Traveling Your Way

There are a plethora of blogs, books, and other travelers out there telling you what to do, how to do it, and even why you want to do it (case in point: The Lost Girl’s Guide). And I’ll be the first to spout how helpful, handy, and useful they are when looking for advice and information about traveling. But sometimes you need to remember that it’s your trip, your enjoyment, and ultimately what you want to be doing that will make you happy when creating a travel itinerary and trip that works for you.

Of course you’re looking for advice and information, and doing research about an upcoming vacation or trip is really important. But take everything you read with a grain of salt as it’s usually just someone else’s opinion and experience that your reading about. Everyone recommends to do this or that when you travel to a destination and although their advice is usually given for good reasons, remember that it may not work for you. Everyone has different ideas of what’s fun and what’s a good time. I like to dabble in adventure activities but that wouldn’t work very well for someone who can’t wait to sample all the local dishes after perusing through every museum in town. Everything written has a specific slant or perspective and it’s important to remember this if you ever feel pressure to do something or be a certain way on the road.

This is all I carry when I travel for six months abroad. Some say it's a lot, but it doesn't matter as it's what works for me and keeps me happy.

This is all I carry when I travel for six months abroad. Some say it’s a lot, but it doesn’t matter as it’s what works for me and keeps me happy.

I often read tips reminding soon-to-be travelers to pack light. Which is great because lugging around an awfully heavy backpack or suitcase isn’t that much fun. But realistically, my backpack usually only needs to be carried from one transport vehicle to the next. Sometimes I end up walking from the bus station to my hostel, but it’s usually because it’s close and not that difficult to carry my gear a couple of blocks. And if it is, that’s just another opportunity to stop and people watch when you need a break from carrying the heavy thing. When you travel for more than a few months, sometimes it’s those little extras in your bag that keep you sane, or stave off homesickness, or just make life more convenient (there will always be space in my bag for a travel pillow and my diving mask. I wouldn’t go anywhere without them even though they’re not a necessity!) So just because it might be easier to travel with less stuff, that doesn’t mean you actually have to. If you absolutely need those five pairs of shoes and six dresses, then by all means bring them along if it will make your trip happier and easier for you.

So remember when you’re reading someone’s blog or travel book that it’s just an opinion and one perspective. If they think the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a waste of money and a silly tourist trap, that doesn’t mean you will too. It might even be a highlight on your jaunt through Italy. It’s your trip and your experience so remember to make it what you want and not worry about what others think.

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