(Forget that. I am doing a Top 20 list. I am spreading all sorts of wisdom!)
- Be patient and just wait for the staff/waiter/person to address you.
- Pack light- luggage can get expensive.
- Public footpaths often lead to a public house, aka, the pub.
- Everyone in Europe speaks English, and it is sad and pathetic when I try to speak any European.
- Iceland is …. wait for it …. EPIC!!!!!!
- Christmas in England & Europe is amazing. Step up your game, America.
- Public transport can be pretty sweet.
- In England, you have to learn to enjoy just ales & lagers.
- Whole Foods is the Mecca for American expats.
- Good luck trying to watch college football. No chance with baseball.
- Never convert Pounds to dollars! NEVER!!!! You will sleep better at night.
- There are always people in every major city trying to sell you a selfie-stick or other useless junk.
- Notify your bank before you travel. They will promptly freeze your account if you don’t.
- Try the local drinks and dishes. I can eat snails & haggis all day now.
- Roads are insanely small. You will grab the oh-shit handle a lot.
- I worship the sun and any mildly pleasant weather.
- We understand how a boiler and underfloor heating works. It took us half of winter to realize it wasn’t working.
- In England you can get four seasons in a day, and most of it will be winter.
- Expect to pay extra for any standard amenities such as air conditioning.
- Stop being lazy, get up, pack your bags, and see as much as you can before you miss the chance.
(Top 10. Because I stick. to. the. prompt. Overachiever.)
- Goodbyes with Brits will take eternity. If it doesn’t last at least 20 seconds, then you’re doing it wrong.
- You can have zero notes in your wallet, and just a few coins in your pocket, and have enough money to buy 2 coffees, a sleeve of Fruitella chews, and a Jaffa Cake. This never ceases to delight me.
- If you want any clothes washed by a certain time, you need to start it the day before. Better yet, you should have started it last week.
- Above all else, Brits respect your privacy and expect you to respect theirs. You do not talk or make eye contact on the tube, on the street, or in the queue, unless some outrageous situation is occurring, and even then, you should think twice about it. I can’t begin to describe what a relief this is to introverts everywhere.
- The Evening Standard, the free newspaper distributed at the entrance to all tube stations, is a fantastic way to pass the time on public transport. The perfect mix of salacious gossip and actual news.
- You are never more than an hour’s train ride to a fantastic walk in picture-perfect countryside.
- There is always something worth watching on the BBC.
- Every single errand will require you to stop at a different store. It will take you three shops to get all of your groceries, and then two more to get things like lightbulbs and a birthday card. So, make life easy on yourself, and get your groceries delivered. Really. It’s free. Why not take advantage of it?
- With a little ingenuity, you can make a dorm-sized fridge work for two people cooking real meals every night.
- Don’t grab the heated towel rack when you get out of the shower. I know it is tempting to rest your hand there while trying to dry your feet, but just don’t.