TRAVEL | 7 things I learned during my first time travelling

There’s no way I can consider myself an expert on travelling just by taking one trip and I’m certainly in no position to doll out expert advice.

But despite the fact that going on my trip to Mexico was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done, I also learned so much whilst I was away. And I know going on a trip with a tour (though admittedly staying on alone) isn’t the same as entirely packing up your life to travel the world alone, I am super proud of what I done.
Here’s what I learned during my time away.

Formidable Joy | Travel | Travelling |

This is such an obvious point – and one I’ll probably get better at with practice – but my god do I wish I’d packed less. It wasn’t so much that my stuff was heavy, just that I bought along so many things I didn’t use and having to root through my suitcase to find what I did need each morning was just stressful – plus it ended up super messy. I bought so much crap – I even brought a bloody body/bikini chain. I’ve never worn a body chain in my life! I spent so long packing as well. One tip I will give is to take everything you want to bring, lay it out and then half it. I have a spare clothes rail so I hung everything on there, thinking I had a fair amount but when I looked at how much was on there, I just knew it was too much. I cut it down, but I could have cut it down more.
Again, this is an obvious one and it’s always important to bring some clothes for other weather too. I bought a lightweight jumper and leggings, but one thing I didn’t realize was just how hot it was. We didn’t even go during Mexico’s peak of summer. I knew it would be hot, but not humid. Therefore, most days I’d open my suitcase and couldn’t be bothered to put on anything but a loose dress! Accessories were a definite no, although sometimes I chose to wear some pretty thin vest tops with skirts. Still, I really wished I’d thought to realize just how hot and humid it would be – not that I’m complaining!


They really don’t. I definitely felt a little insecure on my way out to Mexico, but when you’re having so much fun and travelling around, no one really cares about how flat your stomach is or how large your thighs are. And neither will you.

But you should still do a stint on local transport at some point. Not only is it a great way to feel like a local, but it’s also good for seeing areas of a place you wouldn’t otherwise – driving past people’s homes, through the town etc. I still remember the day we took the tram from one end of Amsterdam to the other on a trip a few years back – armed with snacks (& slightly sore heads from our hangovers!), we saw some interesting sights.

When I stayed on after the tour, I purposely chose a fun hostel that had plenty of day-time and evening events, giving travellers plenty of chances to meet other people and make new friends. The first couple of times I walked down to the bar, it was petrifying seeing everyone talking to each other and having to find somewhere to sit, knowing it would be next to a stranger. As it goes, once I did, everything flowed quite well and I met some great people, but there were still moments where I found it hard to push myself to put on a confident front and socialize, so instead spent a couple of hours in my dorm. And that’s okay – I’ve come to accept I’ll never be the most outgoing person. At the time, I felt guilty that I wasn’t constantly putting myself out there, but looking back now, I’m glad I took some time to myself at points because it was an exhausting holiday. But overall, I learned that even if you’re thrown towards people on a tour or a hostel hosts events to meet others, there are also times where you have to dig down deep and find the confidence to really put yourself out there.
I’m a fool with money, so I thought I did the right thing by bringing half my money in cash and the other half on a travelcard. That way, if I lost one, I had the other to rely on. I used a Travelcard company recommended by Trek America and this turned out to be a huge mistake. I will be writing a separate blog post all about this, but as it goes, it didn’t work and this led to at least half my holiday being filled with worry. It worked out in the end (just about!) but I could have really of done without the stress, and it was only my boyfriend coming to the rescue by sending me some emergency money that I managed to enjoy the rest of my time in Mexico. I really wish I’d taken the time to research into travel card options myself, instead of just choosing the first one recommended.
Finally, I can’t even begin to tell you how scared I was to take that chance to finally book and go – nor how proud I am for finding the guts to just do it. I had a million reasons not to go. Many things came up to try and stop me. But I persevered and I’m so happy to say I did it. I had so much fun, but it was such a big step for me. I’m even proud that I successfully got on a plane alone (and took a long-haul journey) without a) getting lost in the airport, b) getting on the wrong plane or c) getting horribly drunk on the plane to calm my nerves and missing my connecting flight.

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