life lessons learned traveling, part ii

by Holly on January 2, 2011

in travel

Happy twenty-eleven friends!

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter (or read my last post), you know that I’ve decided 2011 is going to be OUR year. As hokey as it may sound, I’ve learned we need to put positive thoughts + affirmations out into the universe to make them happen. So I figure let’s just put them out in the universe as many times as we can – can’t hurt, right?

To ensure I travel as much as I can this year, I figure it was time for another installment of life lessons learned traveling.

This time: Italy.

It’s the place where I gained 15 pounds studying abroad. The place that utterly astounded me with its rich history. The place I fell asleep at the dinner table after imbibing too much house wine. The place I would gladly return to over and over and over again.

Public drinking fountains in Italy are completely safe. But Thailand, on the other hand? A completely different story.

Choose your travel companions VERY carefully. Just because you’re friends, that doesn’t mean you’ll be good travel buddies. On the other hand, just because you’re good travel buddies doesn’t mean you’ll be friends in real life.

Luckily, I have perfected the art of choosing.

Marvel. Always, always, always take as much time as you want to marvel.

Befriend everyone you meet. Minus criminals, skeevy men trying to sell you fake designer purses and gypsies who steal freshly-baked baguettes from your purse; connecting with people has been made every travel venture worth it. Plus, you’ll most likely get free drinks, fantastic dinner recommendations and your picture up in random restaurants around the world.

You are stronger than you realize. Traveling can be scary. It pushes you beyond your limits of comfort – forcing you to act, eat, barter, interact and communicate in ways you’ve never before. I’ve missed flights, had near death experiences, become lost in foreign cities and been forced to watch a 50-something creepy German lady’s personal fashion show in a hostel in Austria.

But ya know what? It’s the BEST thing I’ve ever done.

Even us ice cream fanatics reach a point of gelato overload. Sad, I know.

Interpretive dancing is completely acceptable in city squares across Europe. Not just Italy. I swear. I am a trusted expert on this.

Travel more. How else am I going to keep on enjoying stunning views such as this?

What is one positive affirmation YOU want to put out in the universe this 2011? Sharing is caring…


Erica January 2, 2011 at 11:49 am

What a fun post. My favorite: “Interpretive dancing is completely acceptable in city squares across Europe.” That picture of you is awesome. I think making the best of every situation just makes like a better place to be. I’m working on this one!

Emily January 2, 2011 at 12:24 pm

I love this so much! Have I told you that I’m going to Asia this year? Thailand advice mucho appreciated. I also gained 15 studying in Italy, omgosh, Like I cant even bear looking at pictures of my chunk self…we’ll stick to the views haha. Ah such wanderlust after this post, thank you!

Maryann January 2, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I love this post! A positive affirmation I want to practice more is dont sweat the little stuff, which I am sometimes guilty of!

Erica D (Gratitouille) January 2, 2011 at 1:07 pm

I think interpretive dancing should just be acceptable everywhere! One of my resolutions this year is to dance. every. single. day. Doesn’t matter where, doesn’t matter how. It just makes me happy!

Matt January 2, 2011 at 1:07 pm

Love this post! I am actually going to Italy later this year :)

suki @ [Super Duper Fantastic] January 2, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Very fun! :) I’ve not been to Italy, but would love to some day! :)

Low January 2, 2011 at 2:37 pm

I want to travel with you. Something tells me we’d be fabuhlous travel buddies.

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) January 2, 2011 at 3:13 pm

i love your message on travel! yes it totally pushes us out of our comfort zone but THAT is when and how the magic and self discovery happens, all while discovery a new place!

Mary @ Bites and Bliss January 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Love the lessons you learned! And I’d love it even more if I could learn them myself. :) Lucky you for getting to travel so much!

Madeline - Greens and Jeans January 2, 2011 at 3:19 pm

My dad once did a lecture series in Milan and my family spent a month there. I don’t think my brother and I ate anything except gelato and pizza the entire time.

Susan January 2, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Gorgeous! I love travelling. I guess one positivity “nugget” I feel like throwing out there right now is that there is something to be learned from every place, person, and experience and therefore no place, person, or experience is a loss or a waste of our time and energy.

julie January 2, 2011 at 4:45 pm

can you pack me in your suitcase wherever you go this year? puh puh puh LEASE. i can’t wait till i have money and can go somewhere gooood :)

Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine January 2, 2011 at 5:02 pm

I grew up traveling a TON but haven’t done much in the past few years…the opposite of most people! I kind of wish my parents had taken me on big trips later in life though, when I was old enough to really appreciate them. Seeing Europe when you’re still in elementary school just isn’t as special!

Pure2Raw Twins January 2, 2011 at 5:54 pm

We studied abroad too in Italy!! We were there for a whole month!! Loved every second of it…now this was before I was eating the way I do now. Italy is where I feel in love with wine, well we both did!! I would do anything to be able to go back…will you come with us??

Jess January 2, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Fabulous life lessons! Traveling, to be honest, is something I find very overwhelming at times! But, this past summer, having been to Uganda, I got over that a bit ;)

Katie January 2, 2011 at 9:11 pm

I have never been to Italy, but it is on the list. The list is long, but it is near the top. I have a feeling the wine will do me in. In a really wonderful way.

Virginia @ YtotheUmmy January 2, 2011 at 9:33 pm

ahaha, there is no place like europe. i have family in spain, but i’ve always wanted to go to italy…there and greece. i decided long ago that that’s where i would go to find the tall, dark and handsome PAOLO of my dreams….sigh. still can’t wait to meet him.

Caroline January 2, 2011 at 9:47 pm

Love this post! I want to take a trip to Europe when I graduate so badly! I totally agree with you that good friends don’t always make good travel buddies : )

Denice January 2, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Holly, Your photos are so AMAZING, and I too am looking to travel more this coming year! I wish you the vesy best in your adventures, let me know if you are going to be in Salt Lake at any point, I think we would get along GREAT!

Eden January 2, 2011 at 11:12 pm

My affirmation: I will honor my personality flaws, for without them I would have no personality at all.
I still do not believe there is such as thing as gelato overload….maybe I’ll just have to experiment it myself

Rachel January 3, 2011 at 12:03 am

Hi Holly! I LOVE your blog, but have yet to comment. This post really inspired me. I’m a big believer in positivity and this post was beaming with it!

One positive thing I want to do this year is tell people I appreciate them more often!

Julie K. January 3, 2011 at 4:54 am

I love travelling through Europe, I have been to France, Spain and few other countries so far and it has been wonderful to stay in those countries. I want to go to Italy this year so I am doing a bit of a research, I am looking forward so much, everybody I’ve met that have been to Italy says that people there are great. This is the part I always look forward to the most when travelling. Discovering the country through people.

Sami January 3, 2011 at 9:37 am

one of my goals for 2011 is to travel more often. instead of saying “yeah, i wanna go there someday”…i’d like to actually ACT on it!

Megan (Braise the Roof) January 3, 2011 at 10:12 am

Haha, that gelato photo of you is perfect. I definitely ate gelato for breakfast when I visited…no shame, I tell you. Is that Cinqueterre? I went there! I also got the WORST sunburn of my life there. Damn you, pharmacies closing for 3 hours in the middle of the day!

Jen January 3, 2011 at 11:56 am

Love this post! Especially the last picture….AWESOME!!!!!


Michele January 3, 2011 at 6:11 pm

I too believe that interp dance can be performed anywhere! :)

One positive thing I would like to not be so hard on myself, and to have more self confidence.

elise January 3, 2011 at 8:11 pm

i feel like we would be really good travel buddies. i think we should test this theory.

emerson January 3, 2011 at 8:58 pm

interpretive dancing happens all the time when i travel. why do you think they sell pashminas all over europe?! the necessary accessory to whirl around in public town squares and plazas.

Kaitlin With Honey January 3, 2011 at 9:32 pm

This post took me back to my study abroad in London and completely necessary trek across Europe. I completely agree with every point on here!

Jessica January 4, 2011 at 1:12 am

You wrote this post SOLELY to assuage any of my current doubts, fears and/or questions regarding my upcoming semester in Barcelonaaaaa, huh?! ;)

I loved this post–reading it truly made me so so happy! I am excited for what lies ahead, and I can only hope that I find myself laughing, loving, learning, and experiencing even a fraction of what you did while traveling abroadl! Cheesy, but true!

And I repeat, I will be more spontaneous this semester. I will gooo with the flow, and take Europe for everything it has to offer! Gah, I cannot wait!!

Katie January 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm

positive affirmation (I’ve been telling myself this every day for a week now): I AM capable of raising a healthy girl without body/food issues.

The thought of having a little girl kind of scares the heck out of me, but I have to keep telling myself that I can (and will) do it well!

K - Anywhere There's An Airport January 4, 2011 at 1:50 pm

I will live life to the fullest in Spain! I will let the homesick and annoyances come and go… and find a new part of myself here!

Ruthie January 4, 2011 at 2:23 pm

What a lovely post, you really do have a great blog! I spent three months in Italy running around like a mad thing and loved it, I have found traveling to be very freeing despite frequent bouts of homesickness! My positive affirmation (which I saw written on a canvas bag!) is ‘go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.’

Marika January 6, 2011 at 7:55 am

I was also the heaviest I’ve ever been after a semester in Italy! Glad I’m not the only one who succumbed to the pasta, gelato, wine and Baci chocolates (I was studying in Perugia, where they’re made :-)).
I agree that befriending people while traveling is awesome, but would advise against it in an Italian nightclub– I was shocked by how forward Italian men will be with foreign girls!

Erin January 7, 2011 at 2:22 am

Great post. And it sounds like Italy is developing a reputation for weight gain. I gained 15 pounds there as well, and like Emily, cannot even handle looking at photos from the trip (especially from the last two months)! Looking back, I wouldn’t have done it any differently. I most certainly never became tired of the gelato, pizza, pasta, pastries or wine. Quite the combo. I would have to say that “live, laugh, love” easily sums up my positive affirmation. Happy New Year!

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