I did a lot of traveling when I was young. Traveling in your twenties is perfect, because you’re old enough to make your own decisions but young enough to guarantee that most of them are potentially fatal. I love to travel and still do it when I get a chance (i.e. once every five to ten years). It’s something that I hope my children will want to do when they get older because there are a lot of lessons you learn from making your way through other countries that you just don’t get if you never leave the United States.
1. Never get a tattoo from an Irishman with a lazy eye and one arm in a sling. That’s a universal rule of travel.
Or anything like this, for Christ’s sake. Everyone hates Americans enough as it is.
2. Those communal rooms at youth hostels are a great deal but only if you don’t care about sleeping. But if there’s one thing I know about you, it’s that you don’t care about sleeping.
Misery is getting back to the hostel at 4am and finding a snorer in your room, or someone screaming for more water. Ask me how I know these things.
3. You’ll never know what it was like to travel without GPS, and you should be eternally grateful for that.
“Wait, so we’re in this town that starts with an E, right? So then we want to go…wait…right? Or…hm. Shit. That’s the part of the map with the stain on it, isn’t it?”
4. Accents are hot, but for God’s sake you don’t have to sleep with all of them. You aren’t collecting stamps.
I get it, though. Trust me.
5. You’re probably going to have a few experiences that you will walk away from saying, “Wow. I can’t believe I didn’t get raped/murdered/hog-tied with a bungee cord back there.” Don’t tell me about those experiences.
Because there are some things Mommy doesn’t want to know.
6. You’re not going to find a ton of Mac and Cheese in other countries, so I’d start broadening my culinary horizons.
Finally, your choices will be “try this eyeball or starve,” and you will long for the days I tried to feed you meatloaf.
7. If you think that it’s scary when mom misses her turn while driving in Seattle, wait till you’re in a rental car in Iceland trying to figure out if you’re supposed to go to NeskaupstaÃ°ur or Seltjarnarnes.
That’s when you say, “What the hell. I’ve always wanted to visit the shrimp factories of KrÃ³kurinn.”