The idea of traveling the world can seem daunting. I know what I am talking about - I remember having tears in my eyes at the Amsterdam airport when I was waiting for a connecting flight at the beginning of my first around the world. It was the moment when I "fell the record", in which I really internalized that I was going to same traveling around the world, with no definite return date, alone. "Filipe"Are you sure about this?" I asked myself. "Do I know where I'm going?" And all the uncertainties seized me.
I thought I was prepared. He had planned the trip for months on end, worked day and night to save as much money as possible and read reports from many other travelers - starting with Vagabonding young journalist Mike Pugh, one of the first Blogs of quality of a round the world and my great inspiration of the time. Still, in those hours of waiting at the airport, he seemed kind of lost. "Is making this trip the right decision?"
Fourteen months later, I would come home with the certainty of having undertaken the most fantastic experience of my life. On the way back, I made some important decisions that changed the course of my story. Yes, the return to the world completely changed my life. For the best. Today, I'm a happier person.
These are some of the things I wish I had read before leaving. They may be useful to you.
1. Have no fear
Believe me: people are good all over the world. It is even likely that in countries that are labeled "dangerous" meet the most hospitable people on the planet.
Even if parents or friends call him "crazy" and do not support him, leave. Because "crazy" is who does not give himself the opportunity to win the world, who never leaves his "comfort zone" for fear of the unknown. "Crazy" is who does not challenge himself, who does not risk.
Do not be afraid, the world is waiting for you. It will be well received almost everywhere, will make new friends, will feel on the skin the disinterested hospitality of strangers. Go be happy. You will learn to know yourself better. It's going to be bad days, that's right, but they'll be the minority. Why do you want to have a bad day on a Nepalese mountain or on a Philippine beach rather than an office?
Interiorize this idea: It takes courage to travel, just will (it is a travel insurance).
2. Carry little
On the long trip I mentioned above, after a few months I sent home a mailing package full of things that proved to be unnecessary. Spare yourself from this work and simply do not take it.
It is a fact that, on the road, you do not need a lot of belongings. And the bigger your luggage, the greater the tendency to take things you do not need. Therefore, buy a small backpack [see Tips for Choosing a Good Backpack] and undo the temptation - understandable - to take something just because "you may need it". Or "it can be useful." It will not be. And even if at some point in the trip you need something specific - a zero degree sleeping bag or technical clothing to make a trekking in Annapurna - there will always be a place to rent or buy, and probably cheaper than in your country of origin, be it Portugal or Brazil.
If the t-shirts get old and broken, buy new ones at a fair priced for rain. If the polar jacket becomes unusable, you will get another jacket without any problem. The shoes, ditto. Just think there are people in every country, which means there is always clothing on sale. And medicines. It's food. And anything else I might need. Does it seem obvious? And is. But the truth is that it is not easy to resist the temptation to fill the backpack with unnecessary things, just in case, and with this, carry excess weight on the back. Do not fall for that mistake.
3. Travel Slowly
As I have already written, travel slowly is probably the most precious advice I can give to those who start their travels. Resist the temptation to get into the "game of stamps", from wanting to visit 10 countries in 2 months or something. From traveling to collecting stamps in the passport.
Traveling is not a competition, it is a life experience. You will see that if you give opportunity to places, things will be much more enriching than traveling to run. And you still save money on that. Yes, it is better to know a country, region or village well, to get involved in local culture and everyday, than to go through the branch of 5 or 6 countries. I already know what you are thinking: you want to "make the most of" the trip, and that means seeing as many countries as possible, of places. It is a lie: you also get the most out of knowing the destinations in depth, if you make friends among the locals, if you give the opportunity to live the places, not just watch them. And you can only travel slowly.
When asked how many countries you have visited on your trip, say with pride that you were "few". Yes, take pride in traveling slowly and do not envy stamp collectors.
Note: at Expo 98, while waiting in line to visit the country pavilions, there were people who did not stand in the queues, entered a certain pavilion directly at the "reception" to stamp the "passport" at the Expo, and then left. At the end of the day, they could even say and prove and boast that they had been in every country, but the truth is that they had seen absolutely nothing of what was in there. I have not visited all the pavilions; but the ones I saw, I saw.
4. Do not feel guilty for "doing nothing"
When traveling for longer periods of time, You need to stop every now and then.. To breath". To relax. Simply because. Do not be tempted to see and do things all day every day for months on end, because there will be moments when you just want to relax on a beach to crawl, to chat in the common room of a hostel, to read a book in a park or terrace, to do nothing. Do not feel bad about it. You need this time to continue to enjoy the trip to the fullest.
When the trip happens to be his routine, changing places every three or four days, and visiting monuments, palaces, archaeological complexes, squares, alleys and museums, making trekking, diving or whatever, you will feel the need to do nothing. It's normal. Do not feel like you're "wasting time" - that's not true. You are just breaking the routine and resting. Just like at home after a week of hard work or study.
5. Let shyness at home
Talking to a stranger is not a normal act. We do not say "good morning" to people who travel with us on the bus or subway on the way to school or work, nor do we usually start talking to neighbors at the next table in a cafe or restaurant.
For many people, in fact, shyness is a seemingly insurmountable barrier. They are even very sociable people if someone takes the first step, but they stand in the shade if no one "breaks the ice." I know it takes "courage" to talk to strangers., and that is precisely the challenge I put to you: do not be afraid to talk to other travelers in the hostels, to greet the employees of the cafe, to talk to those who are next to them on the bus. You will see that you will have much to gain from this attitude.
And if you ever feel full of typical backpacker, talk to the locals. Because it is most likely that the best travel experiences are born of such chance encounters. Because a "hello" can change your journey - and your life - forever. And if you invite him to do things, accept it.
6. Control the budget, but do not be the most taxing traveler
I have already written that you do not have to be rich to travel. Save money, control your budget, but be sure to do things or visit unique places just because you need to pay. If you think you do not have enough money, postpone the trip for a few months, do some odd jobs to raise more money, or leave with the idea of go to work during the trip.
I am not saying to spend hundreds of euros to make Skydiving in New Zealand, swimming with whale sharks in Australia or seeing mountain gorillas in Uganda. None of this. Choose destinations that match your budget, but be sure to to visit Angkor Wat when you are in Cambodia just because the 3 days pass costs 40USD; be sure to visit a museum that you wanted to get to know just because the entrance is not free; and make sure you eat sporadically in a better restaurant because you spend 3 € instead of 1 €.
On the go, eating well or sleeping in a better hotel every once in a while are little luxuries that your body and soul will thank. Because it's important to be well, happy, motivated.
In the background, select with criteria where you will spend your money, but do not forget to enjoy the trip. Resist the temptation to think that "one day you will come back" and do all that you left unfinished, because in most places where it happens, it will most likely never happen. And do not be jealous if someone tells you that you only spend 8 or 10 dollars a day, you sleep in tents every night and cook your own meals or eat sandwiches all day. [read also text How much is a trip around the world?]
Be mindful of how you spend your budget - negotiate prices, do not be fooled, avoid the restaurants, shops and cafes next to the most touristy places - but do not be the friendliest traveler. After two weeks in chamber rooms, sleep in a private room. After days on end the sandwich or street food, enter a restaurant. After a lot of time saving up on the evening outings, go have a beer with someone at a bar or nightclub. Control your budget, but do not abuse yourself. To make your travel experience even more memorable. Or, as they say in advertising, "because you deserve it."
7. Do not follow Lonely Planet to the letter
It is important to plan, let alone to not comply with the plan. It gives a certain mental comfort to know that we have a plan; have a set itinerary, how many days we want to stay in each place, an idea of the best options for sleeping, how to travel between one and the other. Planning is, by the way, one of the great pleasures before leaving.
But once on the road, use travel guides sparingly - are useful, for example, to study maps on arrival in a new city and know where to go, avoiding the air of lost tourist. But even for this, there is now the Maps.me.
Do not make the mistake of just going to lunch at the referenced restaurants, just visit what appears in the guide, just sleep in a hostel to appear on Lonely Planet. Instead, listen to the advice of other travelers, the locals, and the staff at your hotel. Because your suggestions are likely to be better and more current than what is written on Lonely Planet.
And give yourself the opportunity to explore a country, a city, according to your instincts; without being conditioned by a travel guide. Do not look at what others have written - myself included - as being the only possibility, the only itinerary.
Why this is theua trip. And you can make it what you want!
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