Don’t Get Hangry When You Travel

When you are traveling, you are often very busy, on a tight schedule, or lacking access to common conveniences such as restaurants or food stalls. Add a lack of food to the stress of being in a strange country or city can lead to the condition known as “hangry”, which is anger or irritation caused by not having enough to eat. It has probably happened to all of us at one time or another and now we can often see it starting in one another when we start to get short with each other. Being hangry while you are traveling can cause you to not enjoy the experience as much as you might otherwise have enjoyed it, so it is definitely something to be avoided if possible.

Fountain in Park
Eiffel Tower and Autumn Leaves

One of our very first trips abroad was to Paris and we were definitely tourists and not travelers at the time. As is typical for overseas flights, we flew late in the afternoon and overnight to arrive first thing in the morning at the Charles De Gaulle airport. Not wanting to lose any time during our trip, we did what we always do, which is to immediately acclimate to the local time and start our day even though we’d been up most of the night. It happened to be at a time when there was a transportation strike, so we had to walk to all of the sights that we wanted to see that day.

Paris Neighborhood
Park in Paris
Park in Paris

We made the most of the day, had a light lunch, and enjoyed walking along the Seine, seeing the Eiffel Tower, and just walking the streets of Paris. As the afternoon came to end, we decided to head back towards our hotel on the Left Bank to find a restaurant for dinner. This was our first trip to Paris and we didn’t know at the time that most restaurants don’t open until at least 7pm for dinner and most don’t open until even later. To make matters worse, we found ourselves lost as we tried to make our way back to the hotel. The net result was that we started snapping at each other and yes we were getting hangry. Eventually we ate dinner and we were back to holding hands and enjoying one of the most romantic cities in the world.

Notre Dame in Paris
Looking Down the Seine River from the Eiffel Tower

These days we always make sure to carry a power bar or snack with us as there have been many times where we don’t have access to a meal. Whether in the jungle or driving through remote areas, having something with you at all times is always a good idea. That doesn’t mean that we never get hangry anymore, but we certainly try to avoid it as it can ruin part of your day. Have you ever gotten hangry during your travels?

Eiffel Tower in Autumn
View from the Eiffel Tower
The Streets that We Walked in Paris

Lessons to Make You a Better Traveler

We have been fortunate to have had many great mentors throughout our lives who have imparted words of wisdom to us that have molded our thoughts and actions.  Most of the best advice that we’ve received apply to all parts of our lives, whether with family, work, or traveling.  Usually they are amazingly simple and yet very powerful when applied consistently.  Hopefully you’ll find them to be as useful over time as we have found them to be.

  1. Treat others as you want to be treated (the golden rule) – Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we treated EVERYONE that we met in the same manner that we hope and expect to be treated.  Sure, we learned this rule as children, but it is probably the most important piece of advice that hopefully all people can learn.  Whenever we travel someplace, anyplace, we want to learn about the customs and traditions of the locals.  We respect their religions, beliefs, and social expectations.  Having an understanding and respect does not mean that you have agree with or do things that conflict with your own personal beliefs, but you must have empathy and understand where they are coming from.  You would be surprised how much better your experience will be if you are friendly and honestly express your desire to understand the culture of the place that you are visiting.

    Talking to an Old Woman in Bolivia
    Talking to an Old Woman in Bolivia
  2. Make decisions quickly and act upon them – This doesn’t mean that you don’t do your due diligence and get as many facts as possible before making a decision, but too often people become paralyzed by fear of making a mistake or spend so much time thinking about the decision that the opportunity passes them by.  We have a lot of military in our family and the motto for an officer on the battlefield is that the only bad decision is no decision, this is surprisingly true of life in general.  Will this lead to some mistakes?  Sure, but you don’t grow and learn without making a few mistakes.  More often than not, just deciding to go someplace and making it happen has led to some of our best experiences.  If you wait for all of the stars to align and the moment to be perfect, you’re likely to miss out on some of the best experiences of your life.

    Our First Trip to Europe was Planned in a Few Weeks
    Our First Trip to Europe was Planned in a Few Weeks
  3. Never stop learning – Learning is growth and the moment that you stop learning new and interesting things is the moment that you stop truly living.  Obviously it is hard to go through life and not continue to learn new things, but don’t just learn through osmosis, actively seek out and find new things to learn that might interest you.  Pick a country that you’ve never heard about and learn as much as you can and then go visit there.  Understand the history of a place, what has influenced its culture, the leaders of the past and the regional forces that shape their current beliefs and society.  Learn as much of the language as possible and use it when you visit.

    We've Learned to be Better Travelers
    We’ve Learned to be Better Travelers
  4. Strive for continuous improvement – None of us are perfect and those people who think that they are should be avoided like the plague.  In all aspects of life, we periodically seriously reflect on our current state and consider how we can improve in our relationships, work positions, health (mental and physical), as well as our travel goals and expectations.  Even during our travels, we will ask ourselves if we’re seeing the most relevant and interesting sights that mean the most to us or are we just following a list from a guidebook?  Are we talking to the locals and getting the best advice on places to see and food to eat?  We’ll come home from a trip and talk about our experiences and what things we could have done better and use that information on our next trip.

    Lunch at a Moroccan Restaurant
    Lunch at a Moroccan Restaurant
  5. Step out of your comfort zone – It is easy to get complacent and accept the normal routine, whether at work or in your personal life, but some of the most rewarding opportunities come from pushing your limits.  That might mean doing an activity that makes you uncomfortable, like zip-lining, parachuting, or just spending the night in a forest.  We’re not suggesting that you pursue dangerous activities, but just that you try something that perhaps you’ve never previously considered.  It might be going to a country that makes you uncomfortable, but it could be as simple as trying food that you’ve never heard of.  Growth comes from new experiences that most likely reset your image of what you’re capable of doing or achieving.

    India Definitely Stretched Our Bounderies
    India Definitely Stretched Our Boundaries

There isn’t anything earth shattering here, just simple concepts that, when followed consistently, will improve your life and our case, our travels as well.

November is One of Our Favorite Travel Months

We have taken the opportunity to travel many times during the month of November. We choose November for several reasons, including the fact that the weather is usually mild, the scenery in the northern hemisphere can be quite stunning, and it is often considered to be a “bumper” month when there are less travelers. It is also a time when we usually take a couple of weeks to travel, which allows us to see a little more of the places that we’re visiting. Here are some of our favorite memories of traveling during the month of November.

Downtown Stratford-upon-Avon
Eiffel Tower in Autumn

Paris, London, and Stratford-upon-Avon – On our first trip to Europe, we flew into Paris where we spent several days, then took the Chunnel to London. After a few days in London, we took a train to Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick before heading to Manchester for a couple of days. Finally, it was back to London to catch our flight home. We had an absolutely wonderful time, but we have learned a lot more about how to travel since that trip.

Seville Cathedral
Fortress Walls at Alhambra in Granada, Spain

Southern Spain – Spending two weeks in Southern Spain was another amazing experience where we fully immersed ourselves into the country and the culture. We spent time in Granada, Seville, and Gibraltar, but perhaps our tour of Morocco was a highlight of the trip. We found time to relax as well as explore, making it a perfect vacation as well as travel experience.

Sunset in Cabo San Lucas
The Arch at Cabo San Lucas in Mexico

Cabo San Lucas in Mexico – We have been to Cabo more than once during November as the weather starts getting cold in Colorado at that time of year. Spending time at the beach is always a welcome diversion and we love walking along the beach, enjoying restaurants at the marina, and just sitting by the pool.

Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna
Cologne, Germany

Germany and Austria – During our time in Frankfurt, we had just gotten fully acclimated and were taking trips every weekend. During the month of November, we visited Cologne, Hochheim, Würzburg, and also took a train to Vienna, Austria. Obviously, it is so much easier to travel when based directly in Europe as opposed to having to take a flight from the United States.

Colorful Dancers in Panama City
Views of Panama City

Panama City, Panama – We saw so many animals during our trip to Panama that was certainly a unique experience. Considering that it can be rainy in Panama at that time of year, we were fortunate enough to have good weather as we took tours that took us from coast to coast. We would definitely consider returning to see more of this fascinating country.

Walking the Side Streets of Old Town Alexandria
Cobblestone Streets

Old Town Alexandria in Virginia – You don’t have to leave the country to see interesting places and spending time in Old Town Alexandria was certainly a nice place to get away. Not only is it historic and beautiful, especially in autumn, but it also reminded us of growing up on the east coast of the United States.

Two Reclining Buddhas in Laos (They are Farther Apart then It Looks)
Halong Bay in Vietnam

Vietnam and Laos – Our most recent excursion in the month of November was to spend two weeks in Hanoi where we were able to see so many wonderful places. From a few days in Vientiane, Laos or taking a cruise in Halong Bay, the trip was certainly one of the best that we have enjoyed. It was somewhat of a spontaneous decision to visit Vietnam and the people that we met there hold a special place in our hearts.