This desire of exploration and curiosity drew me to travel and since my first trip abroad to Australia I’ve been hooked. A wanderlust addict with a vagabonding soul.
What is it that keeps bringing me back? Why do I encourage everyone to get out there and travel?
It’s about more than adventure, there are some life lessons found, or maybe rediscovered, on the road. They are things we should all just practice and know innately, but our lifestyles often cause us to forget.
Travel Lesson 1: Loosen Up
Things don’t always go as planned in life. If you are dead set on your schedule or plan, your whole trip (or life) will probably be miserable. As a schedule-holic at home I had to learn to go with the flow more. Let go and live. Sometimes the most unexpected circumstances end up being the best adventures with the most fortunate outcomes. The world works in mysterious ways.
Travel Lesson 2: Live Simply
I can live out of a backpack and be happy. All that stuff we accumulate, that stuff that seems necessary...it’s not. I couldn’t help but learn how much I didn’t need. When you carry everything on your back you can only take essentials and you like having less. In a world where material things reign supreme this is a wonderful lesson to experience.
Travel Lesson 3: Do What YOU Want
Without all the obligations that seem so important and people pulling at you all of a sudden you get to choose only what you want to do. I tend to always put others first, which may seem like a good thing until you do it to a fault. (It’s something I’m working on) When traveling you get to really tune into what you want, and do that.
Travel Lesson 4: Smile More
At home I walk around pretty straight faced, because I’m trying to get sh*t done! The people I’ve met on the road smile, and it’s contagious. I find myself smiling at everyone that walks by and smiling invites friendly awesome people and experiences to us. We usually don’t start up a fantastic conversation, make a new friend, and have a great experience by scowling at people.
Travel Lesson 5: Have More Trust In Fellow Humans
On every single one of my travels I have been shown enormous amounts of hospitality and generosity. It’s absolutely incredible. People that don’t know me allow me to stay in their home, they show me around their city, feed me amazing food and share their lives with me.
This could be a Seattle thing, but it seems to me that at home we don’t have a whole lot of trust that people are most often good and want to be helpful. When we expect negative experiences that’s usually what we get, but when we trust our fellow humans they most often prove trustworthy.
Travel Lesson 6: Unplug
When abroad internet isn’t as easy to come across. The feed isn’t available every time we glance down at our cell phone. Thankfully.
Travel forces a break in the feed habit and allows us to start to fully experience the world we are in. To be truly present to our experiences. I love the freedom of not being attached to social media, but for some reason when it’s there it’s hard to ignore.
Travel Lesson 8: Slow Down
Life lived in the fast lane may be exhilarating for a bit but before we know it life passed us by and it was such a blur we have no idea if we enjoyed it or not. Life is meant to be lived, not rushed through. At home I’m always scheduling a million things and trying to race the clock (btw. the clock always wins). Travelling allows me to notice the little things I miss in the rush back home. The taste of food, the beautiful sunset, that snail that is creeping across the sidewalk. Tiny joys in life that keep us in the present.
Travel Lesson 9: Patience
America has certain standards that have definitely helped to create big business and lots of money but it also created a society of instant gratification. Not all countries run like ours (FYI), and when we visit another country we must learn an immense amount of patience. Many developing countries run a lot more slowly than ours and even in countries that are very efficient often there is a language barrier that can slow things down.
There are the obvious amazing parts of travel like meeting new people and seeing new beautiful parts of the world. The adventure and the wanderlust. If we dig just a tiny bit below the surface we discover even bigger lessons that will keep us coming back for more.