“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life” Samuel Johnson


I am tired of life. Apparently.

Tips on traveling through Europe like a sophisticated adult; American:

1. Learn the language but definitely never use it or attempt to understand nuances of dialect. When someone speaks to you in Spanish, it is a great idea to respond to them in Italian, even though you understand Italian even less than Spanish; and you understand neither at a rapid pace. If someone starts speaking Italian back to you, simply panic and run into the nearest bathroom until they go away.

2. Always assume that no one except you and your friends understand English and say charming things like “I want to take him home for a souvenir” very loudly on trains. If you still don’t feel understood, it’s fine to point directly at people while saying things like “That one, there”. Those looks you are getting from fellow travelers are totally normal. In Europe, casual sexism is sweet.

3. Speculate wildly and loudly about the sexuality of gorgeous men walking past you. Again, this is a compliment and will be appreciated by all.

4. In Spain, wonder loudly about why there are no Mexican restaurants anywhere. Speak longingly of El Torito to actual Spanish people, they really like it.

5. In London hotels, when you find yourself entirely surrounded by Americans for the first time in a week, stop talking altogether so as not to identify yourself. The Converse tennis shoes, Gap jeans, and two iPhones you have will absolutely scream “Citizen of the World.”

6. While shopping, make an extra effort to not understand foreign currency. Shopkeepers find it adorable when you cannot figure out the difference between a Pound, a Euro, and the Canadian dollar you have no recollection of acquiring but is nonetheless in your change purse. In this situation, it’s easiest to just hand the person all the change and let them sort it out. It holds up the line and they probably steal from you, but you deserve it.

7. If you stay at a hotel in the English countryside, absolutely refer to Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte repeatedly, as you are probably introducing the locals to some nice new authors they have never heard of. You are definitely the first person to make this comparison, don’t be daunted by looks of pity.

8. Keep trying to tip people who do things like bring you food and drinks, even when there is clearly a service charge on your bill. This makes everyone very comfortable.

9. If you are leaving home for two weeks, do not pack any item of clothing that you even remotely care about, because you will hate all of it by the time you get home. Also, you will leave at least one sweater on a Barcelona bus and one shoe in a London hotel anyway.

You are very welcome.


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