Europe + Africa (All) Travel

13 Things I’ve Learned By Traveling

After traveling around Europe the last 4 months, I have learned a lot about myself, places, and others by leaving my comfort zone in the United States.

 Here are a few things I have learned exploring Europe:

  1. I get worn out

    • Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling, but sometimes during some of my trips I’ve noticed myself shutdown for a couple hours. When I notice myself getting irritated with people and a little cranky, I try to take some time for myself and explore alone. When I visited Rome, I skipped out on the Vatican and instead checked out a few local bars and cafes. I remember trying to learn some Italian in a bookstore bar called Barattolo. A little bar where they sell everything in jars: meal in a jar, beer in a jar, tea in a jar. I had a delicious potato flan, in  a jar. Anyways, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to try a few things on your own while traveling with your friends. It’s good to have some alone time here and there because traveling for a weekend with a group of girls can take a lot of ya. Well, me at least.
  2. Money goes very quickly

    • Trips can get to be pretty pricey. However, you can find cheaper transportation, restaurants, etc. if you do a little research. When I travel I find myself wanting to try a ton of food!! And that is not good for my bank account. So, my advice is just be cautious of how much money you travelled with and what’s a reasonable amount to spend that weekend so you can travel somewhere else next weekend worry free. AKA attempt to budget.
  3. You learn differences between cultures are okay because we are all one

    • It’s easy to judge cultures. Before coming to Spain, I knew little about other cultures. Things that I thought I knew actually seem very inaccurate after first-hand interacting with countries and cultures that were once foreign to me. I’ve always said communication is the key to success and I’ve stuck to that since I left the US. Taking the time to listen to how others live and share how you live opens so many new doors for the both of you. Business is communication and in this huge world we have a lot of business and communication to know about.   I learned the most about culture in Morocco. I think people from all over the world are a lot more similar than they are different.
  4. People are good

    • We hear about so many tragedies all over the world everyday. What we don’t hear about in the news is everyone pulling together to try to help others after the tragedy. There are some not-so-good people in this world, but there are so so many wonderful people. I’ve learned that through traveling. People have bee willing and eager to help me when I can’t find something or I can’t use my phone because I don’t have an international plan.
      • When I was in Rome, I didn’t know the number to my air bnb, and a man noticed I looked a bit confused. He stopped and asked if I needed help with anything. I told him the street I was looking for, showed him the phone number of the owner of the place, and we worked together to help me get to where I was going. He called the air bnb guy on his phone and figured out everything for me. He said as I was leaving, “now it’s your turn to help someone in need today”. His little act of kindness and attitude stuck with me.
  5. Sleeping in an airport isn’t the funnest thing I’ve done

    • We managed to get in about 4 hours of sleep in the airport chairs! I moved from the chair to the floor.. yes I slept on the airport floor waiting for our 4:30am check-in at Ryanair. Tory, Amandi, and I stayed in the Rome airport for 7 hours overnight. I’d recommend just paying the extra $25 bucks for one more night in a hostel. But hey thanks @Tory we saved hostel and transportation money and didn’t end up with a million diseases.
  6. Pack basic, bring less

    • Most airlines will let you bring a decent size carry-on. I use my hiking bag that is size 55 and it fits a lot. Ryanair is also always fine with it, so I don’t have to check a bag. Definitely try to avoid checking a bag, it’s expensive!!! Therefore, pack more basic clothes and comfy shoes that you can wear a couple times over your trip. Plus, it’ll be easier to lug around with you from place to place!
  7. Trying new things is essential

    • Food, beer, activities, languages, games, music, anything to get out of your comfort zone! Be curious. Trying these new things that maybe scare you or make you nervous is a great way to learn about yourself and others. You make think Oxtail sounds pretty nasty, I did at first. Now it’s one of my favorite foods in Spain! The more you try, the smaller your list of fears gets.
  8. I like exploring like a local

    • A perk of this is it’s typically cheaper than touristy restaurants and it’s more interesting to me. It’s a different type of interaction going to a local restaurant in a place such as Italy or Portugal. There is a less likely chance they will speak English and the environment of the place is usually a very different and interesting experience. Try walking into a little hole-in-the-wall place once in awhile and save for another time. You’ll be proud of yourself for finding a gem of a restaurant. Or maybe the food was actually horrible and the service was awful, but it’ll give you something to laugh about down the road.
  9. I enjoy going to very few touristy attractions

    • “Top 10 things to do in Barcelona”. The is not my preferred way of traveling. I like discovering things myself a lot of the time and to me, it is less stressful. I’d say, see the things you really want to see, but don’t try to see everything. It’s okay to not have scheduled plan the whole weekend! My family and I made sure we mapped out some time to see La Sagrada Familia (which is so incredibly beautiful) and then explored for a few hours later.
  10. Beaches are my favorite travel destination

    • Plain and simple: they’re very calming and relaxing
  11. You develop confidence

    • I am directionally challenged. I still use my gps to get to certain parts of Minneapolis and I’ve lived there for 6 years. So… coming to Spain I was really worried about getting lost and having no way to be found if I couldn’t find anyone. But the beauty of traveling is you learn new ways of finding places, even without a phone, and it’s a big confidence booster. You also develop confidence in speaking a different language. I’ve been studying Spanish for a few years, but I get extremely nervous when it comes to talking. I can understand a lot, but talking eeeeeekk talking can be hard. I try anyways and I’m a little more comfortable with it after 4 months. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still so hard!!
  12. Learning patience 

    • It goes from waiting and helping one of your friends because they accidentally  booked the wrong bus ticket or waiting 30 minutes in a fresh vegetable store for an avocado because the owner is chatting it up with a customer. A lot of time, its a waiting game in Europe. It’s taught me a lot and I am grateful to be able to go back to the US in a month with a new perspective and outlook. Time is good and all, but there’s more to life than getting mad at a barista because it took them 5 minutes to make your drink instead of .056 seconds.
  13. I start missing Seville

    1. I’ve noticed that when I travel I start to miss my home base a lot. I miss my daily soup from my host family and having more of a schedule everyday. This is one of the things I’ve learned from traveling: do not travel every weekend. Get to know your temporary home better by taking a weekend off.

Save as much money as possible before going abroad so you can do all the fun traveling you want and experience a ton of new things!


A strong desire or urge to wander the world or travel and explore the world.

Right now I have a strong desire to drink té verde then sleep!! Hasta Luego WordPress.

Coming soon…… Cádiz, Barcelona, & Amsterdam + Feria 🙂

4 comments on “13 Things I’ve Learned By Traveling

  1. Don Amorosi

    My favorite post so far….I like your travel style! Stop and smell the roses! Love Dad.


  2. Morgan Olsen

    I agree with Don here! Great work Adds. Keep writing.


  3. Grandma Carolyn

    Words to live by…”the more you try, the smaller your list of fears get.” Awesome! You have learned so much, grown beautifully, seen the goodness in everyone, and your entire life will be enriched by your experiences. We are so, so proud of you.


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