Recent personal events have lead me to planning my next trip to Europe! The#TravelingTalleys thought this is a great time to talk about personal experiences traveling abroad and a few tips from our adventures.
Thefirst time that I traveled internationally was about a year out ofcollege to work for Lindblad Expeditions. I had previous experienceworking on a ship, so at least I knew about boat life. The firstcountry I ever visited was Panama City, Panama. (Photo disclaimer –I did not have a cool, high tech smart phone back then so no pictures– this one is when Clinton and I first went to Europe in 2010!)From there I got into a taxi and drove a few hours to Colon, Panamawhere I stayed in a hotel for a few nights before getting on theboat. Our destination was through the Panama Canal to Costa Rica, andfrom there Mexico. While those stories are for another time, lookingback on my travels I remember trying to be as smart as I could beforeleaving to a country where I would have no communication for possiblya few weeks. No cell phone plans that I could afford included thesame things they do today and most hotels did not have internet. Igave my parents the information that Lindblad provided (shipinformation, flight itinerary, even emergency contact information)and told her that I would send her an email when I got internetaccess. I ended up getting internet access for free when I got on theboat because as a new crew member I received internet credit.
After that you paid for internet while working on the ship. If you actually got internet! We were on a boat in remote areas, remember! I actually typed my letters in a word document so that when/if I got internet access I could copy/paste my letters into an email and send it really quickly. I finally was able to contact my mom about a week after I left the United States. During my travels, I tried to make sure I was as safe as possible.I had specific instructions from Lindblad on where and who would be driving the taxi. I verified that information before I got into the taxi. When I got into the hotel I met the other new employee as well, and she was from the area. She walked around with me that night. I did not travel or walk away from her, and she in turn stayed with me as well. We both walked back to the hotel together. We communicated and had a plan!
Clinton’s first time traveling was when he was sixteen and he flew all the way to Tasmania, Australia! Under a great program called Youth for Understanding, Clinton lived with an older, retired couple close by other kids in the program. They studied the culture and history, including hiking Ayers Rock.. He was even more cut off from contacting his family back in the United States because of the time (1999) and it was literally on the other side of the world. Immersion in the program provided a great opportunity to really connect to the area and learn as much as possible while away from family. Many of the friends that he met during this time in his life he still remembers fondly because of the shared experiences they had. Programs like this we highly encourage because we’ve found that the best times are spent with others out in nature. One of the most important thing to remember with long trips such as the United States to Australia is to give yourself a break and make sure that you don’t overwhelm your brain. If you need more time for a layover, take it. If you need more time after you arrive and need to take a day extra off, do that as well. Don’t forget that you’ll need to go through customs and FOLLOW THEIR LAWS. They are not kidding and don’t be disrespectful!
We have lasting friendships with many of the friends that we’ve met throughout our travles or those who’ve used a program to come to the United States. We’ve both been to Europe twice and many different states throughout our travels. We always try and make sure that someone, usually my mom (thanks mom!) knows where we are going or a general camping area if out in the middle of nowhere. If she doesn’t hear from me after a few days she starts calling. We keep tabs on things like what we are packing, how everyone feels, and what energy level we really have. If you do end up traveling internationally alone, just be smart about it, and have fun! Don’t let language, custom, or food hold you back from visiting places! Get out there and #TalleyYourAdventure #International soon!