10 things I have been wrong about in travel
It might not be the done thing on the internet, but I can admit when I'm wrong. I can admit when I've changed my mind about something, when I've once come out in support of a topic and then later had a rethink.
When you've been writing opinionated blogs for about eight years there are bound to be a few things you look back on and slightly regret. These are a few of things that I've definitely changed my mind on.
I stand by my distrust of dedicated travel wear - however, I've recently come to discover the use of that most ugly of garments: the zip-off pants. Travelling light? Need shorts during the day but long pants at night? Going hiking when the days start cold but then warm up? Zip-off pants are what you need.
As a hardcore backpacker I used to thumb my nose at any luggage with wheels, reasoning that if you couldn't throw it on your back and lug it over dodgy terrain then it wasn't worth having. But then I discovered hybrids - wheelie luggage with zip-hidden straps - and I've never looked back.
I still couldn't justify the amount of money you have to spend on a business class flight (nor could I ever afford it). However, since experiencing the amazingness of the pointy end of an Emirates A380 (including a chauffeur-driven lift to the airport and a stand-up bar on the plane), I've come to think that if you have the spare frequent flyer points, they're worth sacrificing for the upgrade.
Like any independent traveller, I've grimaced occasionally at the thought of sharing my big adventure with 30 random friends. However, as pointed out a few weeks ago, there are definitely times when going on tour is the best way to travel.
Previously, my idea of hell: a beachy place where you're basically locked in and forced to eat and drink and bathe with everyone else who's paid for the privilege. Then, however, I travelled with a big group of friends to stay at an all-inclusive place in Mexico, and suddenly it all made sense. Nowhere to be, no money to spend. You just relax and have fun.
It's still something of a nightmare when every single couple you know insists on getting married somewhere exotic and "special", but the truth about the destination weddings I've been to is that they're easily worth the costs involved. After all, even with the nuptials aside, it's a holiday somewhere beautiful with all of your mates. How can you go wrong?
During the early years of my travel career I had a fear of the old squat toilet, mainly because I had so much trouble balancing on the things. But, as they say, practice makes perfect, and with extra dexterity comes extra confidence. Squats? No worries.
I once, mistakenly, included Greek food on a list of the world's unhealthiest cuisines. I take that back. Sorry, Greece.
A fair few times I've lauded the surprising greatness of food in the USA, from Whole Foods superstores to authentic taco stands. However, I've found recently that once you stray from the multicultural cities, food in the US tends to really suck. Unless you love burgers and fries, that is.
Whoa whoa whoa - not the traditional cruises. Each to their own and all, but I still can't picture myself about the casino-ridden funship monstrosities that seem so popular right now. What I have come around to is adventure cruising, the kind of ship that will take you to Antarctica, or the Galapagos. That's the kind of cruising I can support.
What have you changed your mind about over your years of travelling?