1) That the world really is a pretty small place.
A friend of mine hooked up with a guy in Rome only to discover later on that they shared a mutual friend on Facebook, who just happened to be the guy that she was seeing on her study abroad scheme on the other side of the world.
Once when I was in Iceland I got chatting to a lady on my bus, only to find out that she came from my hometown, she worked at the local hospital and her kids attended my school.
You could be in a bar, out for dinner, or even on a cultural excursion… There are so many unexpected links you can have with strangers…
2) Sometimes enjoying someone else’s experience can be just as great as enjoying your own.
I met an Australian guy when I was living in Italy who was 22 – the day was all fun and games and fuelled with alcohol until he told me that he’d gone his entire life without having ever seen snow. This guy had NEVER seen snow. Say what?
So anyway, after he left Italy we kept in touch via Facebook, mostly liking each others posts and leaving the odd insulting comment (said with love of course). And then one dull morning in the sticks of Italy I turned on my computer, made myself a coffee and went about the important things like checking my news feed to start my day. And then there it was right before my eyes… the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. He’d only gone and bloody found snow hadn’t he?!
I don’t think I’d ever been so happy for someones travel experience until that moment.
3) That I really, really love a good old dance in the rain.
4) That as much as I love the idea of it, I just don’t fare very well camping.
5) That although it may be incredibly Un-British of me, but I’m even worse at queuing.
6) That as much as you want to trust everyone, sometimes people really suck and will hurt you – no matter who or where you are.
This has been one of the hardest lessons for me to learn this year. As a whole, I’m often incredibly naive and like to automatically see the best in everyone. I have learnt though that there are some really bad people out there, so keep your eyes open, keep your wits about you and generally go with your instinct. Be safe out there, you only get one shot.
7) Nothing makes strangers friends quicker than a communal shot… or four.
8) There really is no place quite like home.
9) Travel romances somehow seem a lot more romantic and exciting than any other romances.
10) That I am destined to be called ‘Lazy’ in far too many countries than I care for because they can’t pronounce ‘Lizzie’.
11) That American’s pronounce ‘Capri sun’ differently to us Brits.
12) And that some countries are deprived from Kinder eggs.
13) That I bloody love the NHS.
Free healthcare is something we so easily take for granted at times because we have had it for our entire lives. But sitting in Venice one day chatting with an older American couple who were completely blown away by the whole idea of the NHS has really put it into perspective for me just how lucky we are. May we forever be healthy – but in the case that we’re not we know we don’t have to give up everything we own in order to get help.
14) That languages are not something to take for granted, and if you can learn one, then do.
15) That diving is the best thing in the world.
This is something that I already knew that I loved doing, but after 2 years or so without diving I finally went again in Egypt at the end of 2014. The second I was underwater I felt welcomed back to this magic land that not everyone gets to see.
16) And that diving is SO MUCH warmer outside of England.
Seriously, how did I cope all of those dives?!
17) As small as the world can feel, it’s also huge. So, so huge.
18) You can share something with someone long after they have gone.
When my best friend was alive we used to always say that we wanted to find somewhere that we could go quad biking regularly after we did it at a year 6 adventure camp. This was something that we never did together again after that, and was always a regret that I had. But the end of 2014 found me quad biking through a desert in Egypt, and that’s something I’m sure he shared with me.
19) That friends, family and loved ones are everything and we shouldn’t take them for granted.
20) Keeping a journal isn’t as nerdy as it feels.
21) Calling someone a liar in Italian is one of my favourite/ one of the only things that I know how to say.
21) Gelato is acceptable at any time of day.
22) And mostly that dreams don’t have to stay in your head. If you want something enough you can go right ahead and get it. You just have to go for it.
I can’t wait to see where 2015 takes me. What have you learnt from 2014?