Over the past few weeks I have been seeing a ton of quotes talking about how travel is the best education you can get. To be honest, I totally agree with that statement. I really can’t begin to tell you how much I’ve learned about myself, cultures, people and all sorts of other things from traveling. I truly believe that my life as a world traveler has changed me in a totally positive way. So, I decided to start a series about my traveling adventures. I hope that it inspires you to travel as well, because I truly believe to be well rounded people we need to see and experience as many cultures and people as we can. Our world is global after all, and I do believe we must learn to relate to one another.
For those of you who don’t know, I used to be cabin crew for Emirates airlines. I feel so fortunate for that job, because I was able to travel to so many places I had always dreamed about. One of those places was Taipei, Taiwan. Usually, as crew we only had less than 24 hours to experience a country, which doesn’t seem like a lot. People always asked me if I was able to see things in just 24 hours. The answer I gave them—which I’m sure many other crew would agree them—was yes, because as crew you learn to totally maximize your layover time. I used to quickly shower and leave my hotel to see as much as I possibly could. Of course I was jet lagged most of the time, but that’s why there is coffee 🙂
I didn’t know what to expect in Taipei, so I basically just decided to play everything by ear. I quickly found out that there were amazing night markets in Taiwan that offered a great shopping experience, and also tons of street food. I was totally ready to check things out. Here are some of the things I learned while in Taipei:
It isn’t just about shopping in Taipei: the street food is amazing
Wow. That is really the feeling I had when I first stumbled upon the food carts at the night markets in Taipei. There are plenty of food carts and food stands where you can eat your heart out. I honestly think I could have just stayed eating the entire time I was in Taipei. I sampled a bunch of different things from fried to fresh.
I ate a lot of things I am not really sure what they exactly were, but I can tell you that they were super tasty. That’s always the best thing to do when in a country where you can’t speak the language. Look at something that looks appetizing, and just point at it.
What was my favorite thing I ate? Definitely something called deep fried milk. Sounds strange, right? Picture little balls of custard that are battered in flour mixture and then fried. They are absolutely delicious! The outside is a little crunchy, and the inside is sweet and creamy. I can’t wait to go back and get them again!
Shopping in Taipei is fun, but the clothes weren’t designed for someone like me
Definitely not. I always loved to go shopping in different cities instead of going to the same chain stores that are located all over the world. In most of the night market stalls I was not able to try on clothes; however, in one of them I could try on a dress I had my eye on. I’m not super tall, but I guess I am taller than the average Taiwanese woman. I also realize that my hips are way larger as well.
The dress I tried on was barely long enough to be a shirt! It hugged my hips in such an uncomfortable way that I was nervous I would rip the dress trying to take it off. Obviously I decided against buying that dress. I looked at several other stores, only to realize, I was just not going to be very lucky to buy a lot of clothes in Taipei.
Some of the best jewelry you can find is in Taipei
Especially at this one amazing little stall called Musi Accessories located at the Shida night market. Contrary to clothes, I found some super awesome jewelry in Taipei. I am a huge fan of unique pieces of costume jewelry and always have my eye out for cool things. It’s not usually easy to find an awesome piece of jewelry for a decent price. But, at Musi Accessories I found some of my absolutely favorite necklaces there! If you ever go shopping in Taipei and are looking for a cool place for accessories you have got to check out this place 🙂 I totally wish I bought more!
The best experiences are the ones you don’t plan
This is something I’m going to mention over and over again. I used to be such a nervous traveler. I was always thinking about all the details and trying to figure out exactly where to go when. I was also so consumed with the feeling of being in a new place, that often times I never really enjoyed the moment I was in while traveling. I was thinking about all the places I needed to see, or focused on feeling a bit out of my element.
In my opinion, it’s super crucial to let those feelings go when you are traveling. My two trips to Taipei were amazing, because I didn’t plan anything. I basically just went with the flow of things. Sure, I planned on going to the night market but that was basically it. The night markets are like a maze, and you meander through bit by bit and end up somewhere new with every right or left turn you make. It was such an awesome experience!
I hope I can go back someday
I would go back to Taipei in a heartbeat. I seriously loved the vibe of the city, and how I felt when I was there. That’s something I love so much about traveling and not knowing that much about the place. I try not to do extensive research before I head to a new country now. I of course look up some information, but I would rather experience the country when I get there and see what happens.
That’s what I love so much about traveling, because you just don’t know what will happen and what you will discover along the way. I really do believe travel is essential to the development of our lives. It’s ok if you can’t get as far away as Taipei or another far away city. Just getting out of your comfort zone will do the trick! It’s all about learning, experiencing, and growing. Happy exploring 🙂