2013 collage
40 before 30 challenge Travelling

30 Lessons Learned In 40 Countries

I’m beyond excited to move into this next phase of travel blogging (anyone else notice a change around here?) but wanted to take a little moment to look back at some of the lessons I learned over the last 4 years of travelling, eating and meeting cool people in 40 different countries.

1) Vietnamese cyclo drivers will invariably charge more than they originally quoted. I learnt this on my first trip to Vietnam, then promptly forgot it on the second.

2) Long sleeve shirts in the Amazon are a seriously good idea – not just an unnecessary precaution.

3) Don’t lie to doorman at the Paris Ritz. Ever.

4) The inside of a pyramid is not hollow. Who knew?

5) Coconut water tastes better on a beach. Always.

Palm Island Resort

Palm Island Resort, The Grenadines

6) Eating all the food in Italy will make you podgy. (As do press trips in general. Especially the ones in Italy.)

7) French supermarkets are joyous. Like temples to the gods of bread, wine and cheese.

8) Taiwanese 7-11’s are the king of convenience stores – you’ve got internet, post, laundry, coffee, toiletries, ramen and more available around the clock. Some state they are open for 25 hours – they are that magic!

9) It’s not rude to spit in China. Even in temples. (Was a little taken aback by this.)

10) Cows like to sunbathe on beaches in Goa. (This can cause nasty bug carrying sandflies to bite your bum – just ask my poor friend S.)

palolem beach goa

Palolem Beach Goa

11) People who live in ‘slums’ are not all rogues. Far from it.

12) “Street food” is not something you peel off the pavement.

13) Chicken feet are a really knobbly snack.

14) Meals in the States are generally larger than your head.

15) There is a man in San Francisco who pretends he is a bush.

Katz Deli

Katz Deli New York

16) Visiting Cuba is the closest I’ve ever come to time travel.

17) Greek salad always taste better in Greece.

18) Uluru (Ayres Rock) is more than just a rock, just getting there feels like a pilgrimage. One definitely worth doing.

19) Bunny Chow is a South African genius dish – curry served in a bread bowl.

20) Chinese Medicine Doctors in Hong Kong ask intimate questions and charge a lot of money for their remedies. (Don’t ask!)

Sunrise at Uluru, Australia's Northern Territory

Sunrise at Uluru, Australia’s Northern Territory

21) German cycle paths are often on the pavement. Watch out!

22) There is a toilet themed restaurant in Taipei where poo-coloured meals are served in potties and you sit on a toilet and eat at a bath table.

23) Drinking coffee is a ‘culture’.

24) Kindness can come from unexpected sources and feels all the more precious when dolled out by a complete stranger.

25) When you’re sick you want your Mum. No matter where you are and at what age.

Havana, Cuba

Havana, Cuba

26) Travel makes the heart grow wider.

27) Children are charming (cheeky) creatures, the world over.

28) Travel is one of life’s greatest privileges.

29) Travel makes or breaks many a relationship.

30) Solo travel is empowering but shared experiences are everlasting.

Thank you to each and every one of you who came, joined or met me on these adventures over the last 4.5 years. It wouldn’t have been the same without you.

40 countries with friends

Thanks to those who made many of these travels possible and to all of you out there who came to read about them.

Wishing you all safe and happy travels wherever you will go.

31 Comments

  • Reply
    Cherie City
    August 4, 2014 at 8:10 am

    What’s the story behind lying to the doormen at the Paris Ritz? 😉

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      August 4, 2014 at 10:56 am

      O gosh. Short story is I panicked when concierge asked us what room we were staying in after enjoying a drink at the bar. The words “trente-huit” (our actual room number on the other side of the river) escaped my lips before I knew what was happening. I’m guessing from the look on his face there is not a room 38. I ran out before we found out.

  • Reply
    Isabel
    August 4, 2014 at 9:50 am

    I have always told people that drinking coffee is a culture and they never believe me! Glad to know I’m not the only one with these insights 😉

    Funny and interesting lessons! Worth passing them on.

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      August 4, 2014 at 10:54 am

      Haha we are not alone then. My absolute favourite thing to do in any new destination is to just sit in a cafe, enjoy the coffee and get to grips with the way of life 🙂

      • Reply
        Cherie City
        August 4, 2014 at 11:20 am

        Haha, it’s good that you made a quick exit before hearing “Sécurité”!

        I wandered into The Ritz London and the doorman was on me right away. I said I just wanted to have a look in the lobby and he was polite but probably doing a secret eye roll.

        • Reply
          Jayne Gorman
          August 4, 2014 at 11:43 pm

          Haha – at least with the revolving door there you can just spin back out!

  • Reply
    Naomi
    August 4, 2014 at 11:07 am

    Ahh the bush man in San Francisco. I was eight at the time and it’s quite possibly one of the most traumatic experiences (I’ve not done too badly otherwise) of my childhood, if not, entire life!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      August 4, 2014 at 11:09 am

      Hahaha this really made me chuckle as I was so traumatised by my experience of him I wouldn’t go down to the wharf alone. He called me a naughty word and everything 🙂

  • Reply
    Amy Lynne Hayes
    August 4, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    Love these lessons! Some are pretty funny, and I bet they are attached to some fantastic memories. That’s my favorite part of travel – the stories. And coconut water, and everything else for that matter, definitely tastes better at the beach! 🙂

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      August 4, 2014 at 11:44 pm

      This is true. I should add mojitos, daiquiris, beer…

  • Reply
    Caroline
    August 4, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Love this! It’s been great following along for all the countries!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      August 4, 2014 at 11:44 pm

      Thanks Caroline. It’s crazy how time flies isn’t it. Only sinks in when you realise how long we’ve all been doing this now!

  • Reply
    Abi
    August 4, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Aw – always a pleasure to travel with you, Jayney. Amazed there’s only one pic after so many adventures (tho – there are probably a few I’m glad didn’t make it onto the screen.) Onwards and upwards and all the best of luck to you – you deserve it and I look forward to seeing how your new adventure turns out. Besos!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      August 4, 2014 at 11:46 pm

      Thanks lady. Always a pleasure to travel with you too!

  • Reply
    Abbie
    August 4, 2014 at 7:48 pm

    This is a great post! You seem to have learnt a lot whilst travelling and I would love to do the same at some point. Your experiences are always wonderful to read about and I hope to keep reading more as it happens 🙂

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      August 4, 2014 at 11:47 pm

      Thanks Abbie. And I’ll love sharing the stories with you 🙂

  • Reply
    Dave
    August 6, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Loved this post. Easy to digest Jayne, thanks for sharing! I know first hand about long sleeve shirts in the amazon. Mozzies and other biting ‘things’ made my arms look like pin cushions. Happy travels, Dave.

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      August 7, 2014 at 12:07 am

      I know! The sandflies ate me alive. I looked diseased for a long time afterwards :s

  • Reply
    3girls1apple
    August 6, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    Mannnnn I wanna be just like you on the travels. Amazing!!!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      August 7, 2014 at 12:06 am

      😀

  • Reply
    Megan
    August 7, 2014 at 8:35 am

    Wonderful post.
    7) Yes. Oh how I love French supermarkets.
    14) You should never eat anything bigger than your head. Golden rule.
    15) He’s hilarious.
    24) Absolutely. And it changes the way you see the world.
    28) I’m trying to remember this more.

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      August 7, 2014 at 8:44 am

      LOVE these responses 😉

  • Reply
    Tamara (Globe Guide)
    August 8, 2014 at 6:50 am

    Cute list! Though I disagree with you on the gaining weight in Italy thing: we ended up walking so much that we were shedding pounds! Who knew you could drink wine, eat pizza and still fit into your pants?!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      August 8, 2014 at 6:53 am

      Ah so that’s where I went wrong! Should have done more walking, much more walking!

  • Reply
    Amy
    August 8, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Great use of the word ‘podgy’. I must just be a tub-lord, but I didn’t think the food portions in NYC were that big!

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      August 8, 2014 at 11:52 pm

      Haha to be honest we were on the hunt for generous portion serving diners and delis – I guess it depends where you eat 🙂

  • Reply
    Adrienne @ AdrienneAway
    August 18, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Cool list. #7 about French markets is very true, as is #14 about American serving sizes (I’m American) 🙂

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      August 18, 2014 at 11:16 pm

      Haha I’d be thoroughly disappointed if it was anything different 😉

  • Reply
    Rafael Stevens
    January 2, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Hey Jayne Gorman, i loved your article so much. “Meals in the States are generally larger than your head”?. This is funny.

    • Reply
      Jayne Gorman
      January 4, 2015 at 10:58 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  • Reply
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