I spent all summer working in the beautiful Mediterranean on a cruise ship and then a few weeks ago I fractured my wrist and got sent home on medical leave. Ugh! Watching day-time TV and cooking lavish dinners was great for a few days, but I soon grew extremely antsy and couldn’t wait to get back out there! I reflected on another time in my life when I was struck bad by the travel bug, after my first big travel adventure at the age of 19. Once the trip ended, it was a few years before I landed my job working on cruise ships and started traveling again. I was busy finishing school and pursuing my dreams for the stage, but I felt a constant, biting ache to see more of the world. Finally, though, I realized that that just because I couldn’t hop on a plane the next day, didn’t mean that I couldn’t start preparing myself for my next adventure! Believe it or not, there are practices you can incorporate into your everyday life that will help to prepare you for your travel, when the time arrives! Here are just a few rituals I try to incorporate into my daily life to keep me travel-ready:
1. Research local eateries, events, and attractions.
You may already know what your dream destination is, but do you know what you’ll do when you get there? Learn how to research your local surroundings for unique or historic attractions, search for nearby deals and discounts via websites like www.groupon.com. Looking into my own area, I discovered restaurant festivals, drive-in movies, a wolf sanctuary, hiking trails, and even a cool city event called Escape the Room where you and a group of friends get locked in a room for 60 minutes and must find clues to help you escape! The featured image on this post is from a Meerkat farm right in my boyfriend’s hometown! So you see? Exploring your own area will not only teach you how to search for exciting local excursions, you will also become a savvy traveler because you’ll know how to search for great deals!
2. Stay active!
While traveling, you’ll likely have the opportunity to experience some of life’s most exhilarating adventures: hiking, biking, climbing, diving, these are the excursions that allow you to really indulge in a beautiful landscape and you’ll want to be physically apt to take advantage of them! So sign up for that gym membership or get out there for a run! Better yet, join a local sports team or club and then you can also practice meeting new people!
3. Practice using public transportation.
This is a big one. Public transportation varies from country to country (and even city to city), but the more practice you have reading train schedules, hailing cabs, and booking bus tickets, the better off you’ll be when you have to attempt it in a foreign city! Plus, you’ll get a general idea for how much these things should cost so you’ll know when you’re being ripped off (which happens pretty often to the unknowing tourist). Also, you’ll learn some tips that will be useful to you: for instance, lots of public transportation services around the world give discounts for students or offer package deals for commuters – acquaint yourself with these services so you will know to ask for them when you’re in a new place and you could end up snagging some great deals and saving yourself some major moolah!
4. Practice documenting.
While traveling, most people feel an urge to document their adventures – to preserve the memories, capture the moment, hold-fast to the inspiration – and this can be done through a dozen different mediums! Photography and videography are the most common form of documenting, but some people prefer to write journals, compose songs, collect souvenirs, write poems, or create sketches and paintings. The possibilities are endless! But the beautiful part is that you don’t have to be traveling to do any of these things – and the more you practice doing them at home, the better results you’ll have when you take your creative abilities on the road. So, while you are out exploring your surroundings, make sure you start working those documenting skills so that when you are out conquering the world, you’ll have something to show for it!
5. Practice language and culture.
One of the hardest parts of traveling is acclimating yourself to cultural differences and language barriers. If you know where you want to travel, make sure you are researching the heck out of it! Even if you don’t have time to learn a whole language, you can start memorizing basic phrases that will help you – think of questions you may have regarding directions, ordering food at a restaurant, or checking into a hotel and make sure you know the translations! Also, studying a country’s history can help you to figure out the best places to visit while you’re there. Researching local customs can also be quite useful and can save you from some pretty embarrassing situations! For instance, did you know that the hand-signal for “okay” in America (placing your index finger and thumb together to form a circle) actually means “asshole” in Italy? Imagine the look on your new friend’s face when you tell her she looks great today and unknowingly insult her with this gesture! (By the way, I’ll have a whole blog post on customary misunderstandings coming up soon!) The point is, make sure you use your time at home to prepare yourself for the new world you are about to enter. If you don’t even know where you’d like to travel just yet, then just pick some countries that interest you and start researching! Even if you don’t end up going to these places, you’ll learn some fascinating information and maybe your research can even help you to figure out where it is you’d like to go.
So, no matter when your travel adventures begin, make sure you make the most of them by preparing yourself with these easy practices! What are you waiting for? GO NOW! 😀