My travels, thoughts, memories, and love all in one place. Life documented as a twenty-something.

Let's Be Real

When I was preparing to leave for my study abroad I searched the web religiously to find any info I could. I stalked a million blogs trying to find the perfect packing formula and tips on what to do/not to do. Basically anything that would be a glimpse into what I was getting myself into. And let's be real here, every trip has their ups and downs.

So here is a post dedicated to the things I wish someone would have told me and the things I learned!

10 Things I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me:

     1. Take an umbrella.  Seems obvious but I didn't for some reason.

     2. Take twice as many socks and underwear as you do clothes. You can wear a shirt twice but  
     wearing the same socks for multiple days in a row is just plain nasty. 

     3. RUN! Going running gives you a better grounding of the city. You get to explore the
     little nooks and crannies of the city that you wouldn't have otherwise been able to see. 

     4. Be as obnoxious as Doug the dog from Up. But really though... talk to everyone, you never
     know who you will meet! 

     5. Always go to a lookout tower in each city you visit. It gives you a better understanding of the
     city's layout. Plus it makes for great landscape photo opps. 

     6. Take your own camera and laptop for photos. I used my camera literally everyday! Still,
     remember to not view everything through your lenses. Take time to embrace each city with your
     own eyes.

     7. Take a backpack or extra duffle for souvenirs and day trips 

     8. Buy shampoo and conditioner there and take an actual towel. None of this microfiber material

     9. Remember you will buy clothes there, don't take as many as you think. Plus dragging a heavy
     suitcase across the cobble stone roads in Venice is a pain.

     10. Schedule things ahead of time so you don't miss out on a cooking class in Paris, etc. 

10 Things I Learned and Recommend:

     1. Make your own decisions
     You will be traveling with a group. Make your own decisions and run with them. There will be
     those who have the same desires as you and will join along for the ride but do not restrict yourself
     from experiencing something purely because others do not want to do it

     2. Chocolate becomes its own food group in Europe
     Every meal will soon include chocolate even Nutella for breskfast. Get over it. You can
     lose the weight when you're back. Embrace the culture which means embracing the food.

     3. Always, always, always take the stairs or walk up the escalator
     I know this is what kept me from gaining an immense amount of weight. Suck it up and do it. 

     4. Don't judge a book by its cover
     Everyone will become your friend if you let it happen.

     5. Your financial allowance is different than others and that's okay
     Everyone comes from a different background with a different budget and no one way is right or
     wrong - they are just different!

     6. Those little things you think about, do. 
     A few girls on my study abroad bought a pin for every country we visited. The entire trip I wished
     I had done the same but figured it was too late to start. Finally in the last country we visited I
     decided there was no such thing as "too late". So I bought a pin in Iceland, the last country we
     visited. The single pin is my pride and joy. So... buy the pin. It is never too late

     7. Be confident even in the beginning and don't let girl intimidation get to you
     You have no reason to not like others and they have no reason not to like you. Don't let your  
     insecurities keep you from talking to others. 

     8. Humans are not perfect
     Recognize that your professors are humans too. They make mistakes. So cut them some slack and
     give them an opportunity to apologize.

     9. You don't go to Europe to save money
     However you do need to be aware of #5, basically remember there is balance in all things!

     10. Take time every night to reflect
     After every city I visited I wrote a blog post reviewing my time there. Taking time to reflect on
     everything that had happened helped me to live in the moment and realize the opportunities as
     they were happening. 



Stay Gold