When I was 20 years old I took my first of many trips to India!! It was technically my first trip outside of the U.S.A!! And it wasn’t just a trip, it was a 6 month commitment to study abroad and travel the country, and it changed the way I view many things in my life. One thing this trip did was teach me how to and how NOT to travel.
What I learned about how to travel:
You need a great travel partner (Marion! You’re amazing and will always be my first!)
Don’t become obsessed with an itinerary; things are always going to pop up that sound amazing, but be flexible with a change in your itinerary so you can spontaneously change it for a local’s recommendation.
Take some time to sit and enjoy yourself and the magical trip you’re taking, don’t just go, go, go, go! You need some days in there’ where you just stop and have a beer on a beach or a day in a hammock.
Don’t pack everything and the kitchen sink for crying out loud!! How much do you really need to take with you? You can get almost anything in another country including shampoo and clothes, in fact you will probably shop so keep some space for things that you buy. My first trip traveling around India for a month and a half I took a ginormous backpacking backpack and had to buy a duffle bag on top of that to carry all the stuff I bought! It was insane trying to carry that bag everywhere and get it onto public transportation, planes, little rickshaw carts! DON’T DO IT!
Don’t buy everything you see! That’s why I needed the duffle bag. I bought things that I don’t think I ever even used… or worse, I bought things for my friends and family because that’s what you do (I know you all do this) and they could have cared less or never used/opened/displayed what you got them (Except you Evan! Ill get you some more incense on this trip).
Don’t sweat the small things… or for that matter, don’t sweat the big things! Things have a way of working themselves out in the end. Whether it’s purchasing a return plane ticket in the wrong name and not finding out until you want leave the country on your flight, or having your passport pick-pocketed, and now have to venture 300 miles away to the embassy! Things have a way of working themselves out and if you stress to much you won’t enjoy anything about the trip, because the stress is all you will remember.
Do a little journalism on the road so you can look back on all the experiences you had later in life.
Okay so what are we going to be doing? What is this trip all about?
Are you ready for a long story… ? Ill make it as short as I can.
Four friends and I won the Denver “Questival” in 2015!! Yeahhhhh!! The winner of this Questival was sent by the company to compete in Central America against the other six winning teams from around the United States (Think amazing race type of thing but completely disorganized and not nearly as epic).
We got our plane ticket, took a week off of work and had to find our way from Belize to Panama in just seven days. It was quite a trip, though sadly it was suppose to be mostly covered but the $300 they gave us ran out on day three. So we rode horses, and went white water tubing, rock climbing, cliff jumping, and bungee jumping. Then we got covered in mud in Costa Rica, volunteered at a children’s home in El Salvador, hiked and cleaned up the garbage on a volcano in Guatemala, and traveled on busses more that I ever have and would ever want to in a week! It was really great!! (This is how bad I typically am at posting! I haven’t even put anything on my website about Central America… But, I’m getting better!)
Fast forward five monthsh and we found out we WON!!!!!! Yeah! So exciting. We are officially the “Cotopaxi Questival World Champions” ( I might need to put that on a resume some day). Our grand prize was a trip around the world! My dream was coming true, I just won a trip around the world! Well… kinda. See, we thought that since they have giveaways that value at $4000 a person with amazing gear and super awesome sponsors for a week of travel, that we would actually at least get a RTW ticket and maybe some awesome swag. But after 2 months of waiting to hear what “prize package” they had created for us we got a whopping $1,500 a person. (Anyone that travels at all knows that you cant get around the world on that) So we were really sad and bummed out and… the ending is still up in the air.
Fast forward again we are going on our trip anyway!