Traveling is so much more than the expectations that I had. I was so ready to go abroad for the first time and have an easy, fun experience. While my first trip overseas was so much more than fun, it was not too easy, but instead challenging and way outside of my comfort zone. Traveling is not what you think. It isn’t all easy and care free. It isn’t always pretty or super exciting. It is so so much more. It is incredible and changing all at once. I’ve learned quite a few things about traveling on my first trip abroad. In this post, I decided to tell about the things I have learned about traveling. I am breaking down the expectations. This post is not a post that will ruin your dreams of traveling. It will expand them! Traveling is life changing. Here are a few things I have learned about traveling.Traveling isn’t always glamorous and beautiful.
- Traveling isn’t always glamorous and beautiful.
You know those pictures of pure perfection on Pinterest of different spots in the world? I didn’t even think I had expectations for my trip overseas. I had dreamed about traveling all my life. I definitely have a world traveler’s heart. I was so excited for this trip abroad and for all the adventures with it. But, I was actually disappointed sometimes. I am being completely honest when I say that I did have expectations based off of the pictures online. Let me tell you, I am so glad that Spain wasn’t like the pictures. I realized that while Spain is overseas it is just like any other place in the world. It isn’t a perfect place that is always beautiful and is always like paradise. Spain has trash, graffiti, rude people, and other imperfections. That is what makes it beautiful. I noticed that life isn’t like the pictures all the time. It isn’t always fun like the videos you see. Online only shows the good parts. Just remember that while traveling isn’t glamorous all the time, you learn so much about different parts of the world! There were beautiful locations in Spain and amazing historical sites. But, I had days that I saw imperfections in Spain.
2. I actually missed my home and family
Honestly, I was pretty excited to leave Star Valley for a bit. I love my home, but I was ready for a change. I was ready to be independent and to grow on my own. I was ready to see a new place and to live on my own for three weeks (with Marta’s fam). The first days in Spain were incredible. I was having an amazing time on my own and not missing home at all (sorry mom and dad). But, some days I started to miss them. I missed my bed or my parents. I missed the laughs and conversations we had. I missed my sisters and the time I spent with them. I missed my dog A TON. Literally, she was the one I probably missed the most. I missed the familiarity of my home. I really did love my time in Spain, but I can’t tell you how excited I was to see my family. I was so ecstatic to see my parents after I stepped off the plane and I actually almost dropped a few tears . . . almost. I just want you to remember how much your family means to you. How much your friends mean to you and remember than when you travel. Keep in touch and update them. You might just miss their faces when you are gone. It isn’t bad to not be independent and to want that support and love. It is okay to miss people.
3. Culture shock is real and good for us.
Right, when I stepped off the plane into Madrid I was bombarded with Spanish. The language, the culture, the difference in temperature, and so many other things. I was honestly pretty overwhelmed. I was already hearing Marta’s family speak Spanish, which I didn’t know very well at all. I was surrounded by a culture I didn’t know. I was really trying to enjoy it, but pair culture shock with jet lag and you get a confused and sad Sarah. I think I just missed the familiarity of the United States. I didn’t know what was respectable or not in Spain. I didn’t know the language that surrounded me. I wasn’t used to the difference in cultures and in people in Spain. I met so many new faces that broke down my introversion box. It was so good for me in the end. It was hard the first few days. I missed English and my family and home. But, it expanded my world view so much. I was able to experience a different culture for three weeks and really immerse myself into it. I got to know so many different people across an ocean! I now have friends across the Atlantic. It was so good for me to become more open and to accept the new culture around me. It was outside of my comfort zone and that is what made it so hard. I was uncomfortable and not in a familiar place. But, that was the best for me. It shaped me and changed my view of the world. Culture shock is real and great for the soul actually.
4. Traveling with immersion is the best way to travel.
Traveling is so much more than seeing the tourist sites. What about the culture and people around you? You can learn so much more by really living in a culture. Make an effort to invest in the culture around you when traveling. Try learning the language; meet the locals; go to the secret locations that no tourist knows about. Spread light to the people around you. I know that sometimes Americans have a bad rap of being rude and impatient (which I saw in Spain). Be different than that. Really get into the culture around you. Take time to meet people that live there and spend time with them. By immersion, you learn so much more. It is outside of your comfort zone, which is a place you will grow. You learn about the other culture and about different world views. It challenges you in the best way. You are forced to step outside of that comfortable place. Trust me, friends, it is so worth it.
To end it all, traveling isn’t what you think. It isn’t like the pictures you see, videos you watch, or perfect stories you have read. It is so much more and so much better than that. It is a way to grow and change as an individual. It is a way to learn about the world around us and to meet faces that live across an ocean. Traveling is outside of our comfort zones. But, it is the best experience for anyone. Travel when you can. Traveling might not turn out to be what you think or it may be what you expected! Either way, just travel. Explore the world that is around you. Remember to go with an open mind and to be open to everything that comes your way. Also, know that traveling is doable. If you make it a priority and really save money then you can do it! I was so blessed to be able to travel at a young age. You can do it too. Don’t think twice about it. Buy that ticket. I know that I will be traveling so much in the future and am so excited for what God has in store for my travels! Go into traveling with no expectations. Just go with the flow and live fully! Love you guys! Have an amazing week! Thanks for listening.