Naples, it was the city I knew I would love; I was so excited for the food and people and the dirty romance, I was bound to find nestled in the dark crevasses of the streets.
That did not happen.
I found Naples as a learning curve.
From the backpacker lifestyle of swimming pools and bucket cocktails to a harsh reality that hit you like a swarm of angry bees.
Here’s 5 lessons Naples taught me in one night about travel.
1. Appreciate all that travel has to offer.
My second night in Italy during my third week of backpacking across Europe I discovered that it’s legal for an Italian man to masturbate in public.
I kid you not.
To be honest it was an overall hilarious experience, where I came to understand that travel is about embracing the situation – that the adventure lays within learning and growing from the experience – good or bad.
2. Don’t trust the star rating systems
At the very least use your developing smarts to make the call. Remember that each country has a different law or procedure when issuing their star ratings. This can mean that a hotel can simply have a pool or a gym and they will automatically receive 4 stars, once again this depends all on the country. But is the pool clean? Is the gym functional? The hotel in Naples served breakfast but it was stale bread and jam served with watered down juice and cold coffee.
And that brings me to number three.
3. Do your research.
If I had just taken a moment to acknowledge the weight of all the negative reviews about the hotel I stayed in Naples I wouldn’t have been so surprised at 4am covered in bed bug bites.
That being said the Internet isn’t always helpful in decision making but rather spoils our minds with choices in an information overload. Always be pre-cautious with the information your receiving and learn to investigate further.
4. Don’t stay in city centres.
This might just be a personal preference that’s simply appealing to my introverted side but I quickly discovered that being in the centre of the hustle and bustle, bright lights extravaganza can be exhausting both mentally and financially.
Popular cities are places we tend to know about even before dubbing oneself as an adventurer or wanderluster, yet from these preconceived ideas we slowly develop expectations. Travel teaches you the cruel realities of expectations and disappointment.
The key is not to romanticize about travel or certain places but actually go there and experience it for yourself. Google images ain’t got shit compared to the real deal.
5. In food we trust.
Wherever you are, for whatever reason you are doing there; food is the marvelous milestone of the day. And it’s one of those rare things in life where more often than not the reality exceeds expectations.