5 lessons learnt whilst travelling…
Picture the scene you’re basking yourself in the sun on the top of the dive boat off the coast of Ibiza and a light breeze is making the experience even more enjoyable. The casual breeze offers some slight respite from the heat but then the breeze suddenly becomes a stronger gust of wind. Not normally a problem except the super comfortable TOMS you were wearing earlier in the day that are now sat next to you on top of the boat instead of on your feet are making their way through the gust and into the Mediterranean blue. You catch the right foot shoe but the left lands on the water a fair distance from the boat. Despite your requests to the captain to turn the boat around and retrieve the sole TOM you know this isn’t going to happen. Off the boat it’s your job to now convince your loving other half to either buy you a new pair of soles from somewhere nearby or make him walk back to your accommodation to get you a spare pair of shoes so you too regain the use of your own feet.
Yes I could have hobbled back with one foot soled and the other bare, but I didn’t want to and herein lies just one of the very practical lessons I have learnt from travelling.
Lesson #1: Dive boats and boats in general are not ideal places to leave your belongings unattended.
Learn from my story above. If you leave your things out and unsecured expect them to end up in the sea and that a relative of Nemo or Dory will be looking super stylish in your sunglasses/t-shirt/shoe/jewellry or whatever else it is you’ve lost. What you need to do is get a dry-bag or something else to keep your stuff safe and dry and attach it to a fixture on the boat or under the seats and you won’t have to go through the shame of an incident like mine.
Lesson #2: If you need travel sickness tablets take them in advance!
Another dive boat related incident but waiting until you are out at sea and finding the water remarkably choppy is not the right time to take the sea-sickness pills. This has happened to me twice and I have finally learnt to take them at least 1 hour before we’re due on the boat or in the car as sea sickness nearly ruined our whale-watching trip on our Honeymoon and almost cut short several dives in Zanzibar. I now make sure I take them anytime I may be going on water or a particularly long car drive as it’s just not worth the ill-feeling I can sometimes get.
Lesson #3: Always pack the night before
Being a self-confessed obsessive planner you’d think I would have the packing thing down but funnily enough this is not something I am very good at nor like doing (does anyone enjoy packing?!) so I always make sure I pack the night before to avoid last minute stress with what to take. I have also recently really got into packing hacks and am a total convert to the rolling method as opposed to folding. I haven’t used them yet but I suspect packing cubes will be the next natural step for me especially with mini-traveller on the way as they help keep everything organised.
Lesson #4: Download an offline map
There’s nothing worse than being somewhere you’re unfamiliar with, putting all your trust into Google Maps or the like on your phone to find when you get home you’ve been charged a small fortune for roaming charges. Some phone companies will charge you a fixed rate per day for accessing the internet within the EU or if you’re like me and on 3 you can use your phone just like you would do at home for no extra charge in some countries. But when I can’t do either of these two options and I know I will need access to a map then I make sure I download the area or city I need in the maps.me app first. I really like this app as it shows you restaurants and places of interest too so is perfect for travellers.
Lesson #5: Embrace the trip you want
I hate the whole tourist vs. traveller debate and find myself really annoyed by both of these labels. I love travelling to different places and I am not afraid to go into full on tourist mode if that’s what I want from that particular trip. I don’t think anyone should turn their nose up at how someone else chooses to travel or spend their precious holiday time. If you’d rather lay out on a beach, sipping all-inclusive cocktails then you do that and don’t be bummed out by people judging you. In the same vein if you want to tick off all the must sees and have an action packed itinerary, or you want to soak up the local atmosphere and just people watch then that’s your choice and it’s your trip so I say do what you want!
What lessons have you learnt from your travels? Any practical bits of advice or life lessons that have changed your outlook?