After being on the go and living on the road for the last two years, I have come to the conclusion that traveling is indeed the best way to learn. It teaches you about the world around you, about the people, and most of all, it teaches you about yourself.
Before I go any further, though, let me get one thing straight: traveling isn’t always easy, especially the budget backpacking kind.
I’ve lived off of bread and cheese for a week in Europe because that was all I could afford. I took a 30-hour bus ride from Vietnam to Laos because it was $100 cheaper than flying and I’ve slept in many places where the conditions were of rather questionable sanitation. Despite all of that, every day, I continue to fill my head with new destinations and trips that I want to do. Why, you may ask? Simply because traveling has changed my life and here are just a few lessons that I have learned from it.
5 Lessons You Can Learn From Traveling
5. Traveling taught me to be patient.
When you are constantly on the road, expect something to always go wrong: a late bus, a flat tire, a landslide, heck, even a volcano explosion! These are all true events that I have personally experienced throughout my travels. All you can do is smile, roll with the punches and go with the flow.
Traveling has taught me how to accept situations that I can’t do anything about. Most of the time, we work ourselves into a flurry stressing about things we cannot control. Nothing will change if you get angry, annoyed, or pissed off. Instead, accept things with grace and try to see the good in all situations. If I managed to smile and laugh during a 6-hour bus ride where chickens were running around the bus, you can manage to smile despite the looming traffic ahead, too.
4. Traveling taught me how to relate to others.
One of the things that I love the most about traveling is meeting people from all walks of life. A fisherman, a garbage collector, a nurse, or a bum – it doesn’t matter where you are from or who you are. On the road, everyone is equal. Everyone is just trying to live his or her life to the fullest. No matter what culture, race, or language background you are from, we are all the same. You understand people and learn how to empathize.
I have been lucky enough to meet so many amazing people throughout my travels, including my current partner-in-crime who I met while we were both traveling in Vietnam. Although we come from opposite sides of the world, we managed to find each other through our travels. Nowadays, we document our travels through our blog, Adventure in You.
3. Traveling has taught me to be kind.
The kindness that you experience while on the road is really one-of-a-kind. When you are more vulnerable and when you are placed in a position where you have to depend on others, you become more grateful for the little things, like that person who invited you in their home to have a cup of coffee when you get caught in the rain despite not speaking a word of English.
Throughout my travels, one thing that I often do is couchsurf. Through couch surfing, I have made fantastic friends from all around the world. Despite my constant explanation of how it works, my parents remain baffled as to why people would do that. One word comes into mind: kindness. In our blog, we constantly talk about the kindness that we meet on the road as we want to inspire people and show them that traveling the world isn’t as scary as it sounds – that out there are good people who are always willing to lend a helping hand.
2. Traveling has taught me to be more grateful.
Through traveling, I have become more grateful for the little things in life like a warm bed or a good home-cooked meal. You see how little the people around you have and it makes you appreciate the things that you do have.
Just by traveling around Southeast Asia and even South America, you see so many people living in poverty. You quickly realize that your day-to-day problems aren’t really problems. Suddenly, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have the latest cell phone or if your Internet is slow. People have problems larger than yourself, so be grateful for the things that you have. Live each day. Watch the sunset and be grateful that you’re alive.
1. Traveling taught me that’s it’s okay to go out of your comfort zone.
When you are placed outside your comfort zone, you suddenly discover so many things about yourself. You see how you react to certain situations. You learn how to make friends with strangers.
You learn how to eat a meal by yourself and be completely okay with it. You learn how to fend yourself in a different language. I cannot count the amount of times I’ve been placed in situations where my initial reaction was “oh, man, I don’t know what to do”, yet I rise to the challenge and prove myself capable each and every time. Why? Well, frankly, because I have no choice. I man up, think on my feet and experience satisfaction like no other.
I could really go on and on as traveling has opened up a world of possibilities for us, but at the end of the day, you can just keep reading about it or decide to experience things for yourself. I went from being a teacher to a backpacker, blogger, and now an entrepreneur because I opportunities opened along the way.
Now, my partner and I are in Thailand developing a travel app at getstoked.com while growing our blog. Although we don’t have a clue on how to run a business like this, we roll with the punches. It doesn’t matter if you go on a big trip or just a small one. Explore the world around you. Put yourself out there and venture out of your comfort zone. You will be pleasantly surprised about what you discover about the world around you and yourself.