People, no matter how much they deny the concept, are creatures of habit. Even the freest spirited person has a certain routine. Discarding everything familiar will lead to disorientation and a general unease. How do we merge routine with travel abroad?
Examine the routine of your life and decide what you can take with you. I know I’m a tea drinker, a daily exerciser, and I read before bed. I can easily take these things with me, especially the tea. Within the United States, it was almost impossible to get a good cup of tea. Often the hotel or restaurant could sometimes find a Lipton tea bag, but that was it.
A small baggie containing my various teas became a staple in my domestic travels.
Abroad, I’ve found a variety of teas that I want to taste. I’ve taken something that is part of my routine and expanded on it. Tea ceremonies can be huge in other countries. The high tea was definitely out of my price range back in Indiana. One hotel offered high tea for a hundred dollars. I decided there was much more I could do with a hundred dollars than drink tea. However, I’ve enjoyed high tea in The Chocolate Box Lounge complete with finger sandwiches and pastries for around ten dollars. I doubt any character in Downton Abbey received more conscientious service than I did. I took the comfort of the known and stretched it some.
Exercise is important anywhere you go even if it is only walking the stairs as opposed to using the elevator. Zipping across time zones confuses our bodies. Exercise keeps them humming appropriately. It provides that balance and fights off jet lag too. Hotels often have gyms even exercise classes. If yours doesn’t try swimming, hiking or possibly renting a bike. I’ve even done floor exercises in my room. This keeps some continuity of regular life interwoven with vacation life. There won’t be the hard shift when back home.
Not everything you did at home can translate to your new location. I have a pet at home, but I’ve been warned not to touch any the animals roaming the streets. They could be vicious and diseased. A trip to the hospital is unwanted. Decide how much new you’re willing to try. Don’t base your opinion on anyone else’s actions.
A news story detailed a first date of a couple who traveled the world for two weeks with no luggage. While they did have fun, they didn’t make a love connection. I can say without any hesitation that I would not be cool with a two-week transcontinental date or no luggage. It is way out of my comfort zone.
Comfort zones are exactly that. Outside of everything, you embrace as known and familiar are the uncomfortable zones, better labeled fear cesspools. One or two helpful people heard about your travel plans and gave you their expertise. There were tales of kidnapping, mugging, car accidents, becoming deathly ill, and pickpockets. Their helpful advice has you biting your nails before you even stepped onto the plane.
There is good advice and advice from people who had never traveled the country where you intend to go. Examples of good advice I’ve received include:
- Drink lots of bottled water on the plane and eat the vegetarian meals.
- Air travel is drying. Make sure to sure a moisturizer and lip balm in flight.
- Put the tiny airplane pillow in the small of your back for more lumbar support.
- Travel with tissues and germicide wipes.
- Make sure you have the appropriate outlet adapters and transformers for where ever you’re traveling.
- Read up on where you’re going to so you’ll know the customs and culture.
- Try to incorporate the native clothing into your wardrobe. (This makes you a less obvious tourist and observes cultural expectations too.)
- Accept that people will stare at you especially if you’re in an area that doesn’t receive many tourists.
- Be patient. Often those you deal with have just as a hard time understanding you.
- Finally, expect differences. It was the whole reason travel is broadening.
Know the possibilities, and then decide what new thing(s) you might try when you’re abroad. An author, whose name I’ve forgotten, said that who you really are is when no hometown locals are around to observe.