If there’s anything that I love in life, it’s learning. Travel has been my platform of choice to continually push myself outside of my comfort zone and into the learning zone. Recently I took my first trip to Europe, London specifically. This trip I had (ignorantly) assumed that since it’s an English-speaking country it would be less stressful navigating my way around.
First, let me start off by saying I think travel is stressful. You’re taken out of your comfort zone and plopped into an entirely new environment and culture. Frequently your body needs to adjust to different time zones. I’m a planner, so researching flights, routes to take, places to stay, things to visit, and what to eat can seem overwhelming.
I went wrong in assuming that because it’s another English-speaking country, I didn’t have to do as much research up-front about getting around. Here are my three lessons I learned from my recent trip to London.
- Don’t Believe Everything You Hear – I had never thought of London as being known for their foodie scene. In fact, I’d mostly heard rather negative things about the food in London. However, most of the food that I ate in London was pretty tasty! Now, I caution you that it might be Hung’s impressive researching skills that lead us to such great places. Two of my favorites are:
2. English isn’t English – Just because you speak English doesn’t mean that you speak the same slang. Our first mistake was as soon as we arrived at the subway station we had no idea what to do. I asked for help, but the slang they use is totally different from U.S. English I ended up walking away even more confused. My advice, make sure to read up on some of the handy slang. We later realized when we asked for help the person was telling us to take the Tube. The Tube is their subway system.
3. Tea is Epic Greatness – I’ve never been a big “tea” person. Many friends and family around me like green tea and fruit teas and I could never get into it. The closest I could come is ShareTea’s Hokkaido Milk Tea (my fav!). When I went to London I HAD to have a true English Tea experience. I fell in love with tea-time. The pastries are to-die-for and the quality time you feel gathering around tea is unbeatable. Why can’t this be a thing in the States? One of my favorite afternoon tea experiences was at the Sanderson Hotel for their Mad Hatter themed tea party.
Live and learn is the philosophy we should all embrace. Love the world and go into it with an open mind! What lessons have you learned while traveling abroad?