“After you eat grandma’s cookies everything in life gets better.” -Justin Smith, age 11
My grandma was always super excited for me whenever I would take a trip somewhere. Although she didn’t have the opportunities to travel like I have, she herself was free-spirited and an adventurer at heart. She loved to hear about what I was up to while traveling. I’d always be sure to send her a postcard at least once on my trip with a brief update of where I was and what was happening that day. She always loved to get those postcards. I think maybe she felt a little like she was living vicariously through me.
In honor of my grandmother, who recently passed away, and as a reminder to myself of what to do and what NOT to do while traveling, here’s the advice I think she would give before leaving on our trip.
DO meet new people. Remember that story I told in my Top Ten Travel Tips post about meeting that sweet old couple in New Zealand? Well my grandmother LOVED that story. She thought it was the greatest thing ever and was constantly telling others about it. So I know she would be one of our biggest advocates for making new friends and meeting the locals this summer.
But, she would also say DON’T go home with them! Although it can be a lot of fun meeting new people in new places, make sure you’re smart about it. I mean, have you seen the movie Taken? I’d sure like to avoid that situation at all costs. We definitely won’t be sharing cabs to our hostel with any strange men, that’s for sure!
DO have fun. And when I say fun, I don’t think my grandma would’ve meant to just have a lot of laughs and enjoy our time in general. She would’ve meant that we should go out to bars and have a few drinks. She would want us to flirt with the cute guy walking around the British Museum. She would tell us to forget about the budget if it means having a delicious meal out one night instead.
DON’T come home with regrets. She saw the beauty in living life to the fullest and understood that you only live once. If you’re going to go travel for six weeks with no other obligations, do it right – AKA, go big (but not too big, according to grandma) or go home. Basically, she wouldn’t want us to half-ass the trip.
DO keep a journal. My grandma was always reading a book or doing crossword puzzles – she had an appreciation for language and the written word. Like I said, she always loved those postcards, so I suspect she would want me to be writing about our trip too. So I guess it’s a good thing we’ve got this blog going already! But I think I might keep a personal journal on our trip too. There are just some things about my life that the whole world doesn’t need to know 😉
Most important of all, she would say DON’T let things muddle your judgement. Be smart. Stay safe. And keep your head on your shoulders. She’d say to make sure we come back in one piece!
I remember how excited she was for us to take this trip this summer if not for the experience itself, then for us to have fun bonding as sisters. I only wish I could still send her postcards from each city we visit, but I know she’ll be following along on each step of our journey anyway!
What advice would your grandmother give you about a trip around Europe?