Cuba Reflections (+ Travel Tips!)

"Education consists mainly of what we have unlearned." -Mark Twain

New goal: To become a lifelong unlearner. Most of my enjoyment of traveling comes from reflecting, making connections and unlearning things I thought I knew about myself.

Deal with it.

Case in point, I always thought of myself as a terrible negotiator. Terrible. I always catch the best deals through my introverted skills of internet diving, but face-to-face, you'll most likely get ask price from me.

I don't know what switched, but while I was in Cuba I was so comfortable (and actually really enjoyed) negotiating... and in another language at that! I even got into a few playful "arguments" that had me laughing to myself afterwards. I unlearned that I was a bad negotiator and learned that given the right tools (i.e. a few local phrases) I can be good at what I've convinced myself I'm bad at. 

That wasn't the only thing I unlearned about myself.

Go with the flow.

What flow? Which flow? For how long?

This is me. All day! I'm a thinker. I'm a planner. I'm a strategist. If I'm gonna 'go with the flow' it's because I've mapped out the exact trajectory of where I'll end up, at what time and the best directional path to take.

My Cuba trip was the exact opposite. Not only was it conceived of and planned in record time (a few weeks), but my list of activities upon arrival included 'unpack' and 'eat.' Thankfully I traveled with an amazing comrade who was so easy going and helped me ease off the itinerary travel.

We walked into some of the coolest, richest art experiences, met some of the greatest music legends and marveled at how truly amazing God is.

Pay attention to your surroundings

And not in the "Am I being followed?" kind of way. I mean focus on your surroundings. Pay attention to the way the people around you interact with each other. Reflect. Get caught up in every moment. One thing amazing about Cuba is the lack of internet service and wifi. Now, I know that sounds like a first world horror, but being disconnected is actually a good thing. 

I got a chance to focus on everything going on around me, talk to new people (in my broken Spanish) and pick up more about the people there than I could learn from snapping a photo. It's uncomfortable and a bit awkward if you’re not an extrovert, but who travels to stay in their comfort zones?

So that's the short version of my reflections. I'm pretty sure there's more I'll unlearn that will point back to my visit to Cuba and I'm excited about the journey!


Check out more tips below for planning your Cuban adventure below!

(Tip for my mobile users: landscape view works best!) 


Also head over to and check out my Travel gal Ebony's blog and a few of her Cuba tips! ;)