There is definitely something to be said about how quickly you can pick up a language if you are immersed in the language. A good example of this was when I was in Italy with my family, I started picking up certain words and when we were having pizza the one night (pizza in Italy… such a cliché) I was able to tell the waitress that we were loving the pizza. This absolutely floored my parents, that I was actually about to converse (all be it on a very very limited basis) with the waitress. Now I think if I had perhaps been in Italy by myself I would have been able to pick it up a lot faster. Which is something I dream of doing.
Going to different countries you usually find yourself noticing the different cultures. Even if you do not think you are that different from the people in the country. For example, the first time I went to the South of France when I was 14 I did not understand the concept of people sleeping during the day – why did these people not just lie on the beach all day or why did they close their shops between 1 and 5? Well as I found out from my mom, they were all going for their Siesta to get out of the midday sun. Even this was a minor culture shock to someone like myself, however, now that I am 25 I 100% agree with the Siesta – and it was something I took great joy in the last time I was in Italy.
This is one of the main reasons that I go travelling, I am a major history lover. I am going to Belgium in May so that I can see the Flanders Fields. I love learning about new things when I go on holiday and I know that I like to think I know a lot about World War One. There is so much that I don’t know which is why I am going to be doing a tour when I am there. Similarly, when I went to Normandy, my parents and I went and did a tour of Bloody Omaha (Omaha Beach), which still gives me chills to this day. This is one of the best educations you can get, nothing in the classroom/lecture hall can compare to this.
This is the most important lesson you can have while travelling, you need to trust yourself. You need to be your own best friend (this is something my father said to me when I was 18 and going on my gap year and crying via skype because I was so home sick) I took it to heart. Here I am 25 living in the UK with my mom and dad living in Cape Town. I can say that becoming my own best friend has been the best thing to happen to me. It is the one thing I wish people to take away from Traveling. Learn to love your own company and learn to learn…