I have something to admit.
I actually did listen to my parents when I was younger.
Crazy, right? As much as I said “I know” or wasn’t listening, I was. My parents will be shocked to hear that. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to many amazing places with my parents while I still lived at home. They’ve taken me to the beaches of Kauai, DisneyWorld and road trips up Highway 1. I’ve stayed in fancy hotels and lived in various-sized campers. I seriously can’t complain.
Through it all, I’ve picked up quite a few tips on traveling – and life in general. I don’t think they were actual lessons I was SUPPOSED to learn (I tend to only remember things I’m not required to know, which comes in super handy during exams…HAHA HAha haAHAha). But I think Mom and Dad will be thrilled to know it was never a waste of time or money on things I’ll never remember.
Don’t be afraid/embarrassed to talk to strangers. I learned this from my dad, which will come to no surprise to those that know him. I used to be mortified at the thought of wandering around a campground looking for someone to bum s’mores off of. But my dad didn’t give a crap. You’d hear him outside talking to the older couple camped out next to us. Now, a few years later, I get it. Whether you get s’mores from them or not (hopefully you do), you meet interesting people. That’s such an important thing while traveling. You never know where it will lead to. Maybe you’ll learn about something cool to do. And if anything, you’ve at least met some pretty amazing people. Disclaimer: Obviously use your judgment. Some people are just downright creepy and should be avoided at all costs, and you might get sucked in to some sort of fireside singing activity for children. Nobody wants that.
Just disconnect. That’s it. Put the phone down. I know it’s hard to not keep checking Facebook or whatever, but that’s not what you’re there for. You’re there for experiencing something. Even car rides are pretty cool. If you’re stuck to your phone the whole time, you might miss out on something. You’ll miss out on interesting/weird/good-looking people or a lightning storm or the bee that flew in from the window that is about to reek havoc in the entire car. That’s no fun for anyone. You’re parents didn’t take you places so you can blow up Facebook. We all know I’m all for taking pictures, but at least wait to #nofilter until you’re done with whatever you’re doing. Just pay attention.
Say yes to things. I’m amazing at this. I love doing cool stuff. If I had said no to scuba diving in Hawaii, I’d be so angry at myself right now. If I had decided I didn’t want to drive 12 hours to Portland, Oregon, I would have missed out on taking a spontaneous road trip to Cannon Beach. Saying no would have taken away memories I wouldn’t give up for the world now. Don’t be a Debby Downer. Have fun for God’s sake. If something awesome comes up and you even have the slightest desire to say yes, just do it. Nike. Just kidding. But seriously for the other stuff.
Eat the damn food. Screw your wannabe beach body. If you’re giving up pasta in Italy because you don’t do carbs then you’re dumb, and you should have stayed at home. If I’m in Mexico, you can bet your ass I’m getting carne asada and a margarita or three. I’m not saying eat everything in sight. I’m just saying that you should enjoy yourself and experience the place you’re in – that includes culinary delicacies (and semi-questionable street food…hell yeah).
Pack layers. Thanks, Mom. Layered clothing is a wonderful thing. Hiking in Arizona can be cool in the morning, but if you’re not careful, you’ll probably die of heat stroke and you’ll have nobody else to blame but yourself. Mom told you so. You’ll be so grateful that you brought a jacket to Hawaii, because…oh look! We’re at the top of a mountain and it’s chilly. Mother knows best. Remember that. (Right, Mom?)
(Note the layers…Circa 2012)
I’ve learned plenty more, but those are the most share-able and universal. Whether you’re 13 or 35, Mom and Dad nagged at you for a reason.
Have any tips your parents taught you while traveling? Comment below, and don’t forget to share!