What I learned while on the road for three months

I dreamed to go traveling for a year and ended up being on the road for three months only. This was partly due to my own anxiety about how I would cope with being on my own and partly due to the amazing opportunity that my company gave me three months off. When an offer like this is on the table you don’t think about it anymore. You take it and go. Or as in my case take a plane.

Since the feature of ‘What I learned in …’ always attracts a lot of comments from my friends in real life, by special request here is what I learned on my amazing trip. To re-read what I learned in Nepal, Tibet, China, Vietnam and Laos please click on the corresponding country.

  1. There is no need to be afraid of traveling alone. It’s actually one of the best things you will ever do. The only problem is that the experience might ruin you for company. Once you are used to getting your way, it’s hard to go back.

  2. Always make your own experiences. Other people might have a different view on this world. So what is awful for one person, can be pretty amazing for the next.

  3. Say YES! There are so many great people and things out there, don’t limit yourself by saying no to them upfront. Go ahead and try it. If you fall flat on your nose, get up and try again. Or try something different. Just give yourself the chance to face new challenges. It is so liberating.

  4. Smile a lot. You will be surprised how many people smile back and will try to help you (or invite you for a juice even if you don’t speak the same language).

  5. Don’t bring a LBD on a backpacking trip. There will be no occasion to wear it and it won’t work with your flip-flops anyway. After two weeks on the road you don’t want to wear any other shoes except for trekking tours.

  6. Pack less. Actually buy a smaller backpack and use this one, you will still pack too much. You really don’t need a lot on your trip and probably a lot less than you think (except if your name is Sylvia).

  7. Don’t bring sweets for the children in the countries you visit. It’s bad for their teeth and you will end up eating them yourself.

  8. Trust your instinct! You will be amazed that you have one and that it actually works.

  9. Don’t be afraid to go up to people and talk to them. They don’t bite and are grateful that you take the first step.

  10. There is no need to bring a make-up bag, you won’t have any use for it. Natural beauty works just fine! But to keep it this way always use sun protection.

  11. Dare yourself to eat street food. You miss out on amazing things if you don’t try (and it saves you a lot of money in the long run).

  12. There is nothing better than to decide in the morning that today you won’t do anything. Traveling is exhausting There is so much to see and to do, so have some days in between where you just stay next to the pool and read a book (or whatever you do to relax).

  13. Eat prawns with their shells. The extra crunch is fascinating and adds to the overall taste.

  14. Buy gifts for your friends. You will have a great time choosing them and they will love it that you thought of them while you were away.

  15. Enjoy being on your own. You are in the good company.

  16. Stop reading for a while and look around. It’s pretty amazing what’s going on out there.

  17. Keep your expectations to a minimum and the world will surprise you.

  18. 24h shops really come in handy once in while. We should think about getting them in Austria as well.

  19. Austrian wine is so good! That’s what I missed the most.

  20. I  am a lot less attached to things after this trip. Everything I really need I carry around in my handbag.

  21. South Koreans are party people! Who would have thought?

  22. Spoil yourself from time to time. You deserve it!

  23. Ask fellow travelers about what they liked best in the country you are visiting. You will get some great ideas on where to go next.

  24. River cruises are overrated.

  25. Don’t party everyday like there is no tomorrow because there is always a tomorrow and you might miss an amazing sunrise. But when there is party, go ahead and enjoy yourself!

  26. Be generous the first time. Sometimes that’s the only time you have.

  27. Appreciate that you had a lucky escape (again). And live life to the fullest. We only have this one and it’s happening now!

 

8 Comments

  1. ad 6: Yes, I will always LOVE my new 100l backpack :-)

  2. 11. Dare yourself to eat street food. You miss out on amazing things if you don’t try (and it saves you a lot of money in the long run).
    Absolutely!! And it’s the best way to meet the locals as well!

  3. LOVE IT… and agree to every single point!!! especially …the experience might ruin you for company. Once you are used to getting your way, it’s hard to go back! SO TRUE! only exception being with my three boys – I’d love to repeat my macchu pichu experience with them, though (or because) it would be a totally different one

    one thing I would add – fully go along with missing great austrian wine… but I usually miss austrian water even more

    ps: @14 – love the beautiful scarf and have worn it every single day so far :-)))

  4. Great post! I feel like packing my bags already:)

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