1. Experience shows that when I am in an earthquake, my most immediate and pressing concern is quickly putting pants on because I don’t want to be found dead without them.
2. Australians seem to travel at the rate Americans stay home.
3. Calories are cleverly labeled “energy” on many international food labels.
4. Nothing humbles you faster than trying to learn a new language.
5. You never know how important the Spanish word for soap is (“jabón”) until you are in dire need and performing charades to help the Amazonian locals guess your meaning.
6. Peru is home to the world’s most terrifying mannequins.
7. I married a man who gets teary eyed reading the inspirational quotes in the US Passport (context: no sleep, just deported).
8. A large chunk of Peru looks uncannily like Utah.
9. You don’t magically “pick up” languages by hiding in your apartment because you are too scared to talk to people.
10. One of the sweetest Thai men I have met was named Gun.
11. LDS churches are the best places to find free filtered water.
12. When you don’t speak the language, making swimming arm motions and waterfall hand movements will still communicate “stop this car I’m going to vomit.”
13. Hot pink is the new black in Thailand.
14. There is no such thing as too much mango sticky rice.
15. Thailand is home to the world’s worst cookie counterfeits.
16. Singapore is likely the best place to set a dystopia story in the making.
17. Americans seem to be the ones most freaked out by unisex bathrooms.
18. Checking a bag can cost more than the original flight price.
19. Baby tigers love having their bellies rubbed. So do full grown tigers, but if you don’t scratch firmly enough they think you are a fly, and they will hit you in the head with their tail hard enough to give you a headache.
20. Passion fruit resembles boogers more than fruit.
21. Goodbyes come too quickly and never get easier.
22. Piranha actually tastes pretty good.
23. Thai ladyboys rock platform heels and sequin club dresses better than I ever could.
24. Packs of rabid Amazonian dogs (Austin would like to interject: “like Shelob”) are afraid of flashlights in the dark. This small fact could save your life.
25. Eighty degrees is cold enough for some people to bust out their down coats.
26. It is possible to re-read the entire Harry Potter series in a week and a half when you don’t have a job.
27. Dressing nicely for the Indian consulate, as they recommend, will mean you are stepping into a trap for a bribe.
28. Missing flights isn’t as big of a deal when you don’t have anywhere you need to be.
29. Sometimes you only think you know Spanish.
30. Just because you book and pay for a hostel from a reputable website does not mean said hostel will exist when you arrive in Colombia at the address at 1:00 am.
31. The only thing a Thai immigration officer will ask while reviewing your visa extension paperwork is what you think of his Facebook photos of rescued animals.
32. Bogota’s graffiti is a free, open-air art exhibit.
33. The world’s best hot chocolate can be found at a no-name café in Cusco.
34. “American pizza” means pizza with corn on it.
35. Sugar is the actual bread and butter of Thai cooking.
36. Remote controls exist for certain toilets, featuring massage and cleaning buttons.
37. A tarantula will hide if you scream.
38. Mosquitoes will wait till you are in the outdoor shower to get most friendly.
39. The biggest nose rings I have ever seen are on display in Colombia’s Museo del Oro.
40. A bad translator was largely responsible for the final downfall of the Incan Empire.
41. You have to ferment cocoa beans to make chocolate.
42. Pink dolphins are real and adorable.
43. There is no deus ex machina to help you when you accidentally enter a country illegally.
44. Some people with night terrors have no problem checking in to 12 person dorm rooms.
45. Not having a job is like having a life of Saturdays.
46. Elephants can learn to paint pictures.
47. Guinea pigs are a traditional delicacy, similar to the thanksgiving turkey, in certain Peruvian feasts.
48. Alpaca meat is actually really tasty.
49. Each Incan building stone took about a year to move and carve from start to finish.
50. The Japanese win the award for the friendliest airport workers.
51. Driving on the ‘opposite’ side of the road is doable, just plan to hit the windshield wipers every time you try to use the turn signal.
52. There are so many fish in the Amazon River that they literally jump into your boat.
53. The condor is the world’s largest bird. We waited around for two hours to spot one, but only later did I learn that it was a giant vulture.
54. Making dumplings is an art.
55. The main reason people seem to go to Iquitos is to overpay to get high on ayahuasca in the jungle.
56. Singapore’s famous airport lives up to expectations, especially the swimming pool.
57. Caffeine is a terrible idea when recovering from jet lag.
58. Cherimoya, a fruit once reserved for the royalty in Cusco, is almost impossible to find anywhere else. Naturally it is my new favorite fruit.
59. When deciding whether to eat 7 plates of a cheese and chocolate buffet or swimming first, you should always swim first.
60. Famous Thai courtesy takes a backseat on Bangkok trains during rush hour.
61. The worst alarm clock is a cement drill outside your window.
62. There are glorious places in the world that do 1 hour massages for 5 dollars.
63. Be careful where you launch a floating lantern (krathong). It might get caught in a tree and erupt in flames.
64. A toucan bird can take on a dog.
65. Ice cream cones do wonders for episodes of culture shock and western food cravings.
66. Thai women pluck their gray hairs out with tweezers rather than dye their hair.
67. The best kind of sweet potatoes are bright purple.
68. Things take forever to boil at 11,000 feet above sea level.
69. Eighty percent of Peru’s economy once came from exporting massive amounts of guano, also known as bird poop.
70. Peruvians are passionate about their elections. They will paint the entire exterior of their house to show support for a candidate.
71. Chinese dim sum is like opening Christmas white elephant presents from a stranger. You never know what you are going to find when you take off the lid.
72. In a war, backpack vs motorcycle wheel, the motorcycle will win (but not without a fight).
73. The worst collection of American movies are reserved for night buses.
74. Ordering a hamburger with chips in Peru means you’ll have a hamburger with grated French fries as a layer in a sandwich.
75. Thai people are comfortable with random people picking up their children and playing with them.
76. Alligator eyes appear red at night.
77. Coca leaves are ubiquitous in South America. These leaves are also used to make cocaine.
78. There is a traditional dance in Peru featuring two partners fighting over an orange and taking turns whipping each other. They claim it is about Parkinson’s disease.
79. Sandboarding is like snowboarding, but the sand slows you down and you fall a lot harder.
80. Make sure you leave a will before riding in a sand dune buggy.
81. You can unclog a toilet with a hose.
82. The best pad Thai dinner I’ve ever had cost $1.25.
83. Check a taxi’s registration stickers before getting in and heading to the airport, some are totally fake.
84. Thai teenaged boys know more lyrics to American pop songs than anyone I’ve ever met, and they delight in singing them to you.
85. McDonald’s at 3:30 am in Hong Kong is the place to be for game nights, sleep overs, after parties, or snacks for the jet lagged travelers.
86. The Hong Kong airport appears to be first and foremost a massive mall where you can catch a plane downstairs if that sort of thing interests you. Hong Kong in general has a ridiculous amount of malls.
87. There are not 4th floors in many Asian buildings like there are not 13th floors on many in the US.
88. The Spanish Conquistador’s Jesus was as far as you can get from Greg Olsen’s Jesus.
89. Fruit sellers in Peru use megaphones that sound like Islamic calls to prayer.
90. MSG is also known as “tasty powder” in some cuisines.
91. Asian bathrooms are small, and usually the shower is right over the toilet. This is convenient for shaving.
92. Most of the artifacts from Machu Picchu were taken back to Yale by Hiram Bingham, a professor who didn’t exactly “discover” Machu Picchu in 1911.
93. We can thank the Incans for a lot of our food staples (tomatoes, corn, potatoes, etc.) from their agriculture experiments.
94. Traveling is a privilege.
95. You need very little amounts of “stuff” to survive. Having only one bag on your back is very liberating.
96. We have some of the best, kind, and generous friends all over the world.
97. I’ve spent too much time hiding behind a busy schedule instead of confronting my depression and other emotional kinks head on.
98. You don’t always need to be suspicious of people.
99. Saying yes to random opportunities and risks almost always pays off.
100. I can spent 24/7 with my partner Austin and not just spare his life but enjoy (almost) every minute of it.
This article was originally published on Deliberate Wanderer, and has been re-posted here with permission.