Things You Notice When travelling

– You can get use to most things in three days or less. Jet lag disappears in about this time. I tend to adapt to foreign food in this time, but the trend is offset by the fact I take about the same amount of time to find some local equivalents to what I’m used to. I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables, and after eating fast food for a day or two I find what the local sellers have.
– A lot of what we do is out of habit, or just following convention. Other countries have their own conventions, which are usually equally valid in their own right. It’s the same in one sense- because customs are about being respectful and polite, but different because different cultures go about it in a different way.
– You can get a little more creative when in a new environment. No stultification of the daily grind, just following the pattern we learn when we were first getting use to the place. We’re in a new place, so we have to find out how it all fits together. For a little while we are open to multiple possibilities, haven’t yet decided between them, and are open minded.
– The original version of untidy and unwashed is multiplied several times over. Washed socks hanging over the hotel TV antenna! Just being practical.
– Different travel methods have their uses. Aircraft travel is enjoyable in its own right these days. It’s about the only chance I get to sit and watch movies for a few hours. Coaches are good if you are frequently stopping for a tour, and better than travelling alone if you carry lots of shopping, but are lousy for long trips without breaks. Trains, if they have a dining car and a few people worth socializing with, can actually be quite good. Somehow I prefer scenery from the train window over the scenery in a bus.
– Expenses and souvenirs accumulate faster than expected. At the same time you realise how little you can get by with. You do need money in this world, but more money doesn’t solve most problems.
– You’ll spend more time than planned waiting for connections. Even if you have to run to catch the train or bus you feel you spend more time than you wanted to waiting for the next leg of the journey. Patience is a virtue, but it feels like procrastination at the time.
– Cultural stereotypes are grossly misleading. The world is made of individuals. A country may its own language, but everybody speaks it distinctly.
– Half the travel anecdotes you accumulate are from things that went wrong at the time, but they are almost worth it later on. Many others are from things that went serendipitously right.