After returning from my first solo international trip, I ended up ripping out the pages of my travel journal and throwing it down the garbage chute.
I had the intent to sit back, relax, and flip through my Europe travel journal and recall all the wonderful experiences I endured. Oh, how wrong I was . . .
My biggest tip I can give you: WHO CARES ABOUT EVERYONE ELSE AND WHAT EVERYONE ELSE THINKS.
I consider myself an emotional person, and other people’s moods and feelings will tend to rub off on me. It’s only a matter of time before my mood will start reflecting theirs. Unfortunately, this happened often during my camping expedition throughout Western Europe. As a result, the majority of my journal entries were about everyone else’s feelings and thoughts, or my opinions on their feelings and thoughts. Where the hell are my feelings and thoughts? I’m sure I had some at the time. I was only in Rome, after all. Why wasn’t I taking more notes or observations when I was at the Colosseum? Oh that’s right; I was too busy scribbling down how I was feeling sad and disheartened about feeling lonely or who knows what else. Ugh.
If you recall my Spain entry, does it sound like I’m particularly happy? Not really. Sigh. And I do remember experiencing some pretty cool things while in Spain. But you would never know it by reading my journal. I am talking about the weather and how I was upset that it was going to *gasp!* rain. Buy an umbrella. Hell, take on Owen Wilson’s attitude in Midnight in Paris and go for a walk in the rain, sans umbrella.
Learning how to remove yourself from the tensions of traveling with a wide range of personalities is colossal in ensuring that your trip that you are doing just for you and only you, remains that way. For you.
The light: I learned my lesson on this very important matter and journeyed to several more countries to record very memorable entries indeed. My Croatia entries for example: absolutely blissful to reflect upon. Sometimes I was very alone, but in no way was that ever a bad thing. I had more chances to chat with locals, more time to savour while eating, more opportunity to discover things on my own, and more incentive to write my heart out as I grinned with barely controllable glee.
If someone you’re traveling with decides to be negative and mean, or treats you in a way that isn’t justified, please try not to let it affect you in any way. Shrug it off, accept that they are immature and not worth it, and continue on. If the weather isn’t what you were hoping, meh. There was a reason you decided not to travel to a typical beach resort in Mexico where the weather is the exact same every day, right? You wanted culture. You wanted the unfamiliar. Experiences that were unique to only you. Sure, the weather is perfect in Mexico. But imperfection is where you get the good stories from. When everything is perfect all the time, it gets boring. Where’s the adventure? Where’s the sudden turn of events? Where’s the story that makes you think, “I can’t believe that actually happened,” or “I can’t believe I actually figured that crazy situation out on my own.”
Take all forms of negativity and shitty situations in stride. You will manage, and make great stories out of it in the end. You will learn, get stronger, and be proud of yourself. Remembering this, can be the difference of having a trip of a lifetime, to dwelling on insignificant garbage you will live to regret.