travel // stepping outside of your box

photo by Dorien Scheltens

there is something about traveling that makes you a tad bit crazy. you will find yourself paying double the amount for a cup of coffee than you would at home or trying a local food you have never eaten before or buying souvenir mugs or jumping in frozen Norwegian lakes. all justified by saying “well, when in (fill in the blank!).” i am not saying it is a bad thing. i have done all these things while on vacation. in fact, i am saying it is good sometimes. i makes us break out of our shell and try new things. maybe i would not jump in a frozen colorado lake after dinner but there is something so magical about the sun still being up after dinner and swimming in NORWAY!!


1. eat what the locals eat: 
one of the best ways to experience a new culture and break out of your shell is to eat what the locals eat! you might not like everything you try, heck, you might not like anything but you will never know until you try! brown cheese, black licorice, reindeer stew, horse sausage – i tried it all and the only thing i didn’t like was the licorice (because really who does?!). this is also something you can take part in while traveling within the States – if you are in Maine, try lobster. or if you are in Oregon, try fresh fish. or if you are in the Louisiana, try some gumbo!

2. go where locals go:
it is so fun to do the touristy thing but what really makes you step outside your box is when you do things that locals do. maybe you go to a church service that is not in english. maybe you go to the local bakery and not the hotel lobby for breakfast one day. maybe you go to “the beach” where all the locals enjoy as much sun as they can get because they only get a couple hours during the winter. find some locals and talk to them – see what they like to do. you are in luck if you go visit someone who actually lives there because they can take you around.

3. bring spending/ blow money:
every vacation i go on i budget everything. i wish i had thousands of dollars to have all my dream vacations but i don’t. i save my money, plan ahead, and look for deals ( is a great resource!!). one thing that i ALWAYS put in the budget is spending money. when you are in New York you HAVE to go to a Broadway show! or when in Harry Potter world it is too exciting to buy overpriced butter beers with souvenir mugs! and i am so glad that when i was in London i paid the money to walk through Westminster Abbey, i spent the whole day there and i will never forget it. you want to be able to do fun things on vacation. things that you would not normally do back at home (like pay $7 for a latte, but when in Norway!)

4. don’t plan every moment:
i am a planner so i do plan my trips. i just feel better knowing where i am going to stay each night but even us planners need to let go a bit and let our new world take us for some adventures of our own. go on a walk around the neighborhood and explore. plan a day where you go into town but let your exploring lead your adventures – maybe you will spend hours at an adorable coffee shop or walk past a old church just about to start a service. maybe you meet people and they take you to their favorite lunch spot. leave room for adventures or you might miss out!

5. let your heart lead you:
this sounds slightly crazy but i mean it. my little heart is the only reason i went swimming after dinner in a crazy cold lake that in a couple months will be so frozen that cars will drive over it. my heart kept telling me “you’ll regret this if you don’t jump in” & “when else can you go swimming in norway?!” and so i listened and jumped in. it was cold. we only swam for 15- 30  minutes. but i will never forget it. your heart knows you best and is sometimes the only little push you need to get out of your over thinking mind. let go and make memories.

do you agree with this list?
what would you add to making the most of new places?!

Author: Elizabeth Mayberry

  • Love the post! The list is great. It looks like you had a great time in Norway!


  • this is awesome. eating and going where the locals do is so important!

  • I love traveling with you. Louisville, London, N. Ireland, Charelston, & Ashville. So wonderful.

  • LOVE this list. We're going on our honeymoon next month, and these are exactly the kind of things I was telling T we should be doing! I LOVE finding the little local hidden treasures rather than just all of the touristy things! You've worded it so well, much better than me explaining it to him. I'm going to make him read this list. You didn't even know it and you were working on my team! 😉

    also, your blog is adorable. I'm in love. so happy you stopped by and said hi on mine! <3 Happy Thursday!

  • Travelling really does create some of the best memories!

  • That's a fantastic list! My experience has been the same. The fresh fish in Oregon is the best I've ever had!

  • I've been going everywhere saying this, but now that fall is here and the days are shorting, I'm getting back into blog reading again! I remember your about me from before – glitter, great wedding pics, and gap paying you to work/supporting your love for their stuff!

    I'll be back more!

    I love these vacation tips! My favorite times in any city have ended up being when I did just that. Talk to people, take recommendations, SLOW DOWN, and just do whatever comes up next. No stress, no feeling like I'm missing out or forgetting something, tons of easy going memories, and excitement to go back just to simply do more exploring in a city where I already made some good memories! ,

  • these are great tips! i'm such an advocate about eating what the locals eat. when i went to germany, i made sure to try anything and everything! and oh my, you are so brave to jump in that water haha, i'm such a baby about cold water 😉 so glad you had a wonderful trip!

  • this is so great! i think that when traveling you definitely ned to push yourself to get out of your comfort zone. most times those are the best times

  • I love that you added this post to your link. Firstly, because I can't believe I didn't comment on it the first time around (my bad) and secondly, because I looove your tips and I also love that first photo of you(?). It's beautiful!

    But back to your tips. I so agree with what you said. I don't travel a whole lot but I agree with you on all of them and will definitely refer to them when I go on my next trip!

    Thanks for linking up! 🙂

    p.s. I think you might be a no-reply commenter via Blogger now. I've noticed that it happens to a lot of bloggers when they switch their Blogger profiles to their Google+ profiles.

  • yep 🙂 that is me! my friend took it after we got out of the water and i was pulling up my hair. i think these tips are good even for the littlest travels – like a weekend away!

    I just fixed the no repy… i just wish i could keep my google + … that is why i LOVE Discuss!

  • Well, it's beautiful, friend! That photo is seriously beautiful–as are you!

    And I get what you mean about no-reply. It's sooo annoying. I'm sure there are tutorials out there that fix it, I'm just not sure what/where it is. 🙂