As I currently aspire to be a so-called world-class traveler and experience what this beautiful world has to offer, I have learned few essential things from my adventures every new or current traveler must know.
1. Miles and Feet are Useless Forms of the Metric System
When you go to Europe and ask for directions, you will end up scratching your head like you have lice or something trying to convert kilometers into miles and meters into feet. Try not to embarrass yourself like how I did and ask them how many miles is in 6 kilometers and is that walkable?
Here’s a short lesson:
1 Kilometer = 0.621371 Miles
0.3048 Meter = 1 foot
Learn in it the plane over because it will make your journey so much easier and less embarrassing.
2. Learning the Language is Necessary
Try to learn few vital words like “hi”, “bye”, “thank you”, “can I ask for directions” and “no you just ripped me off” (maybe that one is a little too long) or even “do you speak English?”. You’ll feel accomplished and proud of yourself for being able to converse even if it’s a little bit.
3. Walking is the Best Form of Travel
When I was in London, I had to walk everywhere because I was a broke college student and paying 20 euros for a 15 minute taxi ride is not my thing – what the bloody hell?! From the Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge to the Westminster Abbey, you name it, I walked it. Walking is a beautiful opportunity you should seek when you’re in a new place. It gives you that genuine sensation of being in a real journey and discovery which taking a taxi or the tube won’t ever give you – it also helps you lose some of that weight from eating way too much, so you win all around!
4. You Can Have a Relationship in One Night
You know that song from Pitbull where he sings, “I don’t play baseball but I’ve hit a home run everywhere, everywhere” well he just makes it sound so freaking awesome.
During my trip to Milan, I stumbled upon a beautiful Milanese (more like creepily danced my way towards him at some fashion designer event) who whispered sweet nothings in my ear like “sei così bella” and “baciami” and I fell in love with him – but only for that night. So if you ever meet a Luca (his name alone is beautiful), drink some wine, dance in the middle of the floor, hold hands down the street, and even kiss him – experience being in a relationship with him in one moment. You’ll always remember how you were once loved by some smoking hot dude with an Italian accent for a night.
Most importantly, friend him on Facebook or get his whatsapp so you have proof to show back home.
5. You Must Find a Local
Don’t be too worried about not knowing where to go or eat, there’s always a local around. I met Gabrielle, a waiter at Al Teatro Restaurant in Venice. With the sole intent of showing his most cherished city, he offered his services in being our private midnight tour guide. We went from catching a cold beer at his friend’s local bar, walking down this hidden narrow street (sounds sketchy but it was beautiful) that lead to some 18th century abandoned castle and of course seeing the dim lighted Rialto Bridge. I felt like I was discovering some form of the Yellow Brick Road, everything about it was magical.
So try not to Yelp your whole itinerary and get that local experience.
6. Pretend You Are Anthony Bordain
Don’t be that guy who orders French fries and a burger in Italy or make it a goal to find Chinese food in Amsterdam like what my friend did. Be an adventurer. It’s really okay if you spend most of your money eating some Dutch broodjes or some Irish Colcannon because you won’t get its truest and finest form anywhere else but there – make sure you instagram all of it for memories.
7. Don’t Be Scared
And most importantly have the experience you dream about. Don’t be scared to discover new spots which that tourist in that ugly visor didn’t get to, learn the language, and eat that green mushy thing the locals call ‘peas’. Immerse yourself in their culture. Your travel starts when your journey begins.