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Life Lessons Learned From Living Abroad

Living abroad can be a very scary and very rewarding experience all at once. If you’re considering making the move yourself, read through these common experiences first. 

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 For some of us, the thought of living abroad is a nearly unachievable fantasy if not a completely unappealing and crazy decision. But for others, it’s the most magical and exciting choice available. Regardless of what your personal opinions are about living abroad, there are plenty of positives and negatives that come with it. Here are some that anyone who has actually done it can agree with.

RELATIONSHIPS COME AND GO

One of the greatest things that comes from living abroad is new and wonderful friendships. Meeting people from different areas of the world with different experiences than yourself can be invigorating. It can help you learn more about yourself and give you a new and powerful perspective on life.

But on the flip side, moving abroad can greatly damage your existing relationships. Is it so hard to believe? Suddenly everyone you’ve ever known and gotten close with is halfway around the world. So naturally, you’ll lose some friends. Some of those losses will be organic, some will happen because certain friends are angry you left.

This can make the experience very difficult. But if you’re considering making the move don’t let this deter you. The most important people, the relationships that really matter, will always be there. And in some cases, it will even make the bond stronger.

SAY HELLO TO YOUR NEWFOUND CONFIDENCE

Deciding to move to a different country where you have little to no comfort zone can be very scary. How are you supposed to get comfortable in this new, foreign city? How are you supposed to just build a new social circle from scratch? How on Earth will you get comfortable?!

But dealing with those questions, and eventually answering them, can be an extremely rewarding experience. It will force you to know yourself better than you ever have and achieve a level of confidence and comfort with yourself that you never thought was possible. And you can take that newfound comfort and confidence with you for the rest of your life, wherever you may go.

GET READY TO MISS VERY IMPORTANT STUFF BACK HOME

This can be one of the hardest parts for anyone living abroad. There will be some many important events: birthdays, funerals, weddings, the arrival of a new baby, etc, etc. And you will most certainly miss at least some of them. It’s just impossible to travel back home enough to be there for every important moment. So it will be very difficult to pick and choose which ones you use your vacation days on.

But while you’ll miss lots of memorable events with family and friends, hopefully you can convince plenty of them to come and visit you for always enjoyable memories abroad!

BE PATIENT, BE WILLING

Many people, when visiting or moving to a new country, will remain in their own comfort zone and make very little effort to truly immerse themselves into the local culture. This is a sure fire way to make sure you move back home much sooner than expected.

It’s important to really make an effort to take in whatever city you move to in all its glory and imperfections. And, possibly even more crucial, it’s important to be patient and give yourself time to get comfortable there. It could take a while. Longer than you think. But if you give yourself plenty of time to adapt and get comfortable in your new city, you will eventually get the full experience you set out to get in the first place.

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS

The concept of “home” has a lot of different definitions for different people. For many people, it’s as simple as where they’re from – where they grew up. But for others, it’s as simple as where they live. Either way, it’s easy to move to a foreign city and find yourself missing that feeling of “home,” regardless of how many friends you have or how much you’ve immersed yourself in the culture.

This can be a very difficult emotion to live with and there’s really no perfect answer for how to deal with it. It will vary from person to person. But be sure to give it the proper amount of attention and really evaluate on your own time what “home” means to you and how important it is. Because that childhood home that you’ve barely spent any time in over the last decade may not be as important as it used to be anymore.

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Things You Should Never Say To A Flight Attendant

Traveling can be a troublesome experience so we need to do everything we can to help make the trip more pleasant and comfortable for ourselves. On a long plane trip the Flight Attendant can be your ally in this endeavor. Flight Attendants are generally helpful and pleasant but if treated with disrespect may be disinclined to […]

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Traveling can be a troublesome experience so we need to do everything we can to help make the trip more pleasant and comfortable for ourselves. On a long plane trip the Flight Attendant can be your ally in this endeavor. Flight Attendants are generally helpful and pleasant but if treated with disrespect may be disinclined to help. 

The job of a Flight Attendant is to keep you safe and comfortable and can be stressful on the best of days, but unruly and rude passengers just make the job so much harder.  From rude statements to questions that they have no way of knowing the answer to, here are some things that you never want to say to a Flight Attendant.

“I need to use the toilet before we take off.” This is against regulations, once the seatbelt light is on you must stay put. 

“Can you lift my bag for me?” This is not the Flight Attendant’s job, when packing you should make sure your bag is not too heavy for you to lift. 

“I’ll put my phone on airplane mode in a minute.” This is a requirement and Flight Attendants must ask you to do this. Be nice and comply

“They let me the last time I flew.” Whether or not this is true your Flight Attendant won’t appreciate this ploy. Their job is to enforce the rules, and most do.

“Can you watch my kids for me?” Flight Attendants are not babysitters and you shouldn’t expect them to be. 

“Why are we delayed?” “Will I make my connection?” These are the types of questions that the Flight Attendant has no way of having the answer to. If you have a cell phone you can find those answers yourself with a handy app.

A few more handy tips on the proper treatment of your Flight Attendant. Don’t treat her like a waitress because she isn’t. Her job is to keep you safe, not to cater to your needs. And don’t call your Flight Attendant a “Stewardess”, this term is outdated and sexist. And don’t hit on her, you aren’t in a bar.

 

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Ecotourism is NOT Environmentally Friendly

There is a trend in travel that has picked up a lot of steam over the last few years. That trend is called Eco-Tourism. As the environment has become more important to people over the last decade – and especially so in the last couple…

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Ecotourism is a new term; something created in the last 10 years, so what does it really mean? Eco-tourism is basically capitalism’s answer to the environment and people’s growing concerns. Companies are cashing in and its becoming big business. Although the initial intent was probably good-natured, the results are usually less than favorable. The costs don’t always outweigh the means, so is ecotourism actually a good thing? Let’s find out.

Time to investigate what companies are actually trying to accomplish with their eco-tourism. The term greenwashing keeps coming up in my research and it’s a pretty interesting phenomenon. Apparently, greenwashing is an attempt to appear as being eco friendly. Seems like a pretty lame thing to be involved with, but you’d be surprised at how many large corporations actually are involved in greenwashing.

Many if not all of the major hotel chains are now putting placards in their rooms that inform guests that they respect mother nature and because of this they don’t wash the linens every night. This comes off as a great thing that a large corporation is doing. But in reality they are greenwashing us all by using the environment to service their own needs. It’s obvious to me that these companies are only doing this because it saves them an enormous amount of money and they look good in the process.

Cultures are destroyed by tourism and they can’t even profit because the major corporations suck all the money from them. Tourism only feeds off the stereotypes of a culture and the actual culture suffers and often slowly disappears. What’s left is a washed out shell of the culture and the true spirit is lost forever.  

Eco-tours are usually an environmental nightmare, by bringing in people by the busload or boatload; these eco-tours are actually harming the local surroundings.   These tourists don’t come alone, they eat, drink and consume anything in their way and what’s left is the garbage and used up Mother Nature.

Eco-tours profit from large disasters, allowing the general public to feel like they helped, when in reality all they do is scratch the surface. The tourists come to a disaster for a few days, pick up some garbage, help with some injured and then go home feeling like they made a difference. The problem is that if they really wanted to help, they would’ve just sent aid in the form of money, food or medicine,

If a company truly wanted to be involved in eco tourism responsibly, they would do these things.

Only using local products would actually benefit the environment and would help the community profit.   If ecotourism companies cared, they would limit the number of visitors to limit the impact on the environment. Educating tourists on their impact on the environment would help the cause. Allowing the local culture to be in charge and to protect their interests is the best way to help the environment.

 

Hopefully by educating people about ecotourism eventually leads to more conscious travelers and compassionate people in general.

 

Enjoy the full article at NomadicMatt

Photos courtesy of HoiAnEcoTour and GetYourGuide

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Best Travel Laptops

How to Choose a Travel Laptop When traveling with technology, my rule of thumb is simple: pack light. I understand that you want the best functionality with your travel laptop but sometimes it pays to go with the minimal option. I always look at multiple choices when I’m contemplating buying technology and laptops are no […]

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How to Choose a Travel Laptop

When traveling with technology, my rule of thumb is simple: pack light. I understand that you want the best functionality with your travel laptop but sometimes it pays to go with the minimal option. I always look at multiple choices when I’m contemplating buying technology and laptops are no different.   I look at cost, battery life, storage, functionality and portability.

 

It’s smart to weigh your options and figure out what exactly you plan on using the laptop.

Do you want to watch movies?

Are you trying to surf the web?

What programs will you need to run?

Will you need internet accessibility?

How much are you trying to spend?

Just how portable do you need your travel laptop to be?

 

These questions and many more may arise in your decision process and I’m here to help.

There are 3 main types of lightweight travel laptops: 2-n-1s, ultra books and Chromebooks.

 

2-n-1s

These are versatile laptops and tablets in one, hence the catchy and practical name. These are very functional and convenient for travel since they have multi-functionality. They convert from a laptop to tablet easily and extremely portable. Sometimes you just want to watch a movie and other times you need the capability to access Microsoft office, so a 2-n-1 may be for you.

Microsoft really owns this market with their functional Surface Pro 2-n-1. The highlight is obviously their transformative properties and touch screen capabilities.

You will enjoy how easily they change from full laptop to e-reader or tablet.

The Surface Pro starts at around $800 USD and can be upgraded easily. The baseline model weighs less than 2 pounds and the battery lasts on average for 9 hours. That’s plenty of time for a long flight and layover.

Surfaces can be used with or without a keyboard, which adds to its portability.

 

Chromebooks

Chromebooks are your budget friendly option but are cheap for a reason. These computers don’t run a full operating system like Apple OX or Windows; instead they run off a basic OS that uses the Chrome browser. Now that the name makes sense, lets discuss these laptops.

Chromebooks are hampered by their weak operating system, which doesn’t allow Adobe products or Microsoft. Their simple functionality allows users to browse the internet, watch movies or back up files like your travel photos. If all you need are these basic functions, then a Chromebook may be for you. Without internet connection however, you may not be able to perform basic word processing.

Check out the Acer Chromebook for only $225 USD, which is really cheap for all that it does. With an 11-inch screen and extreme portability these guys are great picks.

 

Ultra books

These bad boys are your traditional laptops but made smaller and lighter for your travel needs. They blend high performance speed and functional portability to create the high-end travel technology you may need. These are best for people who actually have to get work done while traveling. They can do all the normal functions of a laptop but with less weight and bulk. 

The Apple Macbook Air is my clear pick; especially since I’m an Apple man myself. These slick powerhouses pack all the frill with half the weight. They start at around $850 USD and pack the same processor as their bigger brothers the Macbook.

Do your own research and figure out what your digital needs may be, and purchase your travel laptop.

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