Today is the 1 year anniversary of the exact day Rachel and I landed in Europe for our trip last year through Zurich, Vienna, and Prague. It’s a trip neither of us will ever forget and one that was FILLED with eye-opening moments, some of which can be found in my latest Elite Daily article.
As a little celebration we put together a post of 6 lessons learned during our 11 day excursion; a couple of ours are really similar! Rachel’s are the first 3 and mine are the next 3.
The best things happen in the most unexpected times.
One example for us of this was when we climbed Mt. Rigi in Switzerland – hiking up the mountain it was extremely foggy, and we thought we weren’t going to see anything/it was going to be a borderline miserable time (Editor’s Note: The altitude/elevation levels were insane – we both felt so out of it and queasy on the way up). But just when we got to the top and were standing looking over the edge, the clouds parted and it was the coolest, most beautiful thing either of us had ever experienced. Another example was when we were wandering the streets of Zurich. With no destination in mind we stumbled upon a very cool street festival and ended up having a nice impromptu dinner right in the middle of it.
Take chances (but be safe doing it).
When your waiter tells you to follow him to a secret entrance of a Viennese castle, you DO IT. (Editor’s Note: LOL. This was in Vienna right before we were attending an opera at the Schönbrunn Palace. We had dinner in a beautiful restaurant on the castle premises and our waiter offered to sneak us around to the very private castle gardens that were closed to the public at this point in the night. As Rachel states, we said yes, he unlocked the gate, and it was awesome…even in a torrential downpour.)
There’s no need to plan out every step of the trip.
It’s good to have a loose plan, but some of our favorite memories were from exploring and wandering the streets of the cities we visited. Highlights included: unexpectedly seeing swans in Zurich, and turning corners in Vienna and stumbling upon the most beautiful and breathtaking buildings.
Your problems from home don’t go away when you travel, but the fresh mindset you bring back helps you solve them.
I think traveling somewhere new helps us put those little everyday worries and grievances we all experience into perspective. You’re not running away from responsibilities while traveling; we are “running towards the world, exotic places, new people, different cultures.” I think you’re simply searching for a new way of looking at things. Travels help you remember that the world itself is bigger than you and your problems.
Strike up conversations.
Simple but important. You never know what interesting people you could meet by just being friendly and open-minded. Best example of this would be our Switz lifesaver: Annina. When Rach and I landed in Zurich there were a bunch of armed guards in front of the train that took us to the airport exit. We had no idea what was going on and couldn’t understand what the staff was telling the public. Annina was right next to us; she looked around our age and seemed to be getting what was going on. Rach and I started talking to her and she ended up being vital. She helped us navigate the confusing airport and buy train tickets to part of town that our Airbnb was in. We ended up meeting up with her at an awesome dockside bar a couple nights after; she was around our age, so funny and nice, and very passionate about traveling just like us.
Know you’re not going to always have a smooth ride, and be okay with it.
Embrace the unpredictability of travel! Rach and I made a FEW errors while abroad 1) not enough research on the set-up of our Vienna Airbnb with came with a staircase of death, no elevator, to be climbed with our luggage, 2) thinking a “Thai massage” in Prague was a relaxing experience in a normal spa, and NOT a terrifying mom-son team coming to your room, not speaking, standing on your back, hitting your shoulders with unreal force, and making you realize you may not come out of this situation alive, etc. etc. etc. After all, one who makes no mistakes makes nothing at all (quote found here – watch immediately).
What lessons have you learned from your travels? Comment below!