Link to original articleAmong the wonderful benefits of traveling is the opportunity to grow and learn more about yourself, while learning about other people and cultures around the world. And along the way, it’s important to look back and reflect upon what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown. With my recent trip to The Bahamas marking my 20th country visited, I’m taking a moment to reflect!
Here are my 20 Lessons Learned from Traveling to 20 Countries:
Lessons Learned from Traveling:
1. I am not the center of the universe.
Most people are self-absorbed on some level, and I think the easiest cure to a case of vanity is traveling the world to see how much life exists beyond your own. It’s actually a really beautiful realization to learn about other people from different walks of life, to appreciate what life is like all around the world. So pack your bags and leave your self-glorified notions at home, because there’s a big world out there waiting for you!
2. Be prepared for plans to change.
You will inevitably encounter a change in plans or schedules and your ability to handle the change calmly and be flexible in your itinerary is crucial. Flexibility and a smile are key in these situations.
3. My country is a wonderful place.
It doesn’t matter where you’re from or where you visit, traveling allows you to appreciate the beauty of the place you call home. As you experience different countries and learn to love what they have to offer, you’ll simultaneously learn to love your home in new ways.
4. I am tougher than I thought.
You’ll never know how much you can handle or how tough you are until you step outside of your comfort zone and allow yourself to tackle the obstacles and adventures of travel. Maybe you didn’t think you could camp in a forest because you’re more of a city mouse, but you won’t know until you try. So try every new adventure you can!
5. There are always more places I want to visit.
No matter how many countries, cities, attractions, and activities I check off my to-visit list, I always want more. The list grows as I see more places and speak with more people. It’s a beautiful problem to have.
6. The world is enormous.
Looking at a globe or a map doesn’t do it justice. You will never be able to appreciate the enormity of this planet and the amount of people living on it, until you travel. You will realize how little of the world you have covered despite how very much of it you think you’ve seen.
7. Everyone has something to teach you.
No matter how smart or experienced you think you are, there are always more people out there whose stories you know nothing about. They can teach you something if you’re willing to listen.
8. Patience is a virtue.
In much of the world, the sense of urgency and rush that you’re accustomed to is nonexistent. Embrace the slower pace of life there and make connections with the people you meet and the places you visit during that time.
9. Always have a backup plan.
When something goes wrong or an obstacle presents itself, knowing you have a plan B will help you stay calm and enjoy your adventure still! This is definitely one of my biggest lessons learned from traveling!
10. Learn from your mistakes.
Whether it’s losing your luggage or trusting the wrong person to give you directions, every misstep is an opportunity to learn and avoid those pitfalls in the future.
11. Being uncomfortable is okay.
You may be on a hot stinky bus for hours and you may feel completely uncomfortable, but it won’t kill you and at the end of that bus ride you will have a new appreciation for the open space and fresh air that your destination affords you.
12. I travel to see the world, not for the world to see me.
Beginning travelers often feel they need to share their every experience and moment of travel with their friends and family, that their loved ones must want to see every picture they took while traveling. But as you travel more you realize that even if you don’t share every photo and story, it doesn’t matter, because the travel has changed you and the memories are yours to treasure.
13. Trying new foods is important.
When you are visiting a new place, you should try the foods that are common there. They may seem weird and different, but if they’re good enough for the locals to eat then they’re worth trying! Don’t be afraid of trying new things. You may find new foods you actually really like!
14. I am really independent.
This realization comes mostly profoundly from solo travel, but anytime you’re traveling and embracing adventure outside your comfort zone you’ll realize how well you can manage on your own. And there’s nothing quite like the confidence and independence you get when traveling to make you feel like the whole world is at your fingertips.
15. I have found my passion.
Traveling and seeing the world is my passion. And allowing the vast array of people, cultures, and adventures that I experience to shape me is the most exhilarating feeling. Nothing gives me goosebumps like the opportunity to travel and nothing makes me smile more than seeing new places. I have found my passion and now I get to pursue it and enjoy it and work every day towards making my passion my life.
16. I am in control of my emotions.
And the emotions I choose to let in impact my energy and the way I interact with others. How we respond to obstacles says more about us than anything else. It’s better for me and everyone around me if I stay calm and positive in the face of adversity.
17. I am an unofficial ambassador.
When you travel you leave an impact on every place you go and every person you interact with. So you better be sure that the impression you’re leaving represents the best of what you have to offer because you’re representing your country and your people. This is one of the most important lessons learned from traveling and one I hope you learn early on in your travels!
18. Be present in every moment.
Don’t waste any time dwelling on opportunities lost or people you’re missing or other self-absorbed thoughts. Wherever you are, be present there and you will get much more out of the experience!
19. Be aware of what’s going on in the world.
Reading the news and being aware of current events not only informs your travels about where it would be safe and interesting to go, but also it allows you to better understand the nuances of these places when you experience them firsthand. And the easiest way to make a friend or strike up a conversation is to talk about current events in their city, their country, or elsewhere in the world.
20. Be kind always.
Never forget that to travel and see the world is a privilege and we must be kind to everyone we meet along the way. Sending kindness and good energy out into the world makes the world a better place and brings good karma right back into your life as well.
These are some of my lessons learned from traveling, and I’m excited to see what lessons my future travels will bring to me. What are some of your lessons learned from traveling?
Source: Brittany from Boston
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