the local lingo. I learnt everything from numbers, to staple food, terms used in transport and simple greetings. I can say while I didn’t know much, I learnt enough to determine what I was eating, where I was going and what people wanted from me. Especially came in handy when travelling by train, all announcements and signs were in Italian.
4. Hostels + solo travel = instant friends.
Nothing brings people together faster than a foreign city and a common language! I think travellers tend to book hotels because they like the idea of having personal space, however, personal space also means seclusion and loneliness. During my travels I only stayed in 3 hotels and each time I felt homesick. On the flip side, every hostel I stayed at, I made new friends and never once missed home. When you’re travelling alone in hotels it’s not hard to go days without saying anything more than hello to the cashier at the local supermarket.
5. Currency converter apps are your new best friend.
As you’ve probably read, I made the giant mistake of withdrawing over half my spending money in Serbia.. What made my situation worse was the banks were closed and the next country wouldn’t swap my currency. I went with it and sold it to people on the bus, however if I hadn’t been able to do that, I would have been screwed. So download that app! It might just save your life.
6. It’s best to travel lightly.
There was nothing worse than lugging my 15kg bag up and down the hundreds of stairs across Europe.. Sure, I had all the clothes I could possibly want.. But I struggled nearly every day with the weight! And it was only when I watched someone who had a carry on, that I understood less was actually more. More travel. Less hassle!
7. Patience is key.
Let me warn you if you’re not a patient person, you may encounter some hard times while travelling. Whether it be other foreign tourists refusing to move out of your photo or line ups to get into many different sites, you will have to wait.
8. Wear something appropriate and comfortable.
This one didn’t take me long to figure out. For the first week or two I dressed to impress… But after that, I realised I didn’t know anyone and I was simply just inconveniencing myself! I would walk around constantly holding my dress down, stopping because my shoes hurt my feet or holding my hair out of my face. I would find myself getting annoyed and not truly enjoying the city around me. So my tip is to wear something that is comfortable, something you won’t fidget with and wear a decent pair of shoes. You’ll have a much pleasanter experience!
9. The best views will take the most effort.
One thing I found while travelling was that you had to work for the best view. The best views of any city usually involved a substantial amount of stairs… I’m talking at least 300, often more. However, once you make it to the top and look out over the city, you’ll find that it was worth it. You can see for miles in every direction, something that allows you to truly appreciate the beauty of the town.
10. You’ll come back a different person.
When I came home I realised it wasn’t home that had changed, it was me. I saw things differently, had a deeper appreciation for the little things around me. I learnt that nothing beats your own bed, or the simplicity of not doing anything. I learnt to be happy with everything I had and to enjoy the little moments with family. Travelling is something that inspires the soul, it creates a feeling deep inside that urges you to continue exploring. People are right when they say travel changes you.