Last week we shared 5 valuable lessons learned from traveling, in hopes to encourage you to start thinking about your next, or very-first, journey across the world. Regardless of whether you have traveled a lot, or very little, there is always more to learn, just as there is always more to teach. Here are five more Europe travel tips. Enjoy.
1. Sport as a language
Last summer, I was fortunate enough to visit several schools in Rome, though I knew only a handful of Italian words, not even enough to hold a conversation. Nevertheless, I knew how to play basketball and suddenly, I found myself on a dusty court, running around with a bunch of little kids. While it may seem trivial to some, sports can transcend both language and cultural barriers, and allow people from all over the world to interact, peacefully, on the simplest of levels. If you don’t have the opportunity to actually play with locals, go to a pub or one of Europe’s many stadiums to watch a soccer game – It is incredible how life is impacted by the sport.
2. Do not be afraid to get lost
I have accidentally found some of my favorite restaurants and a few of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen. Certainly, it depends on what city you are in, or if you are even remotely close to any civilization at all, however, I believe that getting lost is not a bad thing. You see things that would otherwise be inconceivable and hear sounds otherwise inaudible. Getting lost can be serendipitous in a way, giving you a glimpse as to what you’ve been missing out on
3. Do not be afraid to ask for directions
While you should not be afraid of getting lost, there is certainly a point at which you should ask for directions. Sometimes as humans, we can be stubborn, but if you ever feel uncomfortable or bewildered, to the point where you are “too” lost, stop into a hotel or restaurant and ask for help.
4. If possible, do not be overly frugal when it comes to food
Although it depends on the area, chances are that good food comes with a heftier price tag and often it is worth spending the extra couple bucks on a meal. After several really bad meals in Paris, a city I thought was supposed to have exquisite cuisine, I discovered that it was possible to cut expenses elsewhere and enjoy all of the amazing food the world has to offer.
5. Europe is much more than old buildings
When sitting in an introductory history class, it may seem like Europe is one big collection of old, beautifully dilapidated buildings and picturesque churches, yet words on a page and a few pictures cannot do the actual experience justice. I probably visited more churches last summer than most people will ever see, yet each was distinctly different from the next. When you stand next to a structure as intricate and massive as the sandstone cathedral in tiny, León, Spain, or the Coliseum in Rome, you are permanently marked. When you dance all night on a beach in Barcelona with some of your closest friends and those you just met, you change, whether you realize it or not. You start to look at the world a little differently. You begin to notice the beautiful subtleties that make life unique. And after you have made enough memories to last two lifetimes, you start truly living.