As anal as my mom was about organizing and planning ahead, when it came to planning trips, all we did was grab some triptiks from Triple A and hop in the minivan. Granted, often our excursions were over summer vacation so my parents had time to spare, but I grew up with a sense of adventure and mystery when it came to travel…as long as it was in a car and we weren’t running like fools through the airport because Dad was taking his sweet Mañana Morukian time and we were about to miss our flight…but I digress.
As I currently gallivant around the world, I’m reminded of the lessons I learned about traveling from my family:
1. Bring books…you’ll need them to tune annoying people out
2. Bring headphones (for rationale see #1)
3. When you are getting antsy, make someone near you laugh instead of getting cranky. They are probably antsy, too.
4. Don’t fall asleep in the midst of a prankster who is bored. You shall end up with lipstick on your face and a smelly sock across your nose.
5. Something will inevitably go wrong. Be ready to laugh about it and shrug it off. Nobody wants to see you throw a tantrum and then pout for a day because your sister got to feed the chipmunks before you.
6. You will get lost. You’re already going to look like a ding dong tourist with your giant map, so at least spare the locals and don’t start fighting with your travel companions about which way to go. Also, ADMIT WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHICH WAY TO GO AND LET SOMEONE ELSE CARRY THE MAP.
7. Eat whatever you damn well please. You’re on an adventure! (well…within reason. Avoid anything the US government warns against…like unpotable water or unwashed lettuce…I have learned that one the hard way. Many an international restroom has paid the price for my indiscretions with street food.)
8. Try your damnedest to speak at least a few words of the language. Even if the locals smile knowingly and speak back in English, they appreciate the effort. Word of advice, don’t tell someone in a Spanish speaking country you are embarazada because you think it means embarrassed. It doesn’t.
9. Explore beyond the touristy locations. The great city of Ogalala, Nebraska is still one of my favorite stops on the Morukian Family Goes West excursion.
10. If you feel something crawling in your shirt, it’s totally appropriate to take it off as soon as possible. The public reaction is worth saving your boobies from a kamikaze yellow jacket.