Thursday, May 30, 2013

5 Stupid Things I stopped doing When Traveling (+1 Bonus)

After so many years in the road I learnt about a few things that I was doing wrong and I would love to share with you!

1.- Bring everything “just in case” 
I learnt to travel lighter. 7 kilos is a magic number, a little bit more if I am carrying my laptop to keep blogging. I will just not carry clothes or things I won’t be using “just in case I might use it”. I would just buy them on the road, if I need them or borrow from another traveler/friend/host/whoever. I am lucky enough to be able to travel full time, I don't need to worry about fashion, nails...Souvenirs is something that I also refuse to buy. The best souvenirs are my memories, the people I meet on the road and the photos I take from these magic places. Whoever wants souvenir from a place can just come a get it themselves.

Being welcomed by your loved ones is easier if you are not carrying that much luggage!

2.-Not being selective with my couchsurfer host / accommodation
I was lucky enough to never have a negative experience while doing couchsurfing. But I am tired of getting propositions of single men, especially Muslim or Indian…Nothing against guys, but I am looking for a full couchsurfing experience wherever I go, not just crashing anyone’s couch. I stayed with single men in Kazakhstan, Australia and it was more than positive experience. But honestly, I don’t see the point of staying with a Nigerian living in Melaka. I would love to stay with Nigerian when I visit Nigeria. I found some “foreigner hosts” being more passionate about their new city more than other locals would be. Same with accommodation. It pays to be alone in the room sometimes, especially if I want to work until late or I need a safe place to store my belonging. In some places in Asia, than the accommodation cost nearly the same as a bus ticket in Europe, I would step forward for my privacy and safe sleep.

3.-Sleep anywhere
I slept in hundreds of dormitory rooms, hammocks, mattresses on the floor, carpets, buses, trains stations and most of the low cost airports in Europe. I refuse to do that anymore. My back starts hurting too much and asking me for retirement for sleeping somehow. Never again.

Another creepy dormitory without bed linen...

4.-Starving to save money
I stopped torturing myself to save money long time ago but still writing this here as a self-remember: Traveling is my passion, not my torture. Climbing the Székelykő, a Hungarian sacred mountain in Transylvania is very exciting, but stupid to do so with only 2 oranges in my stomach the full day. Paris is a wonderful city for whoever has a huge budget, but eating plain baguette (1€) for lunch for 3 days just because I cannot afford anything else…it might not be a great idea for my body. I like the full idea to sacrifice to accomplish my dreams, but sometimes I was going too far. Again, repeat for yourself the mantra "Traveling is my passion, not my torture".

5.-Do not appreciate what I have
Travel is the best teacher. The same way I don’t want to starve anymore, I had become more sensitive about my luck and the one of people surrounding me and stopped being selective with food. I eat whatever is available, trying to eat as more local and ecological possible. No left-overs. If I know I can keep my food on the fridge or in a proper container and eat it later I will do so. Otherwise, I will eat all my dish slowly and peacefully, thinking how lucky I am to have such an abundant meal. This won’t help poor people around the world, but at least it makes me more conscious. Or having a proper toilet. Visiting Kyrgyzstan made me feel so lucky to not have to step outside in the dark in the middle of the night in a very cold weather just to use the toilet. Same with clothes, electronics! People in poor developing countries do not have the feeling they are poor, until we start showing up all our brand equipments, iphone 5, DSLR cameras… You are lucky having them, do not make other people feel unlucky for not having them!
The last one is not really stupid, so I added as a bonus. Just my personality has been changing as I grown older and I become more spontaneous, brave and experimented.
Bonus: Planning every second of my trip 
This might sound contradictory…Doesn’t she want to plan her trip? Not really, at least not the small details, I learnt as well that the best experiences are unexpected and it pays to be flexible in your route and plans. I just let myself be surprised by the destination. Also, the excitement is much more if you are open to everything. So stop planning every second of it and enjoy whatever your trip takes you.

Did you also do stupid things/sacrifices just to be able to travel? Please feel free to share them in the comments!


Mustachio said...

A very true list from a very experienced traveler :-)

Anna said...

I do make sacrifices, but when I look back at a trip I remember the incredible waterfall I swam in or any number of experiences. I don't remember sleeping on the floor or a long bus ride. There is a balance. While I won't starve myself to travel I'm also not eating organic every meal. I have had my best travel experiences couchsurfing, and I have stayed in hotels before as well. I found it very isolating. That being said I do appreciate any time I get to myself.

Noelfy said...

Thanks Mustachio!

Noelfy said...

Thanks for sharing you experiences. When I was younger I had even less budget than now, so doing "sacrifice" was part of the "fun" in order to be able to travel longer. Now I am older and my priorities changed! :)

Anonymous said...

After reading your article, I remembered when I had to sleep in Rome Termini Train Station after New Year’s Eve 2006 because the hostel where we were staying was full. I think it was a January first I will never forget: tired with such a hangover, the same clothes, cold as hell & with few Euros left….!

Noelfy said...

Thanks for your comment! I guess half of Europe have ended up sleeping anywhere in Europe at some point of the trip :P

Miss Mureena said...


A true traveller list, thank you for sharing.
I agree to all, been there, done that. Now at 38, would not do again. Horrifying to say, that experiencing all of it, brought me the balance. At the moment my biggest ascomplishment is that I know myself, I am confident and I know what is good for me, and I remember to respect myself that I did not do before. Helps a lot.

Noelfy said...

Thanks Katja!
As we grow old and become wiser, we learnt more about ourself. We should live our passion with love, not with fear :D

Renuka said...

Yeah, we do make such mistakes! i have never starved to save money, but I'd say I have tried to save money where it was not required.

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