6 MISTAKES I HAVE MADE WHILST TRAVELLING… AND YOU PROBABLY HAVE ALSO!
1. Not eating local food!
This is the main mistake I make whilst travelling which I possibly still make a bit too often – because of one food. There is nothing worse in the world than mayonnaise. I absolutely violently hate the stuff. Thinking about it even makes me feel sick. So you can imagine my rage when restaurants sneak it in to their food without stating that the dish contains it on the menu. Anyway, back on subject. You can imagine how vulnerable I feel when restaurants in my own country are sneaking foods in to dishes. So to go to a country where I don’t speak the language or have any idea of what is in some dishes; was a nightmare when it came to eating foreign foods.
That was until a few years ago when I was out in New York in a nice Mexican restaurant and my tacos came out and they had the biggest dollop of guacamole I have ever seen sitting in them. I panicked. I didn’t know what to do without embarrassing myself and looking like a baby. So I kind of shut my eyes and placed the one with the least green stuff on it, in my petrified quivering mouth like some kind of diseased soiled human feces taco. I pretty much just swallowed without chewing, hoping I wouldn’t taste anything. But I did taste something.. and it was actually pretty nice.
Looking back I am pretty embarrassed of it, especially how old I was at the time. But it taught me to just go for it when eating and not worry what’s in something until I have tasted it. Then I can be the judge. Apart from if it is mayonnaise or some other white crap.
Nowadays I will eat pretty much anything. Well at least try it. I cannot believe the first time I went to Thailand that I never ate street food. Now when I go to Thailand that is the only food I’m looking to eat. Unless its pizza of course.
Since then I have tried so many obscure foods. Whilst in Namibia I ate Zebra, Crocodile, Ostrich and Kudu. And whilst I was eating at the Michelin star La Degustation Boheme in Prague; I ate a pretty much raw cows tongue. A few years a go, I would have just walked out the restaurant and got myself a McDonalds.
2. Visiting the same place over and over!
Its easy – its safe and you know exactly what you’re getting. In between 2008 and 2011 I went to Cancun, Mexico three times. I have been to Greek Islands four times. I have been back to the exact same places and hotels in Thailand three times. Yeh, I had amazing times. Like really good times every time in those places; but a big part of me wishes I had visited different places and had different new, exciting experiences. It could have been more of an adventure.
I would possibly say my favourite place is Koh Phi Phi, Thailand. It’s where I have had my most fun times whilst travelling. But in hindsight, how would I know if a different place wouldn’t be my favourite place to visit now.
3. Following a strict route and not being flexible to change your path.
Its probably my biggest issue when I read other travel blogs – People telling you exactly where to go, what hotel to stay in and if you don’t – you are doing it all wrong and will have an awful time. Being flexible and having the opportunity to change plans at the drop of a hat is a big factor, which makes travelling so free and magical.
I made this mistake when I first started going away to far away places. There was an element of worry if I hadn’t booked a place before I left – then I would have to spend the night on the streets. Once you have been away, you know that it’s perfectly easy and fine. I’ve even spent a night rough on a harbor in Phuket and that was fun also.
4. Not mixing with other travellers.
This one ties in perfectly with the last point. You will get some of the best up to date advice whilst travelling from people who you meet. It’s why hostels are amazing.
Whist in Malaysia I nearly went to do my PADI Diving course in the Tioman Islands. But whilst chatting to a couple of girls in a Hostel in Singapore – they had been to the Tiomen Islands but recommended I go to the Perhentian Islands instead. I had never even heard of the Perhentian Islands until chatting to them. After them showing me photos and talking to me about the islands, it was clear I would have a better time in the Perhentians. A few days later I was on those paradise like islands and so happy that I plucked up the courage to speak to them whilst in the hostel.
It’s still cool to completely avoid the guy who is travelling around the world with this guitar though.
5. Worrying about trying to take the perfect photo rather than just enjoying being there.
This is something I am still guilty of. Too busy spending time behind my phone or camera instead of actually enjoying being at the place and taking in everything it has to offer.
You can see hoards of tourists at major spots turn up by the bus load – jump off the bus – take a load of photos click click click – then jump straight back on the bus. WHAT IS THE POINT?!? You may as well had just google image searched the place.
This is the main point I will be working on as I continue visiting cool places. Well I suppose there has got to be a balance as I have grown to enjoy photography. I just don’t want to worry about it too much that my only memories are the ones in photos.
Travelling as light as possible is always the best option. The first time I went on a long trip I packed enough clothes to last everyday. Not knowing that a new vest or pair of shorts were the same price as doing your laundry in S.E. Asia. I had to carry around a pair of jeans for over a month without even wearing them.
Just pack your essentials – anything else can be bought wherever you visit. Whatever you pack, you have to carry it on your back.
What Travel mistakes have you made? Let me know below…