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Hey From the UK: Notes on Travel

October 24, 2014
by CEA MOJO

I have travelled a fair amount in my young life. When friends and family find out that I am leaving, we go through the normal "wheres" and "whens." Never failing, they always ask, “have you seen the movie 'Taken' with Liam Neeson?” “Yes I have, it is scary” is always my response when I am actually thinking, Yes I have and I am not as idiotic as that girl. Some advice is warranted, though. Here are the best traveling tips that I have gotten or learned:

1. Research. No matter where you are going: high context/low context cultures, you always need to know what is a faux pas. In France, rubbing your nose accounts for strange looks; however, I always get strange looks in France because I apparently look very American. In London, it is always good to know that in the non-touristy areas, they walk on the left side of the road, as they drive on the left side of the road. To elaborate on this, they also walk very fast, so it is always a good idea to walk with purpose and poise. Also, doing research on the place and locations is a good idea. Have an idea on the top places you want to visit so you have a good idea of the areas.

2. You NEVER need as much as you think you need. By some circumstance, I was moving out of my studio apartment back into my parents’ house and moving countries at the same time. I ended up with some random items in my suitcase that I found when I officially unpacked in London. For example, you will probably not need a pair of binoculars or chopsticks. Also, fitting your life in a fifty-pound (22.6 kg) box is a lot harder than you think, so prioritize.

 Moving just two days before I left California
 
 Thanks to a good friend who helped me pack, this...
 
 .... Turned into this.

3.Your outfit on the plane is everything. While traveling for twenty-six hours straight, it is smart to employ layers. My outfit included my heaviest pair of shoes, comfiest pair of jeans, a t-shirt, a jumper and a scarf. The jumper is great for keeping warm on cold flights or using as a pillow and the scarf you can open and use as a blanket.

4. Learn the lingo. Even though I have moved to an English speaking country, there are some phrases that have taken me aback.  For example, “you alright?” is often asked as “how are you?’ When I first heard this, I was wondering why they were asking about my emotional health because in the States, we often ask if someone is alright after a mildly tragic event. “Cheers” is also an often spoken phrase, I like it a lot. Cheers is used for “thank you,” or let’s celebrate this moment! It is simple and reliable.

5. When you have free time, just get on the tube and go. At school here, I have fewer hours per class per week. I also cannot have a part-time job on my visa, so I have an unbelievable amount of free time. I have Wednesdays and Thursdays off, my friends do not, so I often find myself sitting in my room alone watching the city out of my window. Then I think to myself, what am I doing, I am in freaking London?! So I get up, walk down to Baker Street tube and ride. Last week I walked around Kensington and West End per my aunt’s suggestion.

 View at sunrise
 
 View at sunset

No matter how many tips I give you, there is nothing like actually experiencing the stress and excitement of traveling for yourself. My best trip for travel is this: TRAVEL.
 My life in a couple boxes....
 
 .... And a huge journey ahead.

Hanna Neitzke is the Fall 2014 CEA MOJO in London, England. She is currently a Senior at Humboldt State University.

Read more about our CEA MOJO Bloggers & Photographers.
 
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