I’ve spent over 1,000 days traveling and living abroad, and while some of those days I feel equipped to run a nation, and other times, I’m a mere breakdown away from resorting to pampers, the happy medium in there reminds me that the growth has been incredible over time.
And for those who are about to embark on long-term travel for the first time, I hope this post can help give you some insight as to what there is to know about the crazy world of travel.
1. Become a “YES” gal. They make for the best stories.
I met a guy Dace, from San Francisco, while traveling in Jordan, and when we were swapping stories, he reminded me of the importance of being a “yes” man. And how saying “yes” to every offer and conversation led to one of the most unforgettable days he’s ever had while traveling. And I couldn’t agree more.
Invited for lunch by customs officers at the border in Cyprus? I said YES.
Climb a dangerously steep, massive rock to watch the sunset in Petra? I said YES.
Explore a new city with someone you know from Instagram? ALWAYS SAY YES.
2. Learn to let the universe play its course.
Missed your flight? It happens! Stay an extra day and do something ridiculous and unforgettable. Get super lost? Good news! There’s something everywhere you turn, so you’re never technically “lost”, just completely opposite of where you initially intended to go. The hot guy you met has just left? No worries! He probably has
herpes a girlfriend and was looking for an excuse to cheat on her. Dodged a bullet there, soldier. Chat it up with the other guy who’s been eyeing you instead.
Whether it’s patience, resourcefulness, or destiny that the universe is trying to show and teach you, allow it to do its job. If everything always went as planned, we’d all be billionaires, right?
3. Surround yourself with like-minded travelers.
As someone who spends her days constantly pouring inspiration, motivation, and empowering words into the lives of others, you get to a point where you exhaust all your energy and need to be refueled by the words and inspiration of like-minded people. If you drain your mind of all the hope and encouragement you constantly give others, then there’s nothing left for you. Seek mentorship and surround yourself with those who fan your flames, not extinguish them.
4. Don’t ignore your anxiety/stress/depression.
Sveti Stefan, Montenegro
Life happens to everyone, and it’s important to look after your mental health just as much as your physical health. Don’t ignore your depression if/when it comes. Sometimes, there will be no cause of it. Sometimes, you won’t know who to talk to. Sometimes, you won’t want anyone to talk to. But be sure to do something that’s actively combatting or fighting it. You are not above getting help for anything you go through just because your life is coveted or romanticized by others.
5. Know your privilege and don’t abuse it.
Whether it’s your privilege of traveling without visas based on your nationality, your privilege of not getting randomly stopped and checked for papers, or even your privilege that allows you to afford this lifestyle.
Keep your privilege in check and don’t ever mistake it as an unwavering right.
6. Call your mom.
Check in with her as often as possible. Any way you can. Calls. Texts. Photos. Skype. Whatever. There is no such thing as over-calling the woman who brought you into the world that you’re currently exploring.
7. Document everything. In multiple ways.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Journal. Blog. Video. Photos. Letters. Postcards. Stamps. Anything! It’ll be SO valuable [for you] down the line. The one thing you’re promised is your nows and todays. So document them! Remember them in their purest form by writing and recording those moments you want to keep forever.
I wish I took more video of my travels back in 2012. Video is as raw as it gets and whether you do anything with it or not, you’ll have something to laugh and reminisce over years from now when Facebook reminds you that this cyber gold still exists.
8. Don’t confuse a magical moment for a magical guy.
Sunset in Budva, Montenegro
Ah, yes. The inevitable. Falling in love on the road. You’re sitting on a hilltop, overlooking the sea, fireworks lighting up the sky from some random local festival that gave you another excuse to drink, and you’re sharing that moment with a guy you met a few hours ago. All of a sudden, you’re planning out your exotic happily-ever-after when he’ll just turn out to be a miserably-never-again. You ignored the red flags, because when in Rome, right?! Wrong. Because you’re in Barcelona. But also, no. Lol.
Follow your heart, but take your brain and morals with you. I promise you, the two can coexist despite what our Jersey Shore generation wants you to believe.
[Tweet "Don't confuse a magical moment for a magical guy"]
9. Good people are everywhere.
The amount of strangers, locals, and guardian angels I've encountered on the road, are enough to remind me that 99.9% of the human race is innately good. We all love and hurt the same, and when we put our differences aside, we're so much more alike than we think. Before the world was separated by invisible borders and nationalist movements, we all existed as one, and the random acts of kindness I receive daily on the road, are great reminders of that.
10. Travel for more than just the fun of it.
Travel to learn. To challenge yourself. To earn trust. To make friends. To lose friends. To experience heartache. Poverty. Refugees. Corruption. Politics. Travel to change more than just your profile picture, because there is so much to gain from this invaluable experience.
[Tweet "Travel to learn. To challenge yourself. To earn trust."]
Originally posted on The Blog Abroad.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
If you’ve ever wondered what type of mindset it takes to reach icon status like Oprah Winfrey, it’s probably best to start by knowing which one she’s managed to avoid over her long-standing career.
And let’s just say imposter syndrome didn’t make the cut.
While promoting her new book, Build the Life You Want: The Art and Science of Getting Happier, with her co-author Arthur C. Brooks, Oprah shared in an interview with People that when it comes to imposter syndrome, it’s one emotion she hasn’t experienced.
"I don't have any of that imposter feelings that so many people have," she says. "I didn't even understand it, I had to look it up."
According to the acclaimed talk-show host and media mogul, she attributes this to her early life experiences, specifically the impact of her father's influence as a child. "I remember as a young girl being a strong orator in the national competition for speaking and winning the local championships, then the state championships. And then placing, I think it was No. 3 or something, in the nationals," Winfrey shares.
"And I remember after every contest, the families whose kids were just in the contest were going to celebrate and their families were all excited. My father's thing was, 'Get your coat.'"
She continues, "I learned, in all these years, every exciting thing that would happen to me it was always, that's good, get your coat. Get your coat. I don't know if that was ingrained in my personality or I just learned that nobody's going to be excited about it, so you might as well just get your coat and go. I don't have high highs and I don't have low lows. Which is a good thing, because no matter what I'm going through, I know I'm going to come out of it and be okay."
Impostor syndrome, also known as impostor phenomenon, is a psychological perspective of persistent self-doubt and the feeling of being a fraud despite evidence of one's competence, skills, or accomplishments. People experiencing imposter syndrome often believe that their success is due to luck or external factors rather than their own abilities and fear that others will eventually discover that they are not as capable or knowledgeable as they appear to be.
With over 40 years of accolades and history-making impact, it’s clear that Winfrey doesn’t shy away from the fact that her success is due to her hard work and diligence, with everything in her life being that of what she earned — which she finds deep value in: “the ability to live in the space of true appreciation for a life, not just well lived, but well-earned."
From coming from the lineage of an enslaved great-grandfather who earned 80 acres of land in exchange for labor, to becoming the first Black woman billionaire in the world without the foundation of generational wealth, Winfrey beams proudly at her ability to shift her and her family’s legacy for the better.
"I didn't have a grandfather, a great-grandfather who could give me land. But now...I am able to have my own and to know that I work for it. And it wasn't a husband that did it. It wasn't a brother or an uncle, or whatever did it, but I did it," Winfrey says.
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Featured image by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images