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What Travel has taught me : 15 Life Lessons I learned while Travelling

15 Life Lessons Traveling Taught Me 6

`Traveling is indeed the best form of education. What I learned while traveling, I did not in my 18 years of primary to tertiary schooling, nor in my 3+ years of graduate school.

  1. Being “lost in the right direction” is the best thing in the world.

 “I don’t know where I am going but I know it’s the right direction”

 A friend and I walked around Paris on a windy day.  We ditched the map and started walking towards the direction of the tower. He could see it, so we thought we were near. However, we walked around in circles, simply guessing where to turn next, till we finally reached the tower 4 hours later. Did we regret it? No! We appreciated whatever we saw, and I learned more during that walk compared to a bus tour.

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Photo from WeHeartIt
Photo from WeHeartIt

 

  1. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

In the past, I traveled with family, then with friends, always in groups. I never thought I could travel solo, but when circumstance forced me to do so, I realized I could survive out there alone.  I was independent enough and strong enough to take care of myself. I also realized that I enjoyed it.  I belittled myself before that, but when push came to shove, I stepped up and learned that there was nothing at all to be afraid of about traveling alone.

 Photo from WeHeartIt

Photo from WeHeartIt
  1. Buy less; choose well

You don’t need half the things you think you need. When you travel, you learn to do away with a lot of things.  The secret is in buying quality key items that will serve multiple purposes, rather than numerous but less useful things.

Photo from WeHeartIt
Photo from WeHeartIt
  1. I don’t regret the things I’ve done; I regret those I didn’t do when I had the chance to.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” Travel teaches you to be more accepting and open to try new things. What’s there to lose?  As long as it doesn’t kill you, go for it. Besides, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. These things that push you out of your comfort zone are the memories you will cherish forever. Be willing to try

Photo from WeHeartIt
Photo from WeHeartIt

5.If at first you don’t succeed, then try again.

Traveling equips you with resilience. You become more adaptable, ready for whatever life throws your way. It makes you fearless and ready to accept whatever.  You’ll realize that the path is not always straight. It can be tiresome, but then again, traveling teaches you that the journey also matters, and not just the destination.  The latter was there merely for you to begin.

Photo from Vuible
Photo from Vuible

6.Don’t give up too easily.

Why dwell on the negative when there is so much more to be positive about. I lost my wallet on the last leg of my Europe trip in 2012. My family had already gone back home after our 30-day  tour, It was my first day alone in Europe, and I fell victim to a pickpocket. Despite such, I fortunately had some money kept elsewhere, and a lot of people also helped me out along the way. I survived for 2 weeks, till I finally had to head home.

Photo from WeHeartIt
Photo from WeHeartIt
  1. There are many kind people in the world who are willing to help out.

People are always willing to help. You just have to ask.  No matter where I was, there were always people who offered directions, helped me with my huge luggage (back when I travelled with a bag bigger than me), and offered a ride.  While traveling alone, I used to think it was because I looked way younger than my age that people would often offer to pay for my food. While we were taught to be wary of scams and people who try to get one over you, I realized that some people are just kind.

Photo from PictureQuotes
Photo from PictureQuotes
  1. Do unto others what you want others to do unto you.

Be kind. Smile is the universal language. Share. Be open. Be accepting.  Sometimes a simple smile can give you the help you need. In Australia, I didn’t know how to cook, and since I was on a budget, I bought pasta on sale that serves 5 people.  I shared my food with other hostel guests.  Little did I know that that small gesture would result in all of them sharing their food with me in the succeeding days.  All my breakfasts and dinners were covered on all my 3 days in that hostel—all because I shared.

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  1. It’s a long road, but it’s worth it.

Traveling teaches you to persevere and to be patient. You have to be more adaptable. Plans won’t always go your way; in fact, it will most likely not work out exactly the way you thought it would. Be flexible.   Enjoy the ride.

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Photo from WeHeartIt

10. The farthest and hardest to reach places are always the best places.

There, there are less tourists, and more chances to be in tune with nature. Just like in life, it’s not always easy, but the harder you persevere and the harder you try to achieve that happy place, the more rewarding it is when you are finally there.  Talk to taxi drivers; they can probably redirect your plans to more local places around the area.

Photo from WeHeartIt
Photo from WeHeartIt
  1. The best things in life are free.

This does sound like a cliché, but really, people flock to expensive high tourist traps when there are other researchable options that cost nothing.  The company of friends is also free.

What-travel-has-taught-me
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12. Confidence

Traveling boosted my confidence. It is easy for me to mingle with people and get along with those I meet along the way.

Photo from WeHeartIt
Photo from WeHeartIt
  1. Be more observant.Traveling broadened my perspective.  

Traveling taught me that although it’s good to be open, it is also best to keep a vigilant eye to stay safe.I learned to appreciate the simpler things in life. I saw how different cultures and different people sought happiness in different ways. Through traveling, your happiness quotient increases a hundred fold. Many times, I realize now, traveling taught me to choose to see life in a more positive way.

Photo from Pinterest
Photo from Pinterest
  1. Be crazy, Be spontaneous.

All you have is now. Live each day and be thankful for it.  Nothing can take the place of actual experiences. You learn more from traveling than you have ever learned at school. When you travel, it is like  “walking through” or “experiencing live” your history book or math problem or science formula.  Do it! Be Crazy! Try new things and explore. What do you have to lose?

Photo from WeHeartIt
Photo from WeHeartIt
  1. The value of home.

At the end of every travel and exciting adventure, it is always nice to be able to go back to a special place called home, where I can unwind and spend time with loved ones.

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What travel has taught me

77 thoughts on “What Travel has taught me : 15 Life Lessons I learned while Travelling

  1. Travel IS the best teacher. I agree with all these points but particularly love number 7; people can be so incredibly kind when you’re travelling – even more so when you’re either travelling solo or with kids!

  2. Can I add one more lesson?!
    Travelling is about people, not places!!!
    You can be in an amazing destination, but if you don´t connect with people, if you don´t have friends, if you can´t share the experience… It´s not as special as it should be!!!
    That´s one important thing that I learned in almost two year living as a nomad.
    All the best!!! Happy Journey!
    Nat

    1. Aaawww I guess we’re on the same boat, yeah? Travel really has not only opened an endless door of rich experiences and beautiful sights for me but more than that, has opened my heart and mind on the beauty of the world, of people, of myself being stronger, more independent, and appreciating even the smallest pleasures in life! Happy travels!

  3. Completely agree with the fact that there are plenty of kind people out there that are willing to help you out! The world isn’t as bad as the news makes out..And yes you have to be crazy and spontaneous, I reckon the best adventures happen that way 🙂

  4. Good post — I agree with all your points. The bottom line is: travel is your chance to leave your limits behind and try things you’ve never done in places you’ve never been. And almost always, it turns out well.

  5. I love reading these sorts of posts, as like minded folk (us travelers) invariably tend to list the same, or at least similar things.

    It’s kind of comforting don’t you think? 🙂

    1. Yes, actually even one can get lost even in one’s native land. 🙂 But it’s with getting lost that you discover the ‘rawness’ of each place, its people, its life and blood; without pretension and all that seemingly ‘tourist’ mask, making one’s experience more enriching and genuine.

  6. You know #1 reminds me of a verse from a song by my favorite artist in the whole wide world:
    “And I thought to myself oh son,
    You may be lost in more ways than one!
    But I’ve a feeling that it’s more fun
    Than knowing exactly where you are…”

    Can’t disagree with you on any of these counts btw. Have experienced most of these on a personal level myself, though I’m still working on the “buy less, choose well” bit. HA!

  7. Oh my goodness, I just absolutely loved reading this post! In my years of traveling I have learned so many of these lessons as well and probably love #15 the most. As much as I love traveling there is just something quite special about coming home to the people/places where you feel at home

  8. I love 1-4! Traveling for me is about getting a little lost (on purpose), stepping out of my comfort zone, living simpler, and having few regrets about what I haven’t done. I only wish these things were more obvious to the people asking why I do what I do. Great list!

  9. Your post bought me back a lot of memories and lessons that I’ve learned! 🙂 Like any other travelers, I can’t really explain how beneficial and amazing it is to travel!

    Your #14 – it made me laugh when I thought of one particular night. My travel partner and I randomly went out one night with other backpackers from the hostel. We had such a great time. When we were on the way back to the hostel, with it happened that the metal fencing type of gate (the entrance of plaza where all bars and restaurants were) was closed and we needed to go though that to go back. I got an idea – climb over it! Although one of the friends said no because the security guard might be around, I still thought “why not?” Another girl and I climbed over all giggly, two other friends followed. When we looked back, well, what do you know, two security guards with their arms folded, staring at us. A friend who was on the very top of the gate, slipped right down and pretty much landed on his balls. We felt so bad but couldn’t stop laughing. He was alright though! Hahaha, it was a spontaneous good night overall.

    Anyways, good post! 🙂

  10. I certainly agree that once you travel alone you really find out what you’re capable of. I grew so much from traveling alone and having to make my own way. And when I learned that I could do it, I only got stronger.

    1. Yes, certainly, agree with you 1000% percent! Honestly, I was very adamant at first to do it because although I know I’m pretty brave and independent, the sheer thought of relying on yourself all throughout the trip is really quite scary. So when I’ve mustered the courage to do it (although quite accidentally), it wasn’t so bad after all, I found it very empowering actually! Plus I’m sure, one will always find great company along the way, who knows they might even turn out to become your lifelong friends!

    1. Yes, definitely one of the best feelings in the world is to be embraced back by a familiar place and by familiar faces! Traveling has taught me well that no matter how long far I’ve been away or how many beautiful and rich places I have been, home is still home, filled with irreplaceable love and warmth and I certainly wouldn’t trade it for the world (well at least permanently) Haha. 🙂

  11. You took the words out of all our restless feet and wandering hearts! I especially love #9: It’s a long road, but it’s worth it. Wherever we are right now, no matter how difficult the situation we are currently in, we must remember that every thing happens for a reason and in the end, trust that it would all be worth it. Because most of the time, it is. Happy travels, Karla!

  12. Great post and I share many of your lessons from traveling. Patience and a smile go a long way when you are traveling. It’s hard not to smile when someone smiles at you. I remember learning in school about a lot of places we have traveled to. Seeing it in person seems to make it real somehow.

  13. There are so many things to learn while traveling. I usually come back with a new food that I’m willing to try out and having seen some amazing sights. Its great

  14. Absolutely love this post! Can SO relate to number 2… I also ended up travelling solo due to unforeseen circumstances. I was so worried about it. Could I do it? Wasn’t I too shy? What if I got lost? Lonely? But in the end, it was the best thing I’ve ever done. I grew in confidence, learnt more about who I am, met some of the best people and had some of the most incredible experiences. Love this post Karla… travel taught me the same things. We live in a wonderful world.

    Gabby

    1. Yes, a wonderful world it is! At the end of it all, doesn’t really matter much if you came to a place solo or not. Because with the conclusion of every travel, one is expected to bring with him/her a gazillion other things- lifelong memories of new and exciting places, fresh life perspectives, and maybe a couple of new friends or travel buddies perhaps? 🙂

  15. Amazing lessons and amazingly put. We’re so amazed at how much we’ve learned in such a short time through travel. They all strike a deep chord but we’ve really been noticing the change in collecting “things” to collecting experiences and noticing how much more valuable those are. We’ll definitely be reflecting on this list and how travel has helped us to grow!

  16. These are great. A lot of the things you mentioned are valuable character traits that are sometimes hard to develop in a life within the comfort zone. Hoping to instill these traits in my children:)

    1. Wow, accused, really? Hahaha Maybe you really enjoy being lost on purpose, don’t you? But yes, as they say, “Not all those who are wander are lost”. Sometimes, we choose to stay being lost because that’s the perfect opportunity for us to see the world in a slower, much more realistic perspective.

  17. Beautiful! Well said and so absolutely true! If I knew travel was going to teach me so much about practical things I use in everyday life I would have traveled instead of going to school, haha!

    1. I remember doing a walking tour in Berlin and learned a lot in a span of a few hours. I realized that school should tweak their curriculum and make the real world the classroom ( something like homeschooling) but well, that will take a lot of effort to make it work.

      1. Definitely but I think having a bit more realistic classes could help. While I was in school we had survival class and it was amazing!! Definitely handy but travel just opens your eyes and mind in a way I’m not sure anything else could.

  18. I can relate so much to this brilliant post and am heading of to Morocco in November for a month. I don’t like travelling in groups or bus tours as I like to get lost so I can find lots of interesting things on route

  19. I haven’t done a lot of traveling (yet). But, I plan to be a gypsy when my kids are grown. I completely agree with you that buying less is more. Shopping smarter is a good life lesson for everyone!

  20. I’ve definitely learned over time and through mistakes to not buy the most inexpensive item if I expect it to last for a long time.

  21. ha! such a nice post.. I travelled for 7 weeks this summer.. and that was like the best thing I did all year long. Traveling can really teach you way more than you imagine.

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