Top 6 travel lessons of 2016Reading Time: 7 minutes
There are a few travel adventures I have not yet documented on this site, which should be coming next year. However, I wanted to share my top six travel lessons of 2016:
1.Cultivating positive relationships is not just for you but for others too…
I took three long distance trips to America, Africa and Asia (Why do most continents start with the letter A? It’s as if I’m trying to do some sort of alliteration…I digress).
In all continents, I was able to spend time with family-some of which I had never met before or had not seen for a very long time, however if you were a fly on the wall you would never have known. I also spent time with some old friends who I don’t see often which was great! They showed me around where they lived; we shared hearty laughs; partied and had long conversations late into the night. I love meeting new people but there is a certain comfort that comes with familiarity. Reinforcing foundations on abandoned bridges (I am not an engineer therefore just roll with the metaphor). I will admit reaching out to people does not come naturally to me as I feel I am putting people out of their way. This year I noticed that after leaving a place, family or friends thanked me for visiting them and blessing them with my presence- it seems they too felt honoured to have been able to show me a part of their lives which was pretty cool. In the future we will be able to look back and remember…..that time when……
2.Don’t overlook what’s in your own back yard
I applied for a Schengen visa to go to the Czech Republic which was rejected, with no refund. Therefore as a protest against all embassies I refused to apply for visas anywhere (clearly, I don’t deal with rejection well. All embassies were punished for the transgressions of the Czech embassy-oops) (I went to the US for work-so that’s how I got that visa). As a result, I could not leave the UK but my itchy feet would not allow me to stay at home when there was so much world out there. It was the UK’s turn to try and grab my attention and oh my it got me! It showed be a bit of retro and culture in Cardiff, before it took me back to its core in Northern Wales where it requested my vulnerability as I explored its beauty.
It then revealed the Scottish Highlands where it did the reverse as it got me to explore its hidden, untouched beauty on the Highland Way Trail and then took care of me again retro style showing me its past, and its wounds before carrying me from one place to the other in its tears on Loch Ness.
Wow, it had me… but just in case I was in any doubt it ended off the year by revealing itself again in the Lake District, in all its crowning glory.
I rediscovered a new love with the beautiful landscapes we have in the UK-which reminded me never to overlook what is right under my nose.
3.Creativity creates the best memories
I had a lot of commitments this year and my finances were generally quite low. Need is the mother of innovation-innovation requires creativity. Travel was my need and therefore I had to exercise my creativity. Like I said before my itchy feet would not allow me to stay at home so what could I do? I had to think of more cost effective ways to travel, I had to rethink activities, food and accommodation.
Where none existed, I created my own free tours with the help of my good friend Google, I explored the landscapes thus only needing my feet. For accommodation-I did a bit more camping than I have previously done, and stayed in a couple of hostels (I don’t deal well with cold-if anyone knows how to stay warm while camping in the cold-give me a shout).
I used a portable gas stove to make some amazing meals on the road too-just needed to get groceries from my cupboard. If beautiful scenery is what you are after as you have your dinner-set up your cooking stuff right where you want it. (My dream is by the water and…so I did). Even went for a little swim after dinner.
4.Need to do more to share my passion for food
Anyone who knows me is aware of my love for food.
I believe there is a food suitable to respond to/ express any human emotion conceivable. My waistline does not always think this is good but next year I will try and increase the physical activity to neutralise the impact-or at least adapt the food responses and expressions to be healthier. I have been broke before but I have never been in a position where I cannot feed myself or invite someone round for a meal (I would rather walk for an hour to save my bus fare and buy food).
I have been challenged to think about sustenance over indulgence in the last year. How much is enough and how do I play a part in sharing this passion with others who may not have as much as I do or do not have the ability to cook what they have.
5.My body needs to be nourished and kept in good nick for every eventuality
There are some things that nature only rewards those who put the work in-there are places that have not been developed to create paths or roads that are accessible by anything on wheels.
In these instances, my natural mode of transport is what will need to be utilised-however if my body is not in good nick, this becomes a toll order and potentially ruin a really good experience. My friend and I had to separate after three days of a six-day hike when my knee decided to give up on supporting my body.
I was on my own in the middle of northern Scotland, which turned out ok in the end but would have been better if I had finished off with my friend. For one reason or the other, I found myself on multiple hikes this year, which was lovely because I had a more intimate encounter with nature. The walking also gave me a chance to see more of the hidden corners of the cities I visited.
6.Seek to fully understand
There are places that we have believe to be amazing because of how they have been portrayed in the media, where we may choose to run off to when things are not going well because ‘it has to be better than here’. This year the truth has cemented in my mind ‘you make your own peace wherever you are’. There are things that people in different parts of the world contend with every day. Life is about give and take, attitude determines how we deal with different experiences. Joe Bloggs has a big house and brilliant weather all the time, but he can’t freely walk the streets in fear of his safety. Stella Adams seems to get up to multiple adventures in nature-but she lives in a country where there is no clean running water. John Moyo is surrounded by friends and family all the time-they always seem to be having a party-but he is sitting on a masters degree and cannot find a job. Prisca lives within walking distance from the coast but cannot swim to save her life because of folklore that she has been told about the sea. Tanaka Jonas has a good job, all his basic needs are met but does not have time to spend with his loved ones and half his wages go towards his taxes. Sometimes it is good to dig below the surface when you travels to get a better understanding of local culture or sentiments and how they live rather than always relying on what the media has to say. After all, you are there already and you might realise that ‘there more than meets the eye’.
What are your key travel take-aways from 2016?