My 7 Travelling Truths

I know that it’s been a while since I last posted but things have been hectic.  Now that I’m back on the right side of the Atlantic things should calm down a little and I’ll be able to update you on what I was up to over the last 2 weeks.

Last week, while I was still in Toronto, I met up with Oneika of Oneika the Traveller.  We had a leisurely lunch where we chatted and laughed and shared a little of our travel stories.  It seems that Oneika wants to know more as she’s asked me, via her latest post, what my 7 travel truths are.  I would consider these 7 tips as my favourites, my personal choices, or biases that I don’t care to break free from.

1. I always travel with a handbag/purse large enough to carry my assortment of lip glosses/balms, my iPod, and at least one paperback.  All three items are must-haves as far as I’m concerned.  The lip gloss?  It’s an easy way to add colour/shine to your lips while keeping them moist.  The iPod is crucial when blocking out the noise from the screaming child sitting behind you on the train/plane.  A paperback, preferably a whodunit, is my favourite way to escape and to pass the time.  (I’m reading Peter Mayle’s Chateau-l’Arnaque.) After all, this is France where a strike can happen at a moment’s notice.  A good book is a life saver.

2. Happy feet = happy girl. I’ve toured Paris, Rome, and Amsterdam.  I’ve sashayed my way along the avenues in South Beach, Miami.  I’ve climbed (partially; the ski lift took us most of the way) to the top at La Clusaz.  I did all this happily because I wore comfortable shoes.  Ladies, pack accordingly.  There’s no sense in packing only your sex-for-your-feet heels if you’re planning on walking around Paris all day.  It’s not practical.  You’ll end up with that tight, pursed, I-hate-the-world look on your face.  Those heels are fine if you plan on jumping out of a cab and hot-footing it into your restaurant/night spot of choice.

3. Feed me Seymour!  (Sinead, that heading is for you as I’m channelling Little Shop of Horrors.)  I love food.  I remember places and events based on what I ate.  Don’t ask me who I dined with as I probably won’t remember.  Ask me what I ate and I will recount for you everything about the meal.  That said, don’t ask me to eat strange things like bull testicles or monkey brains.  That’s not food to me.  Some call things like that delicacies but I don’t.  This is a challenge, of course, when visiting a country where you don’t speak the language.  Like the time D and I went to Germany.  I know a few of the ‘wursts’ and I know what schnitzel is but hand me a uni-lingual menu without either item and I’m lost.  (I’m in Madrid as I type this and my year of university-level Spanish is seriously being put to the test.)

4. There are three reasons I’ve never backpacked across Europe or any other continent.  First of all, the backpack is not cute.  Sorry, it just isn’t.  Second, I gave up on communal living after my first year of university.  I didn’t like it then and I am not about to recreate the experience.  Third, and most important, I get creeped out by a lot of things.  Yes, I expect a pristine bathroom when I check in.  Yes, the room should smell fresh and clean and not of damp/mold/moth balls.  I have my regal moments — like the time D and I stayed at the Hotel Napoleon in Paris…GORGEOUS!  I don’t expect to stay in hotels like that all the time but I do have standards. After all, if you came to stay with us we’d ensure you’d have fresh sheets and towels; the bathroom would be clean.  Why should I leave the comfort of my home to hang out with bugs and other creepy-crawlies?

5. The sooner you acclimatize yourself to your new time zone the happier you’ll be.  This is especially true when travelling east and crossing several time zones.  Your body will push you to find the nearest bed, sofa, comfy spot where you can lie down and close your eyes for just a few minutes.  You’ll even tell yourself that it’ll be just a few minutes.  Unless you set your alarm those ‘few minutes’ will turn into several hours and you’ll only have delayed the process by another day.

6. Only pack what you can carry.  I’m guilty of not always following this travel truths.  All this because I have a French husband who’ll carry my suitcases up and down stairs, lift them out of the trunk of a car or the overhead compartment of a 747, or pull them behind him along the cobblestone streets of Paris.  But back to the truth.  This has saved me several times and was a result of too many trips with suitcases that I couldn’t tote myself.  The reason for this is that you never know when you’ll have to do it all yourself.  I was raised to be an independent, self-sufficient woman.  I got used to doing certain things for myself, by myself, and in my way.  Thankfully, I was saved from ever having to do it all by my lovely husband.  (Should that be travel truth #7: get yourself a husband who’ll do all the heavy lifting?)

7. Relax and have fun.  There’s no real reason to stress out when you’re travelling.  First, unless you were smuggled out of your home and dropped in the middle of nowhere chances are you’ve planned at least one aspect of your trip.  I like a little bit of control but I also like some flexibility in my travel.  I may go to bed with the idea that I’ll head to a museum but the morning may say “girl, get outside and play!”  There’s no need to plan every single detail as you can’t account for every possible eventuality.  Second, stuff happens, most of which are outside your control, so take a deep breath and slowly exhale.  There are, after all, worse things in life than waiting 4 hours for luggage or finding out that your flight has been cancelled.  In a best case scenario, you’ll have an extra night’s stay plus dinner and breakfast courtesy of the airline.  So you can’t reschedule that business meeting or your plans for brunch with the girls will have to be postponed.  Do what I do: put a smile on your face, think happy thoughts, and toast yourself with another glass of champagne.

There you have it, my 7 travel truths.  What other ‘truths’ would you add to this list?

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Categories: travel

Author:Tanya in Transition

I am a woman in transition. I left my job of 13 years to find happiness and self-fulfillment...in France!

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4 Comments on “My 7 Travelling Truths”

  1. August 17, 2011 at 7:06 PM #

    Great list! #2 and #4 made me laugh out loud! I was actually thinking about doing a post exclusively on comfortable travel clothes and my penchant for cute (yet functional) flats. Thanks for sharing and I’m looking VERY forward to your food posts on Madrid (have you had jamon yet?)!

    • August 17, 2011 at 7:35 PM #

      I am all about the cute & comfortable. Criss-crossing the ocean or wandering the streets have made me wise-up to the comfort thing. I don’t know about those folks who focus only on style.

      As for jamon…girl, Madrid is giving me a heart attack. Yes, I was all over the pig like a mad woman! Stay tuned!!!

  2. Sinead
    August 17, 2011 at 11:33 PM #

    You should see the smile on my face! It’s big, and won’t go away. 🙂

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