I know just about everyone loves lists and I'm definitely one of those people. So now that there is a bit of a lull in my travel plans before I hit Italy I decided to compile a top ten list of things I've learned - figured out – avoided, etc, etc, so far on this journey:
- Learn the language! Don't try to pretend, they'll see right through you and just speaking English is kinda rude. Attempt to at least learn one thing while on your trip. Trust me, the locals appreciate it which brings me to tip 2.
- Don't assume everyone speaks English. They don't and you really need to be on the ball if that happens because next thing you know you're being driven to some god forsaken place where you're wondering hmm am I going to get out of here alive??
- Eat, eat, and eat some more!! Ah, food – glorious food. When in a foreign country, really try to taste as many traditional foods as you can stomach and if all else fails or you have a case of toilet trauma, go to McDonalds. Again not advocating it but it is a safe bet (and can I just say how lucky the people in the UK are? Their McDonalds has the apple pie we used to have in Canada -you know the one, the crispy, deep–fried pies instead of that gross baked apple substitute? Awful!! Don't ask me how I know that. Damn those nutritionists for ruining a very tasty guilty pleasure!!)
- Fly business class if you can: Ok so there have been a few occasions so far on the trip where my flight has been cancelled and I ve been forced to wait for long periods at the airport. So you have a choice. Sit with grumpy travellers pissed off they aren't going to fly out anytime soon or sit in a VERY comfy business class travel lounge, eat and drink your face of for free and wait for the next flight in comfort!!! Hmm what to do?? Obviously money plays a part in this but if you can at least try to afford one flight in business. Do it, you won't be sorry!!
- Treat yourself to something really nice hotel-wise. Even if you're on a budget, try to take at least one night in your travels and stay in a fancy schmancy hotel! Again, just do it - you'll thank me for it later.
- Notice the little things! Sometimes when you're travelling you may overlook (or not) things, certain quirks and weird things that seem so odd to you but are perfectly normal in whatever country you're in. For example in Iceland, with the traffic lights, you start to move your car a bit the minute the light goes yellow than you go when it's green, the opposite of what we do in North America. See? Little things like that are cool to keep track of.
- Be careful, not paranoid or you'll definitely attract trouble. Be aware of your surroundings and be vigilant, doubly so when you're travelling alone. Just don't overdo it so you ATTRACT attention right?
- Money does make a difference!! Budget travelling is fine of course, but money ALWAYS talks. Have plenty in reserve, just in case.
- Pictures are great –video is better. I have to remember that myself!
- Keep a blog of your travels (narcissism thy name is Steve J). Ok granted, to some a blog may be the equivalent to watching a travel slide show people used to bore friends and family back in the day but for your own personal purposes it's a pretty cool to have an electronic journal to remind you of your travels and some of things you may not want to (or may want to) forget!
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