For the past six weeks I have been studying abroad based out of Bonn, Germany. Throughout my time there I have done plenty of traveling on my own, meeting new people, experiencing new cultures, and learning about myself all along the way. I have kept a log of little “pieces of advice” you can call it, from small moments in time each, with a deeper story of some sort; but we’ll save that for another time.
I wrote these as general tips for any future travelers that happen to be my friend on Facebook. Now I can share it with the world…
Post 1, May 24;
Getting on the wrong train at midnight isn’t always a bad thing. You may end up meeting some extremely friendly/helpful, interesting people…
Post 2, May 29;
When booking an “airbnb” apartment, take your time. There really is no rush.
Impulse reservations may end up fine, but there will always be other places available. Keep looking and keep calm.
Post 3, June 8;
If you don’t know… Ask. This goes for anything; directions, food items, word/phrase meanings… annnnyyyytthiiinnnggggg. If you are unsure don’t be afraid to ask someone. Trust in yourself yes, but trust in a local’s advice a little more. 95% of the time, they are willing to help, and usually they are actually pretty helpful.
Post 4, June 11;
When traveling to an unfamiliar location with a group for an extended period of time (at least 3 days)… try to go off on your own for at least an hour or two and explore. No map. No plans. No actual final destination. Just go. Take in the city by yourself for what it truly is without any “distractions.” But take some precautions of course. Be safe and enjoy.
Post 5, June 26;
After a long night of exploring with your buddy… That questionable bratwurst stand lit up from across the street truly is a great idea. Even though the only currency you have left in your pocket is 10 euro cent change. Paying 3.50e in coins was well worth the time and effort. Trust me.
Post 6, July 3;
Remember all those long days of that foreign language class you had to sit through; thinking they were the biggest waste of time and after 3/4 years you still can’t speak a word? Learning another language seemed like a chore when I was in school, but I now realize how helpful it actually was. You may not think you’d be able to survive in a country that doesn’t speak English, but in the end you’d be surprised at yourself at how much you’ve kept deep down in your long-term memory. Practice another language on the regular at home, because you never know how helpful it could be when you’re out and about.
Post 7, July 5;
Traveling = money; and a lot of it. At times it may truly hurt to look at or even think about your bank account. But at the time of the purchase, it is the greatest decision to date. Every purchase I have made while abroad has been an amazing one. Whether it was from a scoop of gelato on a late night or a decadent meal; every trip, every activity that involved money was 100% worth it and I have NO REGRETS. Saving money is ideal yes, but what’s the point of saving if you never get to spend it on something enjoyable. So my advice to you, my friends. While abroad, live to the fullest you can possibly live. Know your budget and your limits, but just remember money is always replaceable. The moments and memories you make while spending that money are priceless. Cliché? Yes, I know, but its true.