My Thoughts on Preparing for My First International Trip
Could I handle a solo trip internationally that included 11 Countries 37 days? I did however, it took serious coordination. So I did it and I have lived to talk about it. The trip was as much for my friends and family that haven’t had the opportunity to travel, as it was for me. I decided I needed to write about it, I give all the credit to my friend who gave me a special present. A journal to take on my journey so this is where I start
Why I took the trip in the first place
I love to travel and I’ve been traveling the last 15 years all over the United States. When I was younger I moved around a lot so I guess subliminally I’m trying to find a home. In 2012 I made a promise to myself that in 4 years I would travel internationally. So I took the steps to plan a trip last year. Usually, when I plan trips in the US, I do a few cities at a time, sometimes 7 to 8 cities in a month. Fast forward to the international trip, I included a list of 20 countries on my first international trip. I started off thinking what cities sound amazing by everyone else’s standards. Within a few weeks, I decided to scratch that idea and plan a trip for the places in my heart or that I was extremely curious about. Exploring and researching the places was very enlightening and more fun than you could imagine. I got lost in the research but excited and amazed about the places I discovered. After a few more weeks, I narrowed a list of 20 cities, down to 11 countries 14 cities across Europe and Asia. I was a very diligent researcher in regards to the cities I chose. This was an around the world trip on my terms. I made sure to pick cities that had different cultures and that I felt had their own unique charms. I then mapped out the routes and the number of days it would take to “really” see each city.
The planning sounds easy, but planning started a year prior to the actual trip. When planning a trip of this magnitude and squeezing it in within a short amount of time it takes real effort. I looked up everything you could think of: culture, books, videos, lodging, and various guides. I felt like all I watched was nothing but travel videos for a whole year. I would wake up to travel videos. To plan and coordinate the flights also took some effort, I put my own itinerary together which took a lot of time and detail. I needed to understand how I would get around town, how to get to my hotel, what to avoid, and how to plan out my days. Planning a trip sounds glorious to some of us that love travel, but if you haven’t gone international then you need to know it will take some preparation. There was a lot I didn’t know, so I had to do my homework. For a first time international traveler I had no one to rely on but myself. The planning period is essential, I made sure to give myself a lot of time, remembering that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Things can change at any moment on the trip so I had to allow myself time to embrace new things while on the trip.
I second guessed the trip (every first timer does)
So once I was done with the planning then it was time to take the trip. Everything was paid for and booked, but I was going solo and I got a little scared. I started to think of things that could happen and if I was really prepared enough. I started to tell myself that I can go next year and that people may look at me weird by myself. Not knowing the language was going to be a problem so I should change the trip. Then I started to give myself a pep talk because with anything in life I’ve always figured it out, so why should this challenge in life be any different. Instead of letting the fear consume me I just decided to embrace the fear and take the trip. The reality is in life I can’t control everything, often times things occur that change my day. Everyone for that matter has always figured out how to get through anything. The same rules should apply on the trip. I shouldn’t worry about the language or be too scared about doing it on my own. I would be more than fine. At the end of the trip, I had a great sense of accomplishment and cherished that first international eternally.
Stay tuned for my blogs related to each country.