8 Truths I've Learned While Traveling the Globe
1. Go to as many different cities as you can!
Don't just stay in one city, one town, one hostel, move around as much as you can. Claiming to have "seen England" because you went to London for two weeks or saying you've "seen Thailand" when you've only gone to Bangkok is not a true portrayal of the country as a whole. While both these cities are amazing places, there's always so much to see in cities across the country. Jump on a train, or in a bus, or in a van and head out to another part of the country, another city, just simply another place to get a feel of what other areas of the country are like.
2. Eat the local cuisine
This one I cannot stress enough: when you travel to another place, another country, another culture, eat the local cuisines. Don't be afraid to try something new or weird or interesting, you may end up liking what you try more than you thought.
Eat Paella in Spain, Harira and Mint tea in Morocco, Fish and Chips in England, Empanadas in Argentina, or Gaeng Mussaman in Thailand. No matter where you are, where you're headed, or where you want to go, make sure that trying the local cuisine is on your list!
3. Make sure you see more than just the "tourist traps"
While yes, seeing Big Ben or the Eiffel Tower can be amazing experiences, try not to have these be the only activities you experience. Go were the locals go, if that means missing out on trying "Chuck Norris BBQ" in downtown Reykjavik so be it! Go get yourself a nice piece of whale or horse from one of the local restaurants and enjoy it! Believe me, that's more of a story than simply hitting up the sites found in your guidebook!
4. Stay at Hostels, not Hotels
While hotels might provide a nice relaxing stay and a comfy room all to yourself, hostels offer their guests a once in a lifetime experience to meet other travelers from all corners of the globe. Yes, maybe it would be nice to take a hot shower where the water doesn't run out halfway through or sleep in a room by yourself instead of with sixteen other people, that's not why your on the road! You're out there to meet new people, to hear the stories, to stay up drinking until 3 AM with a group of friends you just made that night! Plus hostels typically offer rooms at a price that blows the hotels out of the water!
5. Go it alone
I've said it before and I'll say it again: traveling by yourself is one of the most rewarding experiences you'll ever have. With nothing and no one holding you back you have the ability to make your own plan, create your own route, go where you want to. And solo travelers can be some of the coolest people you'll ever meet, because we're all looking to do the same thing: meet other travelers!
6. You don't always have to take the picture
With cell phones and cameras being so easy to use and accessible today, it's easy to get carried away in the "I need to take pictures of everything I see and everywhere I go" frame of mind. While pictures do serve a very valuable purpose throughout your travels, sometimes it's better to keep the cell phone or camera in your bag. While I'm sure your friends and family back home would love to see your selfie in front of the ocean or on top of a mountain, sometimes it's better to keep those moments for yourself, in your mind where you can always remember it.
7. Take local transportation
Don't get the charter bus to take you all over the country, sometimes the best experiences come when you're traveling with the locals. One of my favorite experiences from my month spent wandering around Thailand was when I rode a local train for six hours down the coast to get to a small beach town called Prachuap Khiri Khan. I met locals, took pictures with little Thai kids, watched their amazed faces as they saw a yo-yo for what may have been the first time. You can't get that type of experience in a charter bus.
8. Take more away from the trip than what you bought.
While it's always good to have a few souvenirs to remember your experience by, nothing can quite replace a good story, good people, and amazing experiences. When the time to leave does come (if it comes that is), make sure you're taking more away from your experience as a whole than simply the items you've bought or the pictures you've taken; pictures and trinkets get lost, they break or simply fade away into a cluttered life, but the memories you make, the people you meet, the ones you fall in love with, the places you'll never forget, that's what will never fade. No matter what happens when you do get back to reality, those memories can never be thrown away, stolen, or broken.