Last year, I found amazing flight deals to Paris with a stopover in Iceland in February through Icelandair. I had never heard of the airline before, but after some research, I figured it couldn't be so terrible. A chance to go back to Europe for around $400 roundtrip per person? I told Chris about it and we agreed that we couldn't pass this up, so we picked the dates and booked the next night.
We just returned from our trip last week, jet-lagged and homesick. Two and a half weeks overseas, traveling through four countries... it took a toll on us. We booked Airbnbs with fully equiped kitchens for the entire trip, but we usually found restaurants or cafes to stop and grab a bite instead of cooking a meal in our temporary spaces.
It's easy to show that you're having fun on Instagram. I definitely produced content just for Instagram stories and to show friends and family back home that I was having a good time. But traveling can be stressful. While most other countries can speak English, I felt embarrassed walking straight into conversations waving my I-only-speak-English flag. I didn't used to feel this way, like when I spent a week in Tokyo not knowing a single word of Japanese, or when I went to Amsterdam knowing very little about the city. I didn't feel prepared. I hated thinking that other people would label me as a "stupid tourist."
I learned a few things this time. The next trip will be planned better. I'll pick one or two destinations. Maybe I'll practice that language for a little while. And maybe somewhere along the line, I'll figure out that it doesn't matter if I am just a stupid tourist.