"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible." ~ T. E. Lawrence
After seeing the article Don’t Date a Girl Who Travels it got me thinking about what it means to be a girl who travels and how to travel well. Some of these tips are more geared toward my fellow lady travelers but I hope the guys out there can find a few tips that help them as well.
To the Girl (and Boy) Who Travels
Always remember where you came from. I learned this tidbit from a wise friend back when I was 16 and it’s always stuck with me. Remember your roots, honor your past, learn from your mistakes. As a traveler, it means be a good ambassador of your country, it means remembering that you are a guest. You are the window through which people will see your culture.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T. This can be a big one when traveling to particular places. You may not always agree with how the local culture treats and views women but I promise that you will have a far better and safer time traveling if you respect the local customs. Learn the cultural norms and avoid taboos. Dress well and be modest. Foreign women are often cut a little slack so don’t sweat the small stuff with this one. Just do what you can to be respectful.
When in Rome… Get away from the resort, out of the hotel room, hang out with the locals, walk the city streets, eat from a hole-in-the-wall cafe, participate in the regional hobby or sport, try something new. You’ll broaden your worldview so much by this one act. Enjoy the culture you’re visiting and truly experience it. You’ll never regret it.
Give a little bit. You’re gaining so much on your trip as you experience new things, indulge in tasty eats, soak up the local atmosphere, etc. As you explore you will find people in need. Don’t overlook them and please find a way to give back wherever you visit. If you see street beggars buy them a hot meal. Don’t give money because often it will just line the pockets of someone else with power over them or be put to harmful use. Food and clothing are your best bets. You can make a difference in someone’s life.
Speak Greek. I know we can’t all be fluent in the language(s) spoken wherever we visit, but if you can learn the basics of “hello”, “please”, and “thank you”, it can open so many doors to you. People are often honored that you cared enough to learn a little of their language and it’s a great way to make new friends. Befriending locals also means that you could get insider tips about incredible sights off the beaten path.
Be aware. Learn to pay attention to your surroundings more. Having grown up in stable, safe environments it’s easy to take safety for granted. Safety is not a given when you travel. Traveling in groups is always a good bet but sometimes you end up exploring solo. Watch your back - notice when people look suspicious and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Use your head – don’t go to places that look questionable. Use your intuition - if you get a bad feeling, it’s time to go.
Go! This is the time to break out of your comfort zone. Find that balance of adventure and relaxation, being a shutterbug and experiencing the moment uninterrupted, exploring and being safe. Be open to the new experiences that come your way and make it the trip of a lifetime!
What travel tips have you picked up from your adventures?