THINGS I LEARNT WHILST TRAVELLING THE WORLD IN MY 20’S
To travel is one of the best life experiences you can have as there is so much to see out in the big wide world. I was extremely lucky that my career as a Professional Dancer took me all over the world dancing on some of the top Cruise Liners and it’s the best thing I ever did. As well as having the time of my life and having some of the best experiences anyone could wish for, I also met my fabulous husband & father of my children on one of my contracts. Travel teaches you so many things including who you are as a person. Here are some of the most important lessons I’ve learnt whilst travelling the world.
TO HAVE EMERGENCY MONEY & A CREDIT CARD FOR EMERGENCIES
This speaks for itself but you never know when you could get caught in a difficult situation and having an emergency fund is vital.
TO LIVE IN THE MOMENT, COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS AND APPRECIATE EVERY SECOND
Some people can only dream of being able to see the world so if you are lucky enough it’s so important to live every day in the moment and appreciate where you are and how lucky you are to be doing what you’re doing. Life is short so never let opportunities pass you by and count every single blessing.
THAT A HANGOVER IN THE SUN IS NOT GOOD
Been there, done that, bought the t shirt & it sucks. The amazing party the night before was worth it though!!
TO LISTEN AND TALK TO AS MANY PEOPLE FROM OTHER CULTURES AS POSSIBLE
You learn so much about how other people live their lives and to appreciate what you have in life.
TO CALL YOUR PARENTS ONCE A WEEK WITHOUT FAIL AMD SEND REGULAR E MAILS AND UPDATES
I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did without my parents and I love and appreciate them every single day.
TO ALWAYS WEAR SUNSCREEN
Years without sunscreen in your twenties catches up with you in your forties and this speaks for itself.
TO TRY LOCAL CUISINE TO REALLY EXPERIENCE THE COUNTRY BUT BEWARE OF STREET VENDORS
Food poisoning is a nightmare.
TO TRAVEL LIGHT AS YOU PICK UP SO MUCH STUFF ON THE WAY
I always took too much etc and after 9 months had accumulated so much had to spend hundreds posting boxes home.
TO GET OUT AND REALLY EXPLORE EVERY NEW PLACE YOU GO TO, BE CURIOUS & APPRECIATE OTHER CULTURES
You might only go to this country once in your life so you want to really explore and see everything you can. Always remember to adhere to and respect their beliefs and cultures which differ to ours, including how you dress.
TO FIND OUT IN EVERY WAY YOU CAN ABOUT PERKS YOU CAN GET
As a dancer on cruise ships we were able to use the facilities of first class resorts for free such as Sandals in St Lucia, Sandy Lane & The Colony Club in Barbados and Atlantis in The Bahamas to name a few which was amazing and something I was very lucky to experience free of charge.
TO TAKE AN EXTENSION LEAD FROM YOUR HOME COUNTRY
Simple but so useful as that way you only need one adapter plug
BE CLEVER AT BARTERING AND HUSTLING WITH LOCAL STREET VENDORS FOR SOUVENIRS & TAXIS
They see tourists and the price goes up a lot. If you spend time living and working abroad you learn to barter & keep your cool to keep prices down and show them you’re not a pushover. However, don’t take it too far, remember these people have to make a living.
BE NICE TO EVERYONE NO MATTER WHAT THEIR POSITION
Certainly on ships and in many country’s, class and ranking is still very much present. Yes as a dancer I was very lucky and we got a lot of perks but how you treat others ultimately tells all. Some of the most interesting people I met were bus boys and waiters and they all spoke 3 or 4 languages fluently. No one’s better than anyone else.
TO GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE WHEN YOU CAN & TRY NEW THINGS
Life is for living and great experiences often occur whilst travelling so don’t hold back, do something you’ve never done before, try new food and embrace new cultures.
TO TAKE MANY MANY PHOTOGRAPHS
These are your memories and you’ll want to show your children and grandchildren in years to come.
TO LEARN TO TALK TO ANYONE & THE IMPORTANCE OF BOTH SMALL TALK AND DEEP CONVERSATION
You meet some amazing people whilst travelling and when you first arrive in a new place you may be alone and not know anyone so the ability to understand the art of conversation, however light or deep, is vital. If you can try a few sentences in a different language, even better. I’ve had some of my best conversations at the back of a beautiful cruise ship, sailing away from port and watching the sun set.
TO ALLOW MY CONFIDENCE TO BUILD AND GROW
Both in getting from place to place, managing money and being savvy and responsible, to being confident in anyone’s company and holding your own in a conversation. Travel can sometimes put you in difficult situations and learning to handle yourself and deal with the situation helps your confidence grow.
TO BE ACCEPTING OF ALL CULTURES, RACES, RELIGIOUS BELIEFS & SEXUAL ORIENTATIONS
There is absolutely no room for prejudice in this world and if you want to travel and do have any prejudice with how people live their lives then travelling may not be for you.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PEOPLE, PLACES & EXPERIENCES INSTEAD OF MATERIAL POSSESSIONS
Having nice things is lovely and I love a beautiful dress, handbag, pair of shoes as much as the next female but especially now I have children it’s so much more important to give them time and experiences than more and more material possessions. I want my children to see as many places in the world as possible and Tony and I always endeavour to take them to new places every year to experience the fabulous world we live in.
TO BE KIND AND SMILE OFTEN
Be kind to everyone you meet on your travels and you’ll be so much happier and smile as often as you can. One of my lasting memories in Thailand is the beautiful smiles of everyone you meet. The kindness I experienced from many people I’ve met on my travels shows that in times of adversity the world can be a nice place.
THAT WE NEVER STOP LEARNING
There’s so many amazing landmarks, historical places, cultures, lives, religions, sexualities, beliefs, personalities etc etc and we learn something new every single day that we travel. Travel opens your heart, broadens your mind and fills your life with stories to tell.
THAT HEALTH IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE HAVE SO LOOK AFTER IT, INCLUDING YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
Never take your health for granted. When you travel you need to take extra care, especially if you’re alone. If you’ve ever been sick in a foreign hospital you’ll learn that really looking after your health is the most important thing you can do.
TO ADAPT TO ANY SITUATION
One day you can be at The Captains Table having dinner, the next day you could be climbing a mountain or witnessing the worst poverty you’ve ever seen Travel helps you embrace every situation you find yourself in.
YOU REALISE HOW STRONG & CAPABLE YOU CAN BE
If you travel when you’re young it’s probably the first time you’ve been away without your parents and you learn how to cope & deal with every situation right from checking yourself in at the airport to getting out and about in foreign countries. You also learn how to cope if things go wrong or you have a bad day and learn to deal with anything that’s thrown at you.
TO FIND OUT WHO YOU REALLY ARE
Going to new places is good for you spiritually and gives you the space and freedom to discover who you really are. Embrace this and hear your own inner voice as well as stimulation from your new environment. A new situation gives you a chance to discover what really matters to you.
It will either be a good time or a good story
Riding camels and elephants is not very comfortable
Cheap cocktails are fun at first but give you the worst hangovers
Try to use local language regardless how bad, the fact that you’ve tried will always be appreciated
If someone offers to carry your bag be prepared to pay them!!
Drink plenty of water
Travelling is addictive
Make sure you sort Visas, Insurance & keep Passports up to date
Take care with valuables when you’re out and about & be alert at all times
Sunrises are worth waking up for
Don’t ever drive in Corfu or Thailand
People watching is one of the best things to do in any destination
Tipping can be a minefield for us Brits, make sure you include tips into your calculations
Always carry small change in local currency for toilets, tips etc
Log into the free local wifi whenever you can
However, stay unplugged as much as you can too. So many fabulous things are missed whilst you’re scrolling on your phone
Never trust Monkeys in foreign lands
Don’t forget your own country has many wonderful places to visit and things to see too
Do your research before you go to a new country or city. It’s always good to have an idea what you want to do and see. However, be prepared to be flexible with your itinerary too, some days take you in different directions to what you had planned and that’s great too.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, directions, advice etc
Keep your bags and luggage very very close, the stories of drugs being planted in unsuspecting travellers luggage are all very very true.
Packing cubes are really useful for keeping your suitcase tidy and freeing up more space.
A pashmina or sarong is so useful. It can be used as a blanket on the plane or bed, on the beach to sit on, as a cover up on the beach or by the pool or as a shawl if the evenings are cooler or even as protection for your camera and electronics in your carry on bag
Always carry a small notebook, you never know when you might want to make note of a special memory or remember a restaurant you want to go back to or even write a travel journal
Get a suitcase that’s easily recognisable on the luggage carousel
Pack a small medical kit
Neck pillows are a god send
Turn off data roaming to avoid a nasty bill when you get home.
Go with your gut instinct.. If something doesn’t feel right don’t do it
Enjoy & relish every minute!!