31 Things I Learned Traveling in Europe

I had not been to Europe in 13 years, crazy right? That’s why I was so thrilled to represent San Francisco at the Annual Curator’s Meeting of the Global Shapers of the World Economic Forum and then travel for a few days in Rome. While reflecting on my trip, I wanted to share 31 things I learned while in Europe.

  1. Talk to locals – they are like a real life Yelp
  2. Talk to drunk locals – its amazing how much you can learn about country politics, family and ambition
  3. If someone offers you a drink called the Bolivia, run away
  4. Made up handshakes are a great ice breaker
  5. If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together
  6. Get an unlimited use metro card
  7. Go sightseeing late at night (or at sunrise)
  8. Find restaurants with tables so close together that you can speak to the people next to you
  9. It’s hard to fit 2 people on a raft made of cardboard
  10. To hit a bullseye, take a breath and relax
  11. Always try starting a conversation with something other than English
  12. Things have a random way of working out
  13. Italians don’t like losing at foosball or ping pong
  14. With the right team, following can be just as satisfying as leading
  15. It’s amazing what you can get away with if you just answer “yes”
  16. Young people can truly change the world
  17. There are SO many problems outside Silicon Valley that are never even discussed here
  18. The best four flavors of gelato in no particular order are nocciola, banana, pistachio, and fig
  19. European airlines are so much better than US airlines
  20. Turning off your cell data plan is a liberating feeling
  21. International dance parties are the best kind
  22. Always wear sneakers at Frankfurt airport, especially when you have thirty minutes to make your connection
  23. An iPad is a must have for any long flight
  24. When in doubt take a picture, when you look back you never regret taking one
  25. Never go anywhere with a tour group
  26. Try not to go to a restaurant with a menu, and if it has one don’t order from it
  27. If you speak to 3 people in a row that speak English, go somewhere else
  28. AirBnb easily wins over any hotel
  29. Get on a random bus or metro without a map and go somewhere
  30. Gelato is a good idea at any time of the day
  31. Stay calm and Siyahamba

Discussion — 7 Responses

  • Betty 09/02/2013 on 11:12 pm

    Hi Neil,

    I really liked points 18 and 30 🙂 but I’ll keep the rest in mind the next time I go abroad!

    Betty

    Reply
    • neil Betty 09/27/2013 on 10:29 pm

      Thanks for reading! All the gelato in Italy was more or less amazing.

      Reply
  • Mery White 09/15/2013 on 3:10 am

    Thanks, I really like #5!:) My getaways are depicted my original song titled “The Getaway”, it goes many places. Wish you happy travels.

    Reply
    • neil Mery White 09/27/2013 on 10:29 pm

      Can’t take credit for it, was the motto for the Global Shapers!

      Reply
  • jensen 09/27/2013 on 10:20 pm

    not in the air that often but i will notice #19 and also im good at #1 &#2 thanks for posting lots of good info..

    Reply
  • Luke Skurman 04/04/2014 on 6:49 pm

    #4 is priceless.

    Hope you’re doing great! Nap Mask or Reelsurfer?? Either way hope you’re dominating!

    Reply
    • neil Luke Skurman 04/04/2014 on 9:16 pm

      Great to hear from you! Little combination of both – hope to get together soon. Are you headed to SF any time soon?

      Reply