Studies show that people reading about others’ lives on social networks creates envy and dissatisfaction, because people choose to present the most positive aspects of their personalities and lives on facebook, twitter and personal blogs. The New York Times observation about “perfect vacations on Facebook” reminded me of all the imperfect and awful moments I’ve had thus far while traveling.
I thought that instead of creating envy and distaste for my glorious traveling life, which is supposedly full of adventure, wine and cheese, I’d share some of the more irksome lessons learned on my journey so that you can a) feel better about yourself and b )connect more deeply with me as a human.
Andrew Smith and I have been traveling together for most of my tour thus far – we started out our tour in Lucerne Switzerland at a Lindy and Blues event called Sideways. It has been a weekend of intensive dancing and a week of working, walking, talking and eating together. We are about to part ways and have been attempting to feel positive about our less-than-perfect moments by compiling a constructive list of “lessons learned” while traveling:
1) Always, always, always double and triple check every detail of your travel booking.
2) Don’t move locations more than once a week.
3) Contact people a few weeks to a few months in advance when looking for housing and dance connections.
4) Stash extra subway tickets in all your pockets in case you get busted by the police for skipping the fare.
5) Don’t save up your grocery shopping for the late afternoon on Saturdays or any time on Sundays in Switzerland.
6) Don’t try to drink all the wine or beer.
7) The customer is not always right!
8) When you leave a country, spend up all the last of your coin change on chocolate.
9) Know the customs rules of the country you are entering when it comes to food products.
10) Have your story for the customs agents fresh in your mind.
11) Have all your travel documents (especially exit tickets) easily accessible on a digital gadget or in a nearby envelope. This especially applies in the UK.
Personal things I’ve also discovered
1) Always have a travel spoon.
2) Compressable crushable jackets and clothes are the best.
3) Assigned seats reduce the stress of queuing up.
4) You don’t need that much stuff.
5) Rolling backpacks win.
While there are myriad little stories embedded in each lesson, I’ll save those for choicer moments when I can dig out the relevant photographs or audio samples.