What lessons have you picked up along the way? 
Lessons I learned from travel hosts


2. Saying “yes” is better than saying “no.”
I don’t draw. I have terrible hand-eye coordination. So even the simplest doodle will differ wildly from the picture in my mind’s eye. It’s a stressful experience that I tend to avoid. But when Matthew, our host in Scotland, invited us to join him during his favorite Tuesday night activity — a live figure drawing class at a bar in central Glasgow — I really couldn’t think of a good reason to say no.
Although at first I was overwhelmed, by the end of the evening I was able to produce a few not-awful sketches. I actually found the whole experience to be a bit meditative and quite enjoyable. Now I’m looking for something similar in my area.
Read more
What lessons have you picked up along the way? 
Lessons I learned from travel hosts

2. Saying “yes” is better than saying “no.”

I don’t draw. I have terrible hand-eye coordination. So even the simplest doodle will differ wildly from the picture in my mind’s eye. It’s a stressful experience that I tend to avoid. But when Matthew, our host in Scotland, invited us to join him during his favorite Tuesday night activity — a live figure drawing class at a bar in central Glasgow — I really couldn’t think of a good reason to say no.

Although at first I was overwhelmed, by the end of the evening I was able to produce a few not-awful sketches. I actually found the whole experience to be a bit meditative and quite enjoyable. Now I’m looking for something similar in my area.

Read more


10 things first-time tourists always end up doing in Paris
1. Huddling around Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa

Your everyday tourist knows little more of the Musée du Louvre than the fact that it houses Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. For that very reason, a swarm of tourists can be found buzzing around the masterpiece every minute the museum is open to the public.
The painting measures approximately 30” by 21” — not so epic in scale in comparison to the other work displayed in the Louvre. Unfortunately, many tourists who have seen the painting firsthand will tell you it wasn’t as magnificent as expected.
2. Roaming around the Notre-Dame Cathedral
One of the most famous churches on the planet, the Notre-Dame Cathedral attracts more tourists than the Eiffel Tower. And for good reason — the cathedral’s stained glass windows are some of the most impressive in existence. The South Rose Window, in particular, should be given special attention.
While many tourists will tell you to avoid specific landmarks, few will tell you to skip the Notre-Dame Cathedral, despite the crowds.
3. Upsetting a Parisian by speaking in English
If you’ve been to Paris and didn’t speak un petit peu de Français at the time, you may have started a conversation with a local in English. It probably didn’t go so well. Understandably, an exorbitant number of Parisians dislike being expected to speak in a different tongue off the bat. Well, “dislike” might be an understatement.
4. Butchering the French language after said incident
Every first-time tourist who’s experienced #3 above has likely made it a point to learn a few French phrases to avoid the potential awkwardness again. Such terms include “Bonjour!” and “Parlez-vous Anglais?” among others. Lucky for said first-time tourist, Parisians hate hearing their language butchered far more than they dislike speaking English. The conversation always falls back to English at the drop of a hat.
5. Waiting ages to scale the Eiffel Tower
Okay, so if you visit Paris, it’s your duty to see the Eiffel Tower. Potentially wait up to four hours (yes, four) in line in order to take an elevator to the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower? Not so much.
No matter the length of the line, millions of tourists brave the crowds and make the journey upwards. Visitors in the know often take the stairs to the “second floor” and jump on the elevator from there. A quick heads up: You’ll be climbing 670 steps to arrive at the second floor.
Continue

10 things first-time tourists always end up doing in Paris

1. Huddling around Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa

Your everyday tourist knows little more of the Musée du Louvre than the fact that it houses Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. For that very reason, a swarm of tourists can be found buzzing around the masterpiece every minute the museum is open to the public.

The painting measures approximately 30” by 21” — not so epic in scale in comparison to the other work displayed in the Louvre. Unfortunately, many tourists who have seen the painting firsthand will tell you it wasn’t as magnificent as expected.

2. Roaming around the Notre-Dame Cathedral

One of the most famous churches on the planet, the Notre-Dame Cathedral attracts more tourists than the Eiffel Tower. And for good reason — the cathedral’s stained glass windows are some of the most impressive in existence. The South Rose Window, in particular, should be given special attention.

While many tourists will tell you to avoid specific landmarks, few will tell you to skip the Notre-Dame Cathedral, despite the crowds.

3. Upsetting a Parisian by speaking in English

If you’ve been to Paris and didn’t speak un petit peu de Français at the time, you may have started a conversation with a local in English. It probably didn’t go so well. Understandably, an exorbitant number of Parisians dislike being expected to speak in a different tongue off the bat. Well, “dislike” might be an understatement.

4. Butchering the French language after said incident

Every first-time tourist who’s experienced #3 above has likely made it a point to learn a few French phrases to avoid the potential awkwardness again. Such terms include “Bonjour!” and “Parlez-vous Anglais?” among others. Lucky for said first-time tourist, Parisians hate hearing their language butchered far more than they dislike speaking English. The conversation always falls back to English at the drop of a hat.

5. Waiting ages to scale the Eiffel Tower

Okay, so if you visit Paris, it’s your duty to see the Eiffel Tower. Potentially wait up to four hours (yes, four) in line in order to take an elevator to the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower? Not so much.

No matter the length of the line, millions of tourists brave the crowds and make the journey upwards. Visitors in the know often take the stairs to the “second floor” and jump on the elevator from there. A quick heads up: You’ll be climbing 670 steps to arrive at the second floor.

Continue