The best part about being a novice is that eventually, you’ll come out on the other side as an expert.
That’s the best case scenario. Worst case scenario, you’ll find yourself with a plethora of fun stories of mishaps and mildly funny mis-adventures to share at your next gathering.
Being a ‘Yes’ (Wo)Man
Hey, want to go for tapas? Yes.
Want to check out this exposition? Sure.
Would you like to go dancing tonight? Absolutely.
There’s a difference between being open to new experiences, and having unrealistic expectations about your time, energy and budget. People are often tempted to say ‘yes’ to every invitation, but that comes with its own set of hastles. For example, tapas aren’t free! The disco isn’t free! Are you running through money as if it grows on trees? Also, if you’re so exhausted that you begin to over-promise you’re bound to let someone down, even if it’s just yourself.
Only Flying Budget Airlines
For some reason, it’s simply assumed that young people and students only use budget airlines like Ryanair or Vueling. I used to feel like only adults and grandparents fly Iberia: wrong.
Call it self-care, or protecting your peace: you too can fly with a standard airline company and not be herded through lines and onto planes like cattle! I didn’t even look at mainstream airlines because I assumed it was out of my budget. Not only will you have a more comfortable travel experience, you’ll have more destinations open to you too!
Running Straight Towards the Familiar
Often times, things like language and cultural barriers are so intimidating that we wind up not even trying out of fear of failure or rejection. Sienna is a wonderful example of how to have the best of both worlds. Please, humor me as I gush over my best friend for a moment. Not only has she ‘found her Tribe’ through LMDES, she also has a solid group of close friends and adopted Spanish family! When Sienna is not organizing events for WOC expats and travelers, she can be found having family dinner with her adopted Spanish fam, or exploring some tiny village with some Spanish friends. If you are in a large enough city, you’ll find English-speakers, and while it’s comforting to speak your native language, you may find yourself feeling trapped in a bubble!
It’s okay to be uncomfortable. It’s a small price to pay for a genuinely immersive life in Spain (or wherever you end up). Embrace the fumbles, and awkward moments! You’ll laugh later on.
I arrived in Spain as a hubristic, yet super naive graduate student. I had no idea what to expect from Spain, and I made lots of mistakes along the way which I can now see as memories that I look back on with fondness. If I had to leave you beautiful people with one last piece of advice, I’d say: there’s time for everything, and even if there isn’t that’s okay too. Take moments to be present, and actually enjoy where you are. It’s great to check places of your travel bucket list, but there’s more to it than that.
Tell us your travel ‘re-do’ moment! Is there a city you’d like to visit again with the knowledge you have now?
Danni, Community + Content Director at Las Morenas de España, is a twenty-something, Chicago native currently residing in Madrid. Lover of language, words, and travel, she's managed to combine all of her passions through her work. In her free time, you can find her exploring the winding streets of Madrid, hunting down good flight deals, planning her next adventure and writing & researching for LMDES. Danni loves spicy food, natural hair, music and of course, her wonderful husband. If you need to find her, she’s the girl with huge hair and her face buried in her Kindle.