Traveling is a great source of learning and growth. It teaches you a lot of things about life, people and especially about yourself.
But what is the greatest lesson you can learn from traveling?
In this collaborative post, different avid travelers and travel bloggers will share their biggest lesson learned from traveling with you.
IamAileen by Aileen
I have been traveling around the world for more than two years now and I have definitely learned a lot of things after I started this travel lifestyle. Aside from the basic realizations wherein I have learned how to become more flexible, independent, and responsible, I have also grown as person by understanding these two lessons that have stood out to me over the years:
- I have learned how to detach myself from material possessions. I learned how to let things go, and it really helps to see your physical belongings for what they really are: temporary and replaceable. Truly, they are and will never be life’s definition of happiness, success, nor security, and realizing this fact has helped a lot in my self-development.
- I have learned how to challenge any preexisting thoughts and stereotypes. For instance, the world is not such a scary place at all. We have been far too conditioned by the media that strangers are not to be trusted and that certain foreign countries are unsafe places. It may be true in certain circumstances, but more often than not, travel has shown me that there’s far more goodness in this world than we thought. Travel had also taught me to look past the bad side of things. It’s like the more people I meet, the more understanding I become of others’ quirks, flaws, and customs, and this, in my opinion, is a great life skill that everyone should learn because I think most of the problems in this world is rooted from narrow-mindedness and prejudices.
The Travel Tester by Nick and Nienke
When we tell people we’ve left behind our jobs, our family, our home not once but twice now to go and live abroad (first Sydney 2 years, now London 1,5+ years), people tell us we’re ‘brave’, ‘adventurous’ or sometimes ‘a bit crazy’. But we just follow our hearts and always choose the most interesting road. The road that will teach us knew things and lets us grow as individuals.
Starting our lives as expats, we never really quite knew what to expect, and perhaps that’s been for the best. Anyone who would know exactly what would happen in the future is probably going to take a little detour here and there, but we’ve learned that accepting some challenges can only help you move forward in life.
Spending time in a foreign culture, even one that is quite similar to your own, will teach you so much about adjusting to new situations, trusting in your own strenghts and finding out where you truly belong. And those are lessons that we wouldn’t have learned staying at home. Even if we ever decide to return, this whole experience has taught us so much, it will definitely help us with everything else in the rest of our lives. We can recommend it to anyone! You don’t need any super powers to travel, just make the decision to get the most out of your life. Easy, right?
Jessie on a Journey by Jessie
The greatest lesson long-term travel has taught me is the power of solo travel. While my personal blog, Jessie on a Journey, focuses on solo female travel and is now my expertise, there was a time when I was terrified of the idea of going off on my own to a foreign place.
When I went to Southeast Asia alone when I was 21 I had stomach aches and sleepless nights like you wouldn’t believe leading up to my departure. But then when I arrived I just…figured it out. You become so in control of your trip, doing exactly what you want to do. You also grow your relationship with yourself and realize exactly what you’re capable of, as you navigate situations. Trust me, when faced with a problem you will solve it on your own because, well, sometimes you have to. It’s a truly empowering way to see the world. I’ve also never been limited to any particular destinations due to having to “find people to go travel with.” I just book a trip that sounds fun, and if people want to come, awesome, if not, that’s great, too.
Jessica Festa is the editor of Epicure & Culture as well as Jessie on a Journey. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia, agritouring through Tuscany, and doing homestays in Thailand, Slovenia and Ghana.
Etramping by Agness
Harvey Lloyd said that “Travel is like an endless university. You never stop learning” and he was absolutely right. Since I started travelling the world, I keep learning things. Each day is a new lesson of life that I am humble to learn. If I had to share two of the most important lessons I have learnt when travelling full-time, I would definitely say:
#1 Less is more
Travelling shows that you don’t need much to be happy. Life is not about presents, expensive shoes or smart gadgets. It is about exploring new things, meeting amazing people and seeing places you don’t usually go to. The less things you have, the better so stop collecting material stuff and collect the moment!
#2 Take life and travels slow
Travelling is not a competition of who goes to more places and meet more people. It is actually good to stay at one place for weeks to discover what locals are like. You can take time to really see the sights and explore different neighbourhoods without feeling rushed. Spending more time in one place not only allows me more opportunity to connect with people, but also see more places and experience the authentic cuisine.
Travel freak, vagabond, photography passionate, blogger, life enthusiast, backpacker, adventure hunter and endless energy couchsurfer living by the rule “Pack lite, travel far and live long!
Savi and Vid from Bruised Passports
The biggest lesson that we have learned during our travels is compassion and understanding. The more we travel, the more we meet people from different cultures, from different strata of life, and from different backgrounds. Meeting thousands of people who are essentially different from each other, and to a certain extent from us, has given us a completely new perspective on varied ways of living life. We feel, after all these years of travelling, that we are less judgmental and more sensitive towards people from different parts of the world.
Spending extended periods of time in a foreign destination gives us a chance to live amongst locals. Even when we come back from such holidays, we make sure we stay in touch with the friends we made. We feel this adds to the experience of travelling and brings all of us closer – to us, the world is a place without borders 🙂
Brittany & Charlie from Trading Travelers
One of the greatest lessons we’ve learned from traveling is to always keep an open mind and never let the opinions of others, including the media, influence your decisions when it comes to travel. So many times we’ve had people tell us “don’t go there, it’s not worth it” or “that’s the best beach in the world” but we’ve learned over and over again that each and every person has different experiences while traveling.
So many factors can influence a person’s positive or negative experiences, including weather, time of year they visited or even things going on in their personal life that might have nothing to do with the destination they are in. Furthermore, the media is often one of the biggest of offenders when it comes to influencing negative feelings toward a country, race or religion. For example, we were hesitant for the first time visiting Malaysia, being a primarily Muslim country. We weren’t sure what to expect and the Western media makes you think anything associated with Islam must be bad. However, we were overwhelmed with kindness and hospitality in Malaysia. It turned out to be one of our favorite countries of all that we have visited in our travels.
My Adventures across the world by Claudia
Traveling long term has taught me many lessons about myself, about what is really important to me, and about people in general. But the biggest lesson is that plans can and will change, and that is actually a good thing.
When I left for my first long term trip to Latin America, I had a very clear idea of the places I wanted to visit. I had carefully read my guidebooks, took notes from travel blogs I followed, and made a detailed list and even an itinerary that I intended to follow. And so I did, for the first 3 weeks of my trip. Then, I realized that following a strict schedule did not make much sense, and that the beauty of being on a long term trip was the possibility of changing plans if I needed it and wanted it, as when I met group of backpackers going on a different direction, who I followed because it was simply too much fun to spend time with them.
There was no frenzy to see everything and to crush as many activities as possible, like I would in the 2 or 3 weeks that I would have on an average holiday. There were days in which I did absolutely nothing other than reading a book in the cozy common room of the hostel, checking my email and facebook, or going grocery shopping to cook an epic meal. And those days were just as great, and perhaps even more needed, as the ones in which I actually did more travel-related activities.
In fact, one of the things I soon found out, is that I did get burnt out. I simply got too tired to take one more bus, I was too exhausted with the heat to actually spend one more day on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. And I got sick too. So sick that I did get stuck in a place for weeks at a time, trying to feel better. I found that some of the places on which I had high expectations where less than worthy of a visit, and some I had not even heard of where so great that I ended up staying longer than I had predicted.
Stay tuned for part 2 of Travel Bloggers reveal their biggest lesson from traveling which will be published on Monday 8th June. In the meantime: What is the biggest lesson you have learned from traveling? Share your thoughts in the comments and find more (long-term) travel advice here.
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