You can learn a lot about yourself when you leave home and travel outside of your own country. I learned a lot about myself when I set off for two weeks to Budapest and Bucharest. I didn’t think I would learn much about myself in such a short time but I did.
- Traveling Solo — It has been years since I’ve traveled solo. Lately I have been traveling with friends and family. I don’t count traveling to New Orleans on my own as traveling solo; stayed with friends when I was in that city. I wasn’t sure that same person existed whom had quit their job to travel through Europe for three months many years ago. Turns out that person still existed. That is, the person who could talk to strangers while staying in hostels, hang out with said strangers while in the city, learn how to navigate through a new country and manage the metro systems when not walking through the city. It was great to find out I was still the same girl who could travel on my own; not falling back on knowing someone would be there to catch me if I got lost or couldn’t get over my shyness when meeting new people. Nope, I managed to leave the girl getting lost feeling and shyness behind me when I stepped foot in the airport on my way to another country.
- Use of Backpacks — I have always used backpacks when traveling to other countries. I always thought it would be easier to travel with a backpack than a suitcase. Not so anymore. I found it was cumbersome trying to get through the airport with the pack on my back always having to remove it when sitting down waiting for my flight. Another thing is that I tend to over pack so carrying the heavy load on my back is literally starting to weigh on me. Now I feel it might be easier to use a suitcase with wheels. It would need to be carry-on compliant since I don’t like checking my bags through for fear the airline will lose my luggage (had that happen a couple of times). I think being able to pull my suitcase with me through the airport might be the easier way to go; at least for me.
- Hostels — I stay in hostels when traveling overseas; booking dorm rooms since it is a way to save the most money when traveling. In saying this, I did book a private room the first night in Bucharest with the remaining nights in the dorm. After staying in the private room, I wanted to change my booking to where I was in the private room for the last two nights of my stay. Basically, I loved the private room so much that I think I will start booking private rooms more so in the future when traveling. Don’t get me wrong, I still love staying in hostels because I love the atmosphere of the hostel and being able to make friends when traveling and not feeling alone if I am on the road for a while. I just found that I really love having the private room and feeling I could come and go when I wanted along with falling asleep earlier than anyone else without getting woken up in the middle of the night if the persons sharing the dorm with you come in late. I think combining dorms + private rooms may be the way to go when staying in hostels. You get the opportunity to meet and hang out with the people sharing the room with you along with the opportunity to be on your own when you have a private room.
- Traveling for months — Years ago, I quit my job traveling for three months through Europe. I thought I wanted to do that again. I knew taking two weeks off from work would help me get a small taste of seeing if I wanted to do that again. I forgot how exhausting it was traveling for an extended amount of time. Traveling for two weeks made me remember how exhausting it was to get up and go every day because you didn’t want to miss anything in the city you were visiting. By the end of the day, you are so tired from walking all day and just want to crawl into bed and go to sleep. Starting all over the next day. Not sure I want to travel extensively for months on end unless I learn to slow down while on the road. In slowing down, I will enjoy the time spent in each city because the sights and sounds of the city aren’t going anywhere.
- Vacation Time — I receive two weeks’ vacation with my current job. Normally I take the whole two weeks if I want to visit another country(s). I found when I visited one city that one week is plenty of time to explore and see a lot of that city. I don’t need to take the whole vacation time off to explore the world. I should break it down to one week at a time. In doing this, I won’t use up all of my vacation time which is essentially what I don’t want to do. Yes, it will cost more to break up the vacation time because of flights but in the end it will be worth it to know when I get back home that I still have another week left to see another city.
What have you learned about yourself when traveling? Did you realize you need to slow down and enjoy the cities you visit? Did you realize you wanted to spend more time in one city over another? Did you realize you enjoy traveling solo or do you prefer traveling in a group? I would love to hear your thoughts on what you may have learned about yourself when you are traveling.