Some of us travel to find a reprieve from our daily grind, a little relaxation or just some peace and quiet, but maybe some of us travel because the world is too fascinating to stay in one spot. I definitely believe I have wanderlust because I’m constantly baffled by how beautiful and full of culture our world is and I want to learn about everything. One of my favorite things about taking that cruise to Bermuda was being tossed into a wave-riding, melting pot of people, every single one of them with an interesting story. It’s hard not to learn some odd and intriguing things when you’re out and about, so here are 10 things I learned (so far) while traveling.
1. There are no chain restaurants in Breckenridge, CO
The small town is tucked away in the mountains and with little access to any food chains. If you’re having a hankering for Wendy’s its about a 20 – 30 minute drive to Fresco, CO, but other than that there is not much of them around. What is nice about this fact is that most of the restaurants you do go to are mom and pop shops and small business owners. I think it adds to the essence of the town; it’s exactly what I picture when I think of Santa’s Village, but without elves.
2. Not all of Texas is flat desert land
I know when most people think of Texas a scene of desert and cactus comes to mind, much like the stereotypical movie scene. However, Texas has some beautiful mountains in the far west side of the state. They are gorgeous and home to McDonald Observatory since the location is so far from anything its perfectly dark at night.
3. You can get tipsy for free on the main strip in Gatlinburg, TN
I guess this one depends on your tolerance, but there are a fair amount of places that offer free samples of their liquor on the strip (wine, whiskey and moonshine). Our favorite place by far was Old Smoky’s Tennessee Moonshine. They offered a thimble size sample of each flavor they make as well as some of their flavors mixed together. All in all I think it was 12 thimble sized shots and it added up pretty fast.
4. It is incredibly hard (and expensive) to buy land in Bermuda if you’re not a native.
In Bermuda it is extremely expensive to buy land if you’re not a native and it’s by design. The government doesn’t want non-natives buying up all the land so they made is expensive to buy anything and in most cases people end up renting. The standard price for a native to purchase a home is $3 million. Non-natives also aren’t allowed to own more than 2,000 sq. ft. of land. It’s all to make sure the native Bermudians have a home.
5. On the subject of Bermuda, they also have a sea turtle sanctuary.
We took a tour on a boat around the island and part of this tour took us through the sea turtle sanctuary. I, for one, am an animal lover of all kinds and to learn that they were making an attempt to save the sea turtles made me pretty happy. After all we are the reason they were dying out (who eats sea turtle anyway?). I only saw one for a split second, but it made me pretty happy!
6. You have to have something called a “beach tag” to get on to the beach at the Jersey Shore.
Growing up in the midwest, we visited the beaches in Chicago and Michigan quite regularly. It was always common to pay for parking, but never to get on to the beach. So when I found out that in New Jersey I had to not only pay for parking near the beach, but pay to get on it as well, I was a little upset.
7. The PA Turnpike has some outstanding rest stops.
We all know how horrible it is getting to a rest stop and a feeling of uneasiness washes over you. Its dirty, dark and creepy, some of the stalls are broken or won’t close, the toilets don’t flush and it smells. However, on the Pennsylvania Turnpike most of the rest stops seem new and clean. There are rows and rows of stalls so there is literally never a wait for the bathroom and they almost all have every kind of food you would want on the road (STARBUCKS!!!!). They are some nice rest stops you can definitely feel safe walking into, even at night.
8. Speaking of rest stops, if you’re in a new state or on a road trip check out the map section at the rest stop.
I think every time as a child driving to our lake house we would stop at the same rest stop and grab a map (back in those days none of us had smartphones). In doing so, my mom would find some local event happening for us to check out. It was a great way to gather a lot of “data” about where we were going. It came in total handy when we stopped in Kentucky and found the brochure for Woodford Reserve’s distillery. We realized it was only a short jog off the route to the Smoky Mountains, so we decided to stop. It was the most beautiful distillery I’ve ever seen, tucked in the rolling hills of blue grass country. It’s also why Woodford is my go to bourbon.
9. If you order a Philly Cheese Steak in Philly, you have to say it right
Believe it or not, there is a proper way to order that infamous cheesesteak sandwich in Philly. There are some variations depending on the toppings, but there are certainly two phrases to remember. You either want “whiz wid” or “whiz widdout” or you can substitute the whiz for provolone. These two phrases mean you want cheese with onions or cheese without onions. If you find yourself in the heart of south Philly, heading over to Geno’s Steaks, remember the saying or you might catch some flack from the window attendant. Also, don’t forget to bring cash with as they don’t accept credit or debit and they will sure let you have it for tying!
10. Iceland is the New Zealand of the northern hemisphere.
Iceland is home to a beautiful landscape of green which includes a lot of sheep, volcanoes, icebergs and waterfalls! Seriously there is so much to see on that little island. Anytime of year is the best time to visit (even though its cold) and it’s totally a foodie hot spot. If we showed you a photo of Iceland next to New Zealand it would be hard to tell the difference, except in Iceland you might catch a glimpse of the aurora borealis.
Getting out on the road(or sea or air) is probably the best way to learn about the world because it will teach you things you’re not going to learn in a book or on the internet, so get out there people! It’s a wonderful world waiting to teach you all about it!