If you’ve seen memes showing 'Expectations versus Reality', you’ll know that there are gaps in how we expect things to turn out versus how they actually turn out. Our perceptions of a city and how we see ourselves on our travels can alter the way we accept the challenges that come our way during our time abroad.
The best way to get the most out of our trips is to remain open to new experiences. But first, we’ll need to acknowledge our fears of the unknown and learn to be receptive to everything that comes. Yes, that includes the good, the bad, and the ugly.
In some ways, the uncertainty we feel when exploring an unfamiliar city not only makes us more confident, it can also make us feel alive.
Get familiarised with the basics
There’s nothing like the satisfaction of figuring out the transport system of a new city all on your own. The moment I’m able to hop on and off the train without checking the railway map every few minutes, I feel like a local (almost).
Getting familiarised with the basics of a city, from how much its currency is worth to how you can get WiFi, is essential. Understanding the local transport system of buses, trains, ferries and taxis can help you feel confident in getting around the city.
If you’re on an Anywhr trip, everything’s sorted out for you. The Anywhr Travelogue (that little red booklet you receive before your trip) gives you transport information and tips and tricks in navigating the city; you’ll quickly forget that you found out about your travel destination only on the day of your departure!
Allow yourself flexibility to discover
More often than not we are creatures of habit. We wake up around the same time each day, we take the same routes, we have our favourite kinds of foods. Embarking on a trip abroad turns our routines on its head. It challenges our natural rhythm and habits.
To gain confidence in exploring a new city, sometimes we have to go out and do just that—explore! Without the reliance on plans, transportation times or other people. Take our own two feet out for a walk and roam the streets.
Already made plans? Ditch them for half a day, and slowly take on one street and then the next. If there’s anything that gives you strength when feeling uncertain, it’s using your acute decision-making skills and trusting your gut to lead the way.
*Related post: Exploring Not Following: An Anecdote With Pictures!
Don't be afraid to ask
Unless you’re a complete people person, striking up a conversation with strangers might not come naturally. But a big part of traveling is the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world.
By putting yourself out there, even if it’s to ask for help with directions or to seek recommendations for the best restaurant, you gain confidence and set yourself up for the possibility of forging new relationships.
Remember: Be genuine, be curious, and go in with a smile.
Don't worry, nobody knows you there anyway
There’s something liberating about being in a place where nobody knows you. You can relax into yourself. Maybe even do some things you’ve always wanted to but have put off for a long time. Always wanted to hike? Go for it. Been wanting to take up dance lessons? Find a local centre and sign up for an hour or two.
You don’t have to feel self-conscious; there’s no right or wrong way to explore a city. Just be yourself and put your best foot forward. If things don’t go as planned, remember that everything is temporary and having fun while staying safe is the most important thing.
Your trip will end but the memories you’ve created will definitely last for a long time.
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