Holy sh*t, I can’t believe it’s already been an entire month since we started this adventure. In some ways it feels like Paris was ages ago (we have been to eight cities since!), but in other ways this trip is already flying by and I want time to slow down!! What’s that famous saying, “the days are long but the years are short.” That has never been truer.
So as I sit here and try to grasp where the last month of my life has gone… I jotted down some of the thoughts and advice that I’ve gathered over the last 31 days. Enjoy and cheers to the next month!
31 Things about the first month of traveling:
1. America should do a better job of teaching foreign language. I took 7 years of Spanish in high school & college, and it has gotten me nowhere.
2. Grocery shopping in Europe is stupid cheap. ONE euro for a bottle of wine, people!!
3. Credit cards aren’t as widely accepted as we had hoped- you definitely need cash (get a good debit card that doesn’t charge you foreign ATM fees! We use Charles Schwab.)
4. As nice as the Airbnb is online, if it’s far from the city center, it’s
probably definitely not worth it. You’ll spend half your day and half your budget trying to get where you want to go.
5. Some of our Airbnb hosts are great photographers (read between the lines here).
6. We traveled way too fast this month. Changing cities every three nights is exhausting and we are looking forward to slowing it down this coming month.
7. I will never get sick of beach days. Ever. Ever. Ever.
8. Casey is more level headed than I am (I actually already knew this, but it’s been confirmed time and time again over the last month)
9. MyTaxi is a shitty app for ordering a cab; don’t trust their fare estimates. Someone needs to bring Uber back to Spain.
10. I miss free water. I feel like I’m always thirsty here.
11. I think a roller suitcase would’ve been just as effective as a backpack. Although, I am getting a great shoulder workout every time I carry it.
12. Why didn’t anyone care about the Olympics here? It made me sad.
13. Spain is hot as f*ck in August. Don’t go to Spain in August.
14. Don’t travel on Sunday’s if you can avoid it. Everything is closed and it will make your life a lot harder than it needs to be.
15. We should’ve bought SIM cards before we left. You can buy them in each local country when you arrive, but it’s kind of a pain in the ass.
16. I wish I had packed more dresses.
17. Why is plumbing so bad in Europe? At one Airbnb we weren’t even allowed to flush toilet paper. Ew.
18. Did you know that an IPA has an average of 270 calories in it? And in NYC I was drinking probably TEN IPA’s A WEEK (no, I don’t have a problem, I blame my coworkers). I’m not sure why I couldn’t put 2-and-2 together why I wasn’t losing weight, but maaaaaybe it was the 2,700 extra calories of beer (not even counting wine, liquor or the bar food that accompanied all of that), that I was consuming on a regular basis? JUST A THOUGHT. Anyway, local beer in Europe is all light beer and my waistline couldn’t be happier.
19. I don’t know how people did a trip like this even as recent as five years ago. Technology is my best friend and without things like Google Maps, Google Translate and FaceTime (to keep in touch with friends and family), I don’t think this is would be do-able for me. Also, we were both able to order our niece’s birthday presents via Amazon from Spain and have them delivered by Prime! Amazing.
20. Air Conditioning is the greatest thing that was ever invented. An overheated Meghan is NOT a happy Meghan. (Just ask Casey)
21. Something that I read before we left, was to not bring basic toiletries like shampoo and conditioner, because they would be everywhere. And while all of our hosts have provided toiletries like toothpaste, shampoo and body wash for us, almost NO ONE has had hair conditioner. I just conditioned my hair yesterday for the first time in two weeks and it was glorious. Advice: Bring conditioner.
22. I have learned to temporarily detach from my cell phone. I didn’t have the SIM card in Spain, Casey did. Which meant that whenever we would leave our Airbnb, and unless there was free public Wifi, I was without access to the outside world. And honestly, I haven’t missed it too much. I’ve played a lot of the game Two Dots (Level 163! Waddup!). Although, once I get home in the evenings, it’s exhausting to then have to go through 30 minutes worth of Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. First world problems.
23. Casey is patient. I am not.
24. Much to my delight, fried chicken sandwiches are a delicacy enjoyed by most of the world. Although, I still really miss Chick-fil-A.
25. We’ve been pretty good about staying on budget. $50/day on lodging and $50/day for everything else seemed impossible at first, but it’s gotten easier the longer we’ve traveled and hopefully with peak tourist season dying down, it will get even easier.
26. We purchased a VPN service for $9/month and it’s great for staying in touch with our American TV lives. With it, we were able to watch the Olympics on NBC.com, and we can stream HBO, Hulu, etc. Plus, football season is coming up and I can’t wait to watch my Bills and my Auburn Tigers with it!
27. We decided to rent a car in Barcelona and drive to nearby towns, rather than take the train. Of course neither of us can drive a manual, and Spain is full of terrifying round-abouts that feel like they have no rules. In hindsight, probably not our smartest decision, but I’m a (self-proclamined) fantastic driver and I think I did a great job.
28. I brought some things that I realized I don’t need, but I don’t want to throw them away. So now they’re just taking up space. What do I do? Hm.
29. I need to workout more. Story of my life. Some things never change.
30. Showers here are weird and no two shower has been the same. I’ve had to shower standing over a toilet, showers with no curtain, showers where you hold the shower head the entire time. It’s like the Wild Wild West over here.
31. As emotionally and physically exhausting as this month has been, I wouldn’t trade the experiences that Casey & I had over the last month for anything. I cannot wait to see what month two has in store for us!