Monday February 9, 2015
Fatooma Ali, Humber College public relations student
I’ve been traveling across North America for the last ten years, and I’ve kept a diary of my experiences. I would write down my thoughts, encounters, hardships, and the things I’ve learned along the way. Write while you travel! All you have to do is choose a destination, connect with people, live in the moment, create memories that will last a lifetime, and write down how you feel. Here are some of the most valuable lessons that I’ve learned from my travelling experiences throughout my 20s. I encourage you to try them on your next trip, and share your experience with me.
- Be open-minded: Don’t allow other people’s journey to deter you from exploring and taking risks. Be open to adventure, take risks, and step outside of your comfort zone.
- Meet local people: One of the best ways to enjoy a new place is by meeting new people. If you come across locals, don’t be afraid to speak to them. They will be able to give you useful insight on places to go, and things to do.
- Laugh at yourself: When you’re unfamiliar with a place, you can feel foolish when you’re attempting to speak their language or absorb their culture. Put forth the effort, and don’t be so hard on yourself.
- Keep money in different places: Don’t keep all of your money in your wallet/purse incase you lose it while you’re on your trip. Some examples of places to stash your money are in your socks or underneath the insoles of your shoes.
- Greet strangers and say hello: Introduce yourself to people who you come across during your trip! Don’t be afraid to say hello, ask questions, or even explore
- Splurge: You may pay a bit more for the convenience of a centrally located hotel, close to the sights. For example, in the oldest parts of Europe, many of these hotels come with enough history in themselves be part of the itinerary.
- Volunteer: Take some time out to give back to the place that you’re visiting. Find a local shelter/school or anything that interest you in one of the local communities, and spend some time helping out. It could be a life-changing experience, so take advantage of the opportunity.
- Get lost: Have you ever wondered where that left turn would take you when your GPS tells you to make a right? Get lost on purpose. Wake up early, go for a walk, and discover hidden treasures.
- Try new things: Wake up early enough to watch the sunset, or to avoid the crowds as you navigate through a new place. Accept kindness of strangers when you travel, maximize every opportunity.
- Eat local food: Do your research! Try some traditional foods, and taste everything. Explore different eateries and ask for recipes so that you can recreate the meals you enjoyed.
- Keep a journal: Write down your experiences as often as possible. It’s so easy to forget details from a trip, so I encourage you to make daily notes, write reminders to yourself.
- Stay in touch: Don’t forget to call or write your family and friends. Social media can allow your loved ones to keep in touch with you and experience your trip with you. Take advantage of free wi-fi wherever you go. Build your network, and keep in touch with people that you meet in new places.
- Don’t plan too much: Itineraries can be useful, help you stay on track and get through an entire day productively, but sometimes you just have to go with the flow!
- Take lots of photos: Capture as many moments, places, and ordinary people as you can. Tell stories from your trip through visual documentation. Upload images via social media and share your experiences
- Travel more often: Write down all of the places that you’d like to go to, and make it happen. There’s always a way! There are travel options for every budget, don’t wait to travel. Start with neighboring cities, and then move onto countries.
It’s easy to forget the details of a particular trip, experience, or place when you travel. The next time you visit someplace, write everything down. Whether it’s about the atmosphere, weather, food, music, or even your encounters with the locals, their culture and language. This way you’ll be able to that re-live those moments whenever, wherever.