Things I've learned in my first week travelling.
I knew that trying to travel full time would be a learning experience.
I've only been travelling for a week but a lot has happened! Instead of doing a full summary "diary-style" (because I don't have the time lol), I decided to help sum up my first week with some lessons I've learned so far:
Noise Cancelling Headphones are a life saver.
When we were on our flight from Aberdeen>London>Doha>Cape Town, my headphones were a god send. I've never travelled on an international flight out of Europe before and the plane was HUGE! Scott was having a giggle at how excited I was getting at all the buttons to press and movies to watch. You don't realise how many people are on the plane (since they cut off contact between classes with that special red curtain) until the noise starts... Once I popped on my headphones, the people crunching, chatting and the humming of the plane disappeared as quick as I do when Scott asks me to complain to waiting staff.
(for ref, I've got the Bose QuietComfort 35 II's).
People in Airports don't have spacial awareness.
It seems to be people inside airports that have no concept of "too close". You know when you're standing in a queue with all your backpacks on then someone nudges you from behind and you start teetering over? Yeah. That. Is. Annoying. People don't realise that the 25kg across my bags is almost perfectly distributed and the slightest touch can send me flying! Luckily enough, I've just about managed to keep on my feet and grin and bare it lol.
I'm absolutely shocking with Currency Conversions.
I've always been terrible at Math. It was evident when I used to get referrals in School for refusing to do my homework. Not because I was a rebel making some sort of statement - I just couldn't do it and threw in the towel as soon as I can across a multiple bigger than 5 lol. It's no shock that I SUCK at currency conversions. I've left it all to Scott because he's smart and good with that kinda stuff. I can see how my "how much is that in pounds?!" can get a bit annoying!
Always check Trip Advisor Reviews.
We wanted to Shark Cage Dive on the second day in South Africa and Scott had googled some companies to book with. We ended up booking with them and didn't think twice (although their "will do!" email was a bit informal..). After we chatted to reception in the hostel, we mentioned the company and they told us to cancel the transaction straight away. They had heard a few horror stories about people not getting refunds, being left on the street and the company just ignoring calls/emails. Scott went as white as a sheet and tried to cancel the transaction but it hadn't gone through. We googled the company and the Trip Advisor reviews were all terrible and we saw the word "Scam!" all over the place!
You can't predict the weather.
I've watched tons of packing videos and I'd like to say I was over-prepared. In actual fact, I was too busy focused on "life in the sun" 24/7 that I only packed one pair of jeans (and even they were a "just in case"). For the first 4 days, I wore my jeans because it was freezing cold. Then the sun came out and I got burnt in a matter of minutes but the point is, you can't predict how the weather will be. Luckily our years in Scotland had gotten us used to this.
You have definitely OVER-PACKED.
With the packing videos mentioned above, I went mad and kept repacking my bag. I'm sure this was an Anxious trait because whenever I'm stressing or overthinking, I become almost obsessive with organisation and tidiness (apart from my bedroom - sorry mum). I managed to get my clothes and travel kit to the point that I was happy with it but then I weighed it... I was a few kg's over our weight limit for our cheap Flybe flight down to London. Their limit was 15kg for hold luggage and 10kg for hand luggage. I tried allllll day to throw out shorts, tshirts, shirts until I had the bare essentials and it was 16kg. I ended up upgrading for the larger size to save my sanity. It turns out, after trudging your bags around London Heathrow, they become really annoying and really heavy. I'm already looking forward to passing on a few things to fellow travellers to get the weight down!
Microfiber towels are better than you think.
My sister bought me a "travel towel" as part of my Christmas present one year and I had my doubts. After reading a few things online, I thought they'd just push water around, never really dry you and smell really bad after a few days. I've been SO HAPPY with the microfiber! It's actually amazing at soaking up all the water in one pass and doesn't smell at all. It also dries super quickly so no more hanging towels out to dry on the balcony for ages.
(FYI - I've got the LifeVenture Giant one)
Saying Yes is a good thing.
It's so easy to get inside your bubble when you're nervous about travelling. Especially when you're travelling as a couple! I'd gladly spend all my time with Scott but chatting to other people and making friends is partly what travel is all about. On our first night, we went into our room and started chatting to everyone that was there - listening to their stories and drinking beer etc. It turned out that it was one of the guys birthdays so we all took him out for a meal to celebrate! A few days after, when we got back to the hostel in Cape Town, the receptionist handed us a voucher for the cable car up to table mountain. Someone had paid for it then left it in their room when they checked out. It was 4.30pm and the voucher had to be used before 5.30pm. We ordered an Uber and got a free return trip up the mountain, saving us about £30!
So my trip has been eventful in it's first week. Now onto the next chunk of travel to learn a bucket load more stuff...
Keep your eyes peeled for more updates! x
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