“Each day learn something new, and just as important, relearn something old.”  That’s a quote from a man named Robert Breault and I thought it was on point.  I feel like every day I am learning something that I already “knew.”  Probably because our brains can not possibly contain everything we’ve learned and so we forget things often.  It’s not guaranteed that you will learn something from every experience or every trip you go on, but these are some of the things that I feel like I relearn every time I travel.  It seems they’re “old” things I’ve “known” and yet, I keep relearning them.

It always takes longer than I think it will.  You map out your itinerary completely and you have point A to point B taking two hours.  It never takes two hours.  And no, it never takes less than two hours, always more than two hours.  So you planned for a 2 hour break in between activities, but because you just went off the Google maps time with no buffer, you can kiss that break goodbye!  You think after all these trips, I’d learn and stop being so ambitious for one day’s itinerary.  Alas, I learn this lesson over and over again.

Food is a constant concern.  I started planning restaurants out a long time ago because an intense itinerary with no actual planned places to eat is a recipe for disaster.  Even with planning for restaurants, things take longer than I think (as I stated above) so you end up hungry.  Yes, you pack snacks.  Somehow, you manage to eat all your snacks, run out of water, and then you’re ready to down an entire Crave Case from White Castle.   Maybe planning my itinerary a little more liberally will ensure that food is not a concern.  However, I relearn this sad lesson on the regular.

Vacation brain=vacation spending.  I budget things down to the $1.  I try to plan for vacation brain.  I try to make sure I have enough money for when we say “Sure… $75 for a burger is no big deal!  Hey, we’re on vacation.”  Still, we always find something we want to buy that’s way overpriced, and unnecessary.  Ways to plan ahead for this would be to spend less on trip costs leading up to that, or make definite decisions ahead of time on where you will be spending money and where you won’t be. (ie… no to the fancy restaurant, yes to the grocery store for sandwiches.)  Still, vacation brain is a sneaky little thing.  Makes you feel like you’re spending Monopoly money with no consequences.

My favorite moments are the ones I didn’t plan.  As I plan my itinerary, I imagine what my favorite parts of the trip will be.  I imagine seeing that painting in the art museum and how amazing it will be.  I imagine enjoying my croissant and sipping my espresso on a terrace in some amazing town.  I am thrilled at the thought of hiking to the top of that summit and finally beholding the view.  However, a lot of those moments get ruined by say… rude people yelling (or playing a boombox at the top of the said summit), people elbowing you to get a picture of said painting, trucks honking while you’re eating breakfast, me being exhausted and cranky because jetlag, sleeping in and missing the museum, etc., etc.  The moments that are my favorite are the ones I could never plan or anticipate.  A volcano erupting while eating dinner… a quiet morning exploring a farm and finding an old train station littered with vintage bottle caps that has become part of the garden (now you see why I picked the bottle cap picture for this post)… listening to a favorite song in the car while driving through the Scottish highlands… laughing until I cried while sipping wine at an outdoor bar in England with friends… holding hands with my husband in silence as we gaze at the beauty of a glacier.  Every trip has these moments.  I’m always surprised that they are never what I thought they’d be.  And now, I look forward to the trip’s unplanned favorite moments.

What do you keep learning and relearning from your travels?

Nina Thomas

Travel lover and writer

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3 comments

  • Amber June 20, 2016 on 9:52 AM Reply

    On point. I keep relearning that I don’t really need to pack 170563 outfits.

    • Nina Thomas Amber June 20, 2016 on 2:53 PM Reply

      Haha! Stay tuned for next week… “Six things you never need to pack.” Which are also things I keep relearning!

  • New here? Nice to meet you. | Traveling with Nina November 28, 2016 on 12:04 AM Reply

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