12 Things to Remember Before Your Next Adventure: Advice from LadyTravel Bloggers

23 April 2015

This time five years ago, Caileigh and I were still in college. I was just four weeks shy of graduating, and she was in the home stretch of her junior year. I didn't have a job lined up. I didn't even know where I'd be living after my lease expired. I had to own up to a crippling amount of student loan debt, and I didn't have a plan.

One night, we were cooking dinner at her apartment, swapping stories, and joking about how I would probably wind up moving back to our tiny hometown in Wisconsin and never get out. “Maybe you should just quit your job and we can go off to Europe and never come back,” I said to her, jokingly. Except I was totally serious.

Eight weeks later, we boarded a one-way flight to Dublin to embark on a seven-week adventure. We just went for it. We were both buried in debt with no safety net to fall back on. Maybe it wasn’t the most responsible decision -- the economy had just crashed, and not even our brightest friends graduating at the tops of our classes could land a gig anywhere. But it was the best decision we’ve ever made.

And if we could go back, we would tell ourselves the same thing over and over again. Just go for it. If your heart is in it, just make it happen.

So we asked some of our favorite female travel bloggers and friends, “If you could go back, what would you tell yourself before heading off on your first adventure?”

These are their stories.

Be prepared for it to completely and totally transform you.
“It was 2009 when I had gone to Spain for one month to work as an English teacher/camp counselor. I was 19, and although I had traveled many times before, I think this was the first time I really, truly appreciated it. The month flew by in the blink of an eye, and it completely changed me. After that trip, I think I realized that home would never be as satisfying as experiencing other parts of the world.”
-- Lauren Marinigh, Twirl the Globe

Let down whatever barriers you think might be holding you back.
“Every place is different, even if you go back to visit one of your [favorite] places. People grow, things change, and life moves on. But that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying wherever you go! You’ll find new and exciting things to love along the way.”
-- Alana Simpson, Adventure Spices

Be present. Try to stay in the moment.
“It’s so easy to get caught up by the excitement of it all and be looking ahead to what’s next in your itinerary. When I find myself doing that, I stop, breathe, and refocus my energy and mind into what I am doing at that time. It goes by so fast that you want to be able to appreciate and cherish every second!”
-- Jessica Griffin, Come Away With Me

Don’t be worried, and don’t overplan.
“My best experiences were those that were unplanned. It’s the best way to be a true wanderer, leaving time to meet and follow locals, fellow travelers, and learn more about yourself through spontaneity!”
-- Elaine Clayton, Travelaine

Don’t be afraid to break free from your comfort zone.
“I was nervous and didn’t know much Spanish, so I waited until almost the very end of my two month trip in Costa Rica to break away from the village I stayed in to see more of the country. While my time there was amazing, I could’ve seen so much more if I had just went for it. Instead, I left feeling like I’d only gone halfway.”
-- Katie Gard, Domestiphobia

Stop worrying about missing out on what’s going on back home.
“When I moved to Spain for six months, I was so caught up in constantly being able to communicate with my friends back home because I was afraid of missing something. Being so wrapped up in home left me missing the greatness that was living in a completely new and different environment.”
-- Kelsey MacAulay, Lusting to Wander

Remember that it’s more than just adding stamps to your passport.
“Traveling is awe-inspiring. It’s mind-blowing. It breaks you apart and turns your world inside out. And it’s also a very real way to witness the world’s differences and inequalities. Traveling, for me, has really taught me that being a global citizen is a lot more than just amassing stamps in my passport. It’s about awareness.”
-- Kristen Winet, Bon Touriste

Don’t forget that you have a whole community to support you.
“There’s a whole community of travelers out there sharing their favorite places, giving advice, and helping each other out. If I had known that so many strangers would support me, I would have been less scared the first time I left home.”
-- Annie Picard, Annie Anywhere

Remember that this is the trip of a lifetime.
“You think that there will only be occasional exceptions where you’ll want to spend more than your daily budget, but there will be a lot of them. This is the trip of your lifetime; bring enough money to make all your travel dreams come true!”
-- Kate McCulley, AdventurousKate.com

So show up for the adventure.
“I was 19 years old when I left the United States for four weeks on my first solo trip to Costa Rica. While the promise of adventure and novelty excited me, I wish I had known what it really takes to let go. To let go of the comforts afforded by growing up in a developed, western country. To let go of my hyper-conscious Californian eating habits and embrace the dining customs and flavors of another culture. And to let go of the fear and apprehension of not knowing how to become my own best friend. Because I think that’s what happens when you travel alone. You have to suddenly show up for the adventure.”
-- Melissa Josue, Write Travel Grow

What would you tell other travelers before they hit the road on an epic adventure?

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