Posted in Europe, Lessons Learned, Travel

Blooming – slowly but surely

IMG_8903It can’t be denied that travelling is one of the best sources of one’s learning and maturity. Whether you travel alone or with family/friends, you get to learn a thing or two about yourself, about others, about life in general. You just bloom and continue to blossom from the experience.

We have different reasons why we travel. After reading this post (from seed to flower) by Mari Jasmine, I too asked myself the reasons why I love to travel. The first reason that comes to mind is that I want to see and experience God’s wonderful creation, when we travel, you get to see that the world is so vast and so beautiful, you couldn’t grasp how great our Creator is. I love all things beautiful, I think everyone loves beauty, one of the best ways to experience beauty is to travel, I haven’t traveled much, but so far, every single city that I get to visit looks beautiful to me, each one is different but each one has its beauty to showcase and to put anyone in awe.

After I experienced spring in Seoul, South Korea for the first time, I dreamt of traveling to cold places, to experience spring and autumn in different continents, most especially, Europe. It’s generally warm (sometimes really hot in the Philippines) so when I travel, I hope to feel cool breeze, fresh air and lots of beauty around.

Aside from witnessing God’s wonderful creation and experiencing the cool weather, I also want to eat different food, and just savor the flavor which each distinct city offers. Everyone loves to eat, right, I am definitely not an exception. 😉

Alright, I want to shop too, but I know it’s not too practical to buy a lot because there’s just so many more wonderful things than stuff/material things, so I try my best to limit my spending so that I can save up the money for another travel.

In my recent travel to Europe, I’ve learned a lot, for someone who is a self-confessed late-bloomer, I definitely have a lot more to learn!! Thank God for the opportunity to travel, I get to learn lessons which make me wiser, a little bit stronger and better as a person, and as a traveler.

  1. Travel light.

Duh, Ryah? When will you ever learn?

IMG_8845 (Edited)This trip is my 7th international travel, but it’s the farthest and the longest. All of my first 6 travels took only a week and only within Asia. This time, it’s in Europe, we traveled to 6 cities within 3 weeks. Next time, (i) I should start packing early, not on the day of the travel. (ii) I should plan my wardrobe ahead of time, (iii) mix and match, (iv) remember that I can wash my undies right after taking a bath, so don’t bring too much, and (v) I can also do the laundry too, laundry shops are available everywhere. If I didn’t bring enough clothes, (vi) I can shop for more clothes, right? Shopping is part of travelling. 🙂 (vii) If I will be hopping from one city to another, bring medium luggage only. (viii) If I will stay in one or two cities only, I can bring the large luggage only if the vacation is two weeks or longer and I expect to do some shopping.

2. Stick to your budget.

I have budgeted Php2,000 per day for the trip. It should have been enough if only I used the daily budget to food and transportation only. The budget for shopping should be separate. For future travels, especially to Europe, I will budget Php3,000 per day for food and transportation, pls note that this is a pretty generous daily budget. The budget for shopping should be in a different wallet or pouch, never mix up the money for both allowances. Before the trip, the only must-buy in my mind is the leather bag in Florence, well I planned to buy a few more stuff like the Little Prince book and Jane Austen classics, I forgot to budget on the fridge magnets which are my mandatory souvenirs. If only I have more space in my luggage and if only it’s not too heavy, I wanted to buy the Starbucks demitasse in cities where it is available. Oh well! No regrets though…. sometimes I think, the “heavy luggage” situation happened because I am being spared from shopping too much, which is good. 🙂

IMG_9965Are there things I regret not buying because of my fear of carrying an even heavier luggage? Yes, there are a few things – some hardbound books in Notting Hill Bookshop, the Starbucks demitasse in Paris, France, a few more Leonidas chocolate bars, some more Cath Kidston handcreams, and the Lovea shampoo & shower cream, this is a French brand of natural products which I bought in one of Milan shopping malls, had I known that I would love these products, I should have bought more travel size tubes, or 1 big bottle for each. Oh well, lesson learned!

3. Chill.

More often than not, we travel because we want to relax, we want to rest in a far place, somewhere far from work, or from anything that causes stress. We spent 3 to 4 days in each city that we visited, we stayed longest in UK, 5 days, because I requested for it, I wanted to see my family and a couple of friends. As you know from experience, 3 or even 4 days are not enough to explore a city, even the small one. Since this is our first time in Europe, we wanted to see most of the tourist spots, so we booked tours and hop-on-hop-off buses in Florence, Milan, Paris, London and Rome. In Brussels, we depended on Leah, since she lives there and we only had 2 full days in Brussels, on our 3rd day, we even managed to go to Gent, in Graslei Canal, before we moved to London.

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I will surely come back for you, Toscana…

In every place that we visited, I can say with all conviction that we didn’t have enough time to chill one day and then explore the next day. Well, this is perfectly understandable, next time, we know better. On my next trip to Europe, 4 cities will be maximum in 3 weeks or 1 month, and spend atleast 4 full days in each city. I personally wanted to explore more of Tuscany, more of Paris, but we just didn’t have enough time. I love San Gimignano that’s why I want to go back, as for Paris, we barely had time to go to other landmarks except for the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, I want to go back to see the Eiffel Tower at night, to see more of the Louvre Museum, check out more museums and gardens, chill more, drink coffee at pavement cafes, eat more macarons and other French pastries, and maybe, just maybe, finally buy my first ever LV or Chloé bag. 🙂

4. Avoid last minute shopping.

Since we didn’t have enough time to chill, explore and shop in each city, we always made the most of our remaining hours in the city to shop or buy souvenirs for family and friends. When we do this, there’s a chance that we miss our flight or train ride, which actually happened to us in Paris going to Brussels, and almost happened again in Brussels going to London. It’s expensive to book a new ticket on the day of travel, well, we’re grateful that there’s another schedule that afternoon from Paris to Brussels.

On our last day in London, I went out even though it was raining hard because I wanted to buy a big  bottle of Pixi glow toner, which I thought might be cheaper since it is a UK brand. I was lucky enough to be able to buy it. After getting it, I went back to the hotel just in time for our check out, we went to the airport via Uber. At the airport, all liquids must be put inside a seal-able plastic bag. The ones which are 100ml or bigger should be checked in. I totally forgot about the toner that I bought, 250ml, which I put inside my bag after I purchased it in the morning. So naturally, I was not allowed to bring it with me, I had no choice but to leave it, and “throw away my £18!! 😦 Mailing it to my cousin’s home is more expensive than the item itself so I let it go and charged it to experience. 😦

5. Savor the food, the fruits, the flowers, as much as you can.

IMG_7626Back in Manila for 20 days, I must admit, setting aside the beauty and charm of Europe, including the cold weather of Brussels and London, what I miss the most are the fruits (cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries) which are soooo yummy, readily available in grocery stores and so cheap!! So while I was there, I ate as much as I can, but I still miss it, if only I can bring a lot back home. I miss the flowers too, they’re too lovely and visible just anywhere. Next time, I won’t hesitate to buy a bouquet and have a photo op with it. 😉 I miss the coffee, the chocolates, the macarons… Okay, I miss Europe, pls take me back! ;D

6. Take lots of photos.

IMG_7042Yes, I did take lots of photos but I think they’re not enough to make a good album, most of the photos were taken thru the IG stories which have low resolution. One lesson learned is to use either digicam or iPhone for high resolution so it’s ready for album or for printing. If you want to have your photo taken in a particular place, don’t hesitate to ask your travel buddies. I actually don’t have much photos because I was too shy to ask my travel buddies.. Next time, I won’t be shy anymore. 😉

7. Save up for travel.

Don’t spend too much on stuff, so you can travel more often. My dream place is Europe, since it’s a big continent, with lots of beautiful cities to experience, I need to save up a lot so I can go back often and visit three to four cities at a time. 😉

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Hope you’re able to learn something from this post and apply it on your future travels. 😍😘

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Author:

God's very precious pearl. Woman of faith. Saved by grace. Traveler.

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