There are many things you should know before travelling, no matter how old you are. We are all under pressure to see the world and experience new places. This mostly comes from Social Media but can come from family and friends too. The are many perks that come from travelling, but it isn’t for everyone.
Travelling can either be your way of life or an extended holiday. Maybe you’re considering taking a gap year, or a nomadic lifestyle. Regardless, whatever it is, you are bound to find yourself feeling a little low at times.
Rather than you going out and regretting it, or envying what others have. Why not take a look from a travellers perspective? If after you’ve read this, you still feel the urge to travel, then great! I am not trying to discourage you, more provide awareness before you leave.
10 things you should know before travelling
1.Travelling can be uncomfortable
I remember one night where my friends and I needed to catch a coach from Prague to Berlin. We caught a taxi to the bus stop for our pick-up at 1 am. The coach didn’t show up for over an hour. We were tired, cold and worn out. Once the coach showed up, we all tried to catch up on sleep because we knew we had a big day ahead of us. There may be many tips to sleeping comfortably on a coach, but sometimes it’s just impossible.
After we arrived in Berlin, our minds had to work. We needed to get public transport to our hostel, including three trains and a 20-minute walk. After dropping our backpacks of, we changed our clothes, had quick clean and ventured out into Berlin. I don’t regret it, but I can’t say I felt amazing!
Some may enjoy these uncomfortable moments, even live for them. I think that’s what life is all about but for others, I can see that this is not their idea of fun.
I’m not one to get homesick, but occasionally, I do feel aspects of it. I just miss being able to pop into my parent’s house and have a cup of tea (yes, still Englishness here).
The term ‘home’ can be whatever you perceive it to be. It could be your physical family, a town, family house or even continent. When you miss your perception of ‘home’, you can become homesick.
Homesickness can also stem from feeling insecure in our current location. It doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful, it’s just unfamiliar and may not provide comfort. At least not the kind of comfort our home provides.
Some only experience homesickness when they first arrive in a new place. This is because, with time, this new place creates its own comforts. Therefore, what was once unfamiliar is now familiar.
3. If you’re running from your problems, travelling won’t solve them.
One of the most important things to know before travelling is breaking the illusion. This illusion that we can run away and start completely fresh is false. You can’t run away from yourself. You come with YOU!
Have you ever heard of running from your problems? I don’t recommend it. Problems tend to follow you, no matter where you go. I’m not talking about your partner or your boss. I’m talking about your deep inner problems. When you run away, you bury these problems, resulting in life creating more problems. Life is problematic, no matter what situation you find yourself in.
4. You’re going to need confidence
Sooooo much! Travelling is a great way to gain confidence, but not so good if you don’t want to.
I gained my confidence through travelling and putting myself in uncomfortable situations. It has resulted in me being more confident around people I don’t know, rather than those I do. Ask me to walk up to a stranger in China and ask for directions, no problem. But if you asked me to buy my Mcdonalds, we may have a one. I can’t explain what it is but I’m always more confident around people I don’t know. You maybe like me or the complete opposite. Regardless, confidence is an absolute necessity when travelling.
5. Culture shock is a real thing!
In 2015 I visited the Giza Pyramids (Cairo, Egypt). I was riding a camel when I head a horse crying out in pain. All I remember was screaming at these men. Without sounding too graphic, they were whipping this horse, and hard. My friends urged me to calm down and as a ‘non-confrontational’ girl, I would’ve normally cooperated. I just couldn’t bear to see it and was in shock. I refused to leave until the men agreed to stop. It was bound to start again when I left, but for me, at least for that moment, that horse got a minutes rest.
I came to the conclusion that there was little I could do. This was their culture and I’ve come to their country. I will never go back, and I will also tell people this story if they wish to go. They can make their own choice.
Always remember that seeing things you don’t agree with will happen if you travel. However, even if you don’t agree with it, you will learn something from it. You may, or may not, have a wide range of privileges compared to many. Use your words and voice to help. Sometimes, you need to accept that nothing can be done but that is a price you pay to travel.
6. Going home after travelling can be shocking!
Have you ever hard that returning home is hard? It’s true, especially after travelling for a long time. Even if you go on a two week holiday, you can be affected. The reason for this hardship is change. Travelling opens our eyes to different opportunities, ways of living and people. More often than not, this results in a change in who you are. You may experience things that others haven’t. You may even have a new perspective on life.
Sometimes things at home can change, and you need to find a way to fit in. You may find that you’re not compatible with your home as you once were.
Your life may also lack the excitement that you experienced whilst away. This is called wanderlust. You end up with the feeling you need to expand on your horizons again.
In my experience, the hardest part was feeling like nothing had changed. My family still saw me as the same girl before I left. I’d met so many different people and fought my own battles, yet was treated as if I hadn’t.
7. Travelling can put others aspects of your life on hold.
A close friend of mine and I had the same timeline up until University. We then drifted and went our separate ways. I decided to travel, and she decided to p
However, my path lead me to being over 2 years behind on my career path. Sure, I’ve learnt a lot working on a dairy farm and as an assistant manager at a bottle shop, but neither are careers I wish to pursue. Only now am I looking into my career possibilities and working on going back to college. I wouldn’t change my life path, but I understand the advantages of having financial security.
8. There is more to life than ticking off every country and continent!
It’s true. Our alter ego’s come into play when boasting about how many countries we’ve visited. The first time I counted was for my homepage. I was surprised because I expected many more.
When I explore a country, I like to see different towns, experience the culture and spend a long time there. I know the North of Italy like the back of my hand, yet that’s only one country. Not all of my travel experiences have been like this. I do enjoy a typical holiday every once and while.
Some people don’t need this. For some, a specific career is their main aim, for others, it may be creating their ideal family life. Whatever it is, that’s okay. It’s your life. Don’t let the inspirational Instagram post trick you into thinking travelling is the only thing you should be doing. It isn’t all that great!
9. Travelling does cost money.
Let me start by saying that in the past I’ve stated that everyone can travel. I was wrong. It’s not always that easy. If you want to travel, you will need some money. Even if it’s just enough to buy a plane, train or boat ticket.
I have self-funded my travels since I was 16 years old. However, I was lucky enough to have good-paying jobs, both at home and abroad. I’m also super good at saving and budgeting, going without a lot of stuff to travel. I didn’t have any financial obligations. Again, I was lucky because I only ever needed short-term rentals at any given time. I also had many different places I could stay rent-free (although I did help in other ways).
The way I was brought up enabled me to make connections. Ones I needed to make travelling more affordable. It also gave me the right mindset. It’s understandable that without this, travelling isn’t so easy. People have cars, insurance, rent, houses, bills and so many other big priorities. Of course, no one is saying that you can’t travel, but perhaps for you, it may be more difficult than others. In which case, it’s important to know that travelling isn’t everything.
10. Your personal life may get in the way of travelling.
Just because you’re travelling, it doesn’t mean you won’t get sick. Mental and physical illnesses can arise at any given moment. Some countries don’t have the right resources to suit your needs, meaning you will have to return home.
When we are away, we tend to live our own lives. Putting our past into another life. When something major happens, you may have to return. Other things can also go very wrong when you travel, so always have a backup option.
Also, please don’t travel without travel insurance. It’s just not worth it. We all think it won’t happen to us, and then it does.
Time to enjoy the positives
So, now that you know these things before travelling, you can set off on your new adventure with an open mind. You are prepared for the negatives, which now means you can enjoy all the positives too!
If you’ve deciding travelling isn’t for you, that is okay! Give yourself a break. Look out your window wherever you are and take a deep breath in. Find the beauty in your location. Listen to the wind or the birds. Go out with your friends or go shopping. Go be you and be happy. Always remember that travelling isn’t for everyone!
If you find yourself still envying others travel lifestyles, try reading ‘The Grass is not always Greener‘.