What a week it has been, full of new experiences and beauty. We’ve loved (almost) every minute of it.
1. Strikes happen. Flights get cancelled and have to be completely rescheduled. Taxi drivers cheat and steal or simply just get lost. Demonstrations and protests shut down entire streets. ATMs refuse to accept debit cards with no explanation. Language barriers create difficulty or total miscommunication. All of this can (and did) happen when you travel.
2. Travel is hard, but in my opinion, it should be. Several people asked if we were working with a travel agency or having a company book a tour for us when we first talked about our trip. At the time I didn’t get it, even though planning took a ton of time and effort. Part of what I wanted out of this trip was to learn and discover another country and another culture and that can’t happen if someone else is doing all of the work. You learn most when you have to read the map, squeeze onto the subway, order food in another language, find and catch the train, attend a local event instead of a tourist show and ask questions. Sure, you might get lost and walk a mile out of the way or look ridiculous while you fumble your way through. But when you get it right the next time, you’ve earned a sense of achievement and an experience that a resort or tour company can never provide. (Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for vacations where you just need to relax without having to think, but I see them as two separate things.)
3. Go anyway. There is something about travel (true travel) that opens up your perspective in a way nothing else can. It brings new ideas, new opportunities and new appreciation. You go to learn about somewhere else but find out more about yourself along the way. The hard questions are bound to come out as you consider what you really think and what you want your life to be about but they are a welcomed challenge to figure out. So along with the challenges and even the pain, travel when you can.