For my topic for this first essay on traveling, I decided I want to write about my experiences while traveling. Within this topic I will have much to write about including how I felt being in a new, unfamiliar place, the language barrier, the culture difference, and all the good and bad that came with traveling, more good then bad ;) Coming soon so stay tuned!
Not all who wander are lost. And this may be true for some, but I think I am lost. However, I am in a good type of lost. I am pleasantly lost. If you want to know what this means refer back to my post called pleasantly lost! I feel like I am having a mid-life crisis as a teenager because all I can think about is literally doing nothing but traveling. Is this acceptable as an adult? If I were to answer this question myself I would say yes because of all the positive, enriching qualities you gain while traveling.
What types of enriching qualities am I talking about? Think of walking through a street, not understanding a word anyone is saying, but smiling because you realized you are actually somewhere other than your small hometown. This exact feeling happened for me when I went to Vienna, Austria and Turin, Italy about two months ago. I would say the language barrier is a difficult thing to manage at first; trying to communicate at a restaurant, to get directions, or just meet new people. It can be quite frustrating, but with the right tools, you can overcome this obstacle. With technology these days, you can download one of hundreds of translating apps right to your smart phone or device. If you are not a tech type of person, buy a simple book and think of it as an investment in your happiness ;). To touch on my experience a bit, the language difference I found as a beautiful thing. First of all, hearing a different language constantly spoke around me, especially since it is deemed "the language of love" (Italian), I was enthralled to just listen and absorb what was around me. Everything you experience that is different from what you are used to, you will find either amazing or overwhelming but it is all apart of the experiences!
Now, imagine driving through a city, town, or even the tiniest village and turning your head from side to side trying to see everything there is to see. When in a different place from your normal habitat, everything is new! The architecture, streets, and even the people. Just sight seeing you can gain so much enriching information. As a tourist you can easily learn about the architectural styles of the time period, religion of the region, and the influences of the area as well. While roaming the streets of Europe, I was excited to be walking on cobblestone and marble streets. This tiny perk that cost no money at all is what I found most exciting. Because this was a deviation from my normal, I found it intriguing! My advice on traveling somewhere new is to really enjoy the little thing! They go a long way and they are free! You can really save money by simply walking through the city and looking at everything there is to see! Through this, as well, you can gain so much.
What is one thing we do at least 3 times a day? Eating! The food in new countries is a "delicious" aspect and discovery of your journey. I highly recommend trying EVERYTHING even if you may think it may sound weird. Some things you will find to really love! I sure did! Within cultures you will find so much different food. Some of which you never even thought would be good! Don't let the weird foods that we may not be used to freak you out. This aspect is all part of the great experience of trying new things. Try foods that are in street markets, indulge in a restaurant at least once, and if you can, meet someone from the region who can cook a traditional meal for you! Lucky enough for me, I got to enjoy all three of these differently prepared foods. My favorite was the street markets; walking along the city, deciding your hungry, and buying some warm, fresh chestnuts. Here in California, chestnuts is not a normal thing to eat and you sure don't find anyone roasting them and selling them on the street. I think this is why I enjoyed it so much. It was totally different from what I could have gotten back home and I took full advantage of that.
To touch on my experience of meeting people, I think that meeting people where you are is hugely important. By meeting people, you are even further immersed into a real countries culture. After all, they are locals so they do know, and can show you, what is normal for citizens like them. To do this, you really can't be shy. It truly does take a certain type of person to travel. You have to be willing to be open!