How to avoid the top five stumbling blocks of first time travel

Deciding to travel for the first time isn't without its challenges. I've definitely faced my own share of mental stumbling blocks on my journeys. So I thought I would share these stumbling blocks with you - and some tips to help get past them so you can enjoy your holiday as much as possible.

Not giving time to rest

I am definitely an all go kind of girl when I’m on holidays - I want to do all the things, eat all the food, drink all the wine. I want to squeeze out as much fun as possible. I mean after all I’ve normally spent the last 12 months saving for this - I’m not letting a cent of that go to waste.

Of course this isn’t the healthiest way to approach a holiday - an event that is meant to be relaxing and recharging. Thankfully my husband is a lot better at chilling out than I am - he definitely sees the value in spending the afternoon hanging out in the hotel room having a nap. The ROI (that's return on investment for all you non-business speak geeks out there) on a holiday isn’t just the amount of adventures you have - it’s how relaxed you are as well.

Wanting to see it all

So you've spend a few thousand on flights to a magical new place and of course you want to make the most of the time you have. I mean there is a chance that you may never come back to this amazing place. Might I suggest an alternative? Always leave a reason to come back. I haven’t seen inside St Paul’s at the Vatican, we didn’t go to Burano or Murano in Venice and even though I’ve been to Paris twice we’ve barely seen anything north of the Champs Elysses.

It’s so easy to feel bad about missing places - but whenever I realise we won’t have time to see something I just tell myself “this is a reason to come back”.

Being scared

Travelling to a foreign country is scary. Before every trip I have been on I have at some point thought, “going overseas to a country where I don’t speak the language and the culture is different sounds like a bad idea. I should stay here in my safe, familiar home - probably forever”.

I don’t have a way to explain this that is better than the way that thousands of others have on the internet. The summary of my thought process when these fears rise up is thus: “feel the fear - do it anyway”.

Just remember being scared is totally normal - it’s not a sign that you shouldn’t travel. It’s not a sign that you should cancel your flights. It’s just a sign that growth and change is scary - and that travel is something that allows you to grow.

Preparation VS Spontaneity

For a long time I thought that being organised when you travel was akin to being “boring”. Travel is meant to be unstructured, unorganised and unplanned. Planning a holiday would make you one of those people in sitcoms who have an itinerary broken into 15 minute increments - and we always know that those people are shown the futility of organisation by the end of the episode.

There is something to be said though for being organised. In general you find nicer places to stay, better places to eat and more interesting places to visit.  It makes you more willing to embrace spontaneity - not less. Although some of our favourite adventures have been on a whim - one of the best meals we had was recommended by people we met at Christmas dinner - I would have been far less likely to take a chance on it if I didn’t already have a delicious meal already planned for the night before.

Trying new things

It’s surprisingly easy these days to go to a new country and experience exactly nothing new. Between global chain stores and the universal love of Coca-Cola it’s easy to have no new experiences. Fight the urge to stick with what’s familiar! Try the the weird beverage from the vending machine - sure it might taste like cigarette water but you’ll never know if don’t try it. Go into restaurants where the locals eat - it’s intimidating of course but it is almost always a lot more fun. And if the waiter offers you raki - you say yes*!

*Assuming of course that you are legally allowed to drink and do consume alcohol. Drink responsibly and so on.

Bonus: You take yourself with you

So this is something that Hilary Rushford is talking about a lot on her various platforms right now (I've linked her Instagram because it's a good starting place). I definitely encourage you to go check her out and watch some of her Facebook Live videos. What she talks about (and what I have experienced myself) - is that you are still you when you travel.

So if you get anxious or nervous you won't just leave that element of your personality behind when you aren't at work. Sure you won't get anxious about your inbox anymore - but you might get anxious about missing flights or running out of money.

I'm still working on learning how to give room when I travel for myself and the quirky elements of my personality that I don't really like.