Today, the best friend that I’ve made in Nice is leaving to return to England. It seems these days like everyone is leaving Nice to return to university or to move onto their next destination. I expressed my sadness to a local, and they shrugged. It’s the essence of Nice, or any tourist town: people come just to leave. Slightly depressed, I had to agree.
Yet I also realized that constant arrivals and departures are part of the beauty of travel. When you’re on the road, you’re always meeting new people. Some of those people will be your best friend for one crazy night in Prague, and while you’ll never speak again, you’ll always have photos and memories to look back and laugh on. Other people will become friends for life: the ones who you might live on the other side of the world, but who will happily host you and play tour guide when you come to visit–and who it will always seem like no time away has ever passed. So, today, a toast to friends: the ones who travel with you, the ones you meet while traveling and the ones who are always worth the plane flight!
High expectations lead to amazing experiences: I’m starting to realize I need to set cooler goals for myself. Every birthday in a different country seemed cool, until I read about this girl who has decided to visit 25 countries before her 25th birthday. All of sudden, one new country a year doesn’t seem nearly as exciting! Either way, I’m loving this guest series on Backpacking Matt about her various travels around the world–and I’m suddenly craving a pint of Guinness and some curry chips.
Learn something new every day: I wouldn’t trade my college experience for anything. I played college lacrosse, joined a sorority, drank far too much cheap beer and generally had an amazing time. However, I’ve sworn off any further education: not because I’m not constantly questing to learn more, but because I think I can enrich myself more through traveling than through a thesis. Although I still value a college degree, I love the perspective in Want a Useful Education? Skip University. Basically, traveling truly opens your eyes to global issues and forces you to grow as a person–which sitting in a classroom can’t always do. Best of both worlds? Study abroad.
Duct tape and history books: I always love reading about the travel success stories: the women who are able to create a life around long-term travel. Jodi Ettenberg is one of those people: a corporate lawyer for several years, she quit her job to slow travel around the world. This great interview on Gadling covers how she reacted when red shirt protests broke out when she was in Thailand, and her advice to would-be travelers. Among them: don’t buy a RTW ticket and always, always carry duct tape.
Cheap bed, expensive food: The Road Forks are a couple after my own heart: they preach to save money elsewhere and splurge on food. Yum–yes please! Even though you can find cheap and delicious food in Japan, their coverage (and photos) of the delicious results of upping their food budget will make you want to grab the cheapest economy seat to Tokyo and spend all your money on dinner when you arrive.
Where to go if you’re alone: I’m big on solo travel: I like the freedom of doing whatever I want to do, when I want to do it. However, I’m generally a bit wary of where I go while traveling alone: there are some countries that I just don’t feel comfortable in traveling as a young woman by myself. I love this list on the best countries for solo travelers that ranks countries based on safety, openness and happiness–and ended up with a ton of different cultures, languages and continents.