The Five Things You Learn While Traveling for the First Time, and Alone

1. When you board your first train, plane or automobile that’s going to take you to your destination, no matter what it is, you will probably be full of nerves and excitement. If you’re anything like me the nerves & excitement will have already been simmering for weeks up until your actual trip. This is good. Let the nerves and excitement bubble and simmer under your skin because you can use them later in your trip as stored energy to go explore your new surroundings.

2. Pay attention to your surroundings. There are new people around you everywhere you turn and not all of them will have your best interest in mind. Especially if you look like a tourist. Ya know, a giant camera dangling from your neck and always looking up? Yeah, that’s how you know you’re a tourist. The locals aren’t always so kind once they know this. 

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3. While exploring your new environment whether it’s in the boroughs of NYC, the frozen tundra of Alaska or the deserts of Arizona, find something that is unique to the  area and make yourself familiar with it. For example, while in Chicago this past week I found a really cute cafe called The Growling Rabbit by my friend’s apartment. So, I did the homework and looked it up online to see what I could possibly be getting myself into, food and price wise. The next day I woke up early and started to head to the cafe and it turned out to be really amazing. The atmosphere was cozy and the employees were as amazing as their menu.

4. Keep a journal. They’re much easier to carry with you than your laptop and it’s always a good excuse to write down small observations of the people around you that you’d rather not make public on a social media website. Keeping a journal on hand also helps you to measure how much you’ve grown throughout the passing of time on your trip.

5. Once you’re home take a step back for a minute, after you’ve recovered from whatever adventure you’ve been on of course, and assess yourself. Are you a little braver than you used to be? A little more fearless about approaching people and trying new things? Does your soul feel like it’s been washed anew? How about your mind? Does your body have a few new bumps and scrapes and tone to your muscles? Yeah, mine did too. These are not bad things at all, friend. In fact, they’re to serve as reminders that you went out and made something happen for yourself and that you enjoyed yourself along way in one form or another.

So dear friends, go forth and seek adventure and The Great Unknown, because they’re out there and they’re just begging to be found by you.

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