Last week, I got back from my 25th country and I thought I’d reflect a little on some of the lessons I have learnt along the way.
Even though I didn’t set any real travel goals, I felt like I had achieved something really awesome, especially because only three years ago, travel didn’t mean a thing to me. Don’t believe it? I know. Me too!
There were times…
From me to you; it wasn’t exactly easy. There were times when all I wanted to do was quit. There were times when I got really broke and my bank account was giving me the side eye. There were times when I got exhausted from flying all the time. There were times when I missed family and friends and all the drifted relationships. There were times when I felt really bad about missing important events at home. There were times…
But I stayed on…
For the times when I set foot in a new country and I got that exhilarating feeling that I cannot put to words. For the times when I was catching drinks with complete strangers, partying the night away and laughing my heart out. For the times when I discovered something totally new about myself that I didn’t know existed. For the times when I finally saw something in person after only seeing it on TV or the internet. For the times when I put a string of words correctly in a foreign language. For the times when I did something totally scary and out of my comfort zone. For the times when I looked at my photo album and smiled at all the precious memories created. It was all worth it.
Now, to some of the lessons I have learnt…
I have learned quite a bit from this travel journey and I continue to learn. It’s probably impossible to capture all the learnings but I will give it a shot.
1. Traveling isn’t always glamorous
Take with a pinch of salt all the amazing and perfectly filtered photos you see on the internet. Travel is not always as glamorous. You can filter a photo but you cannot filter your travels. Travel comes with its own little challenges especially when it becomes a lifestyle. Missed flights, stolen luggage, terrible weather conditions, having to sleep on the floor in airports, etc. There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes.
2. People will judge you for whatever life path you decide to take
People are always going to be judgmental especially when they view your life through the lens of their own standards. They will especially judge you when they do not agree with your life’s choices. Heck, they will judge you anyway so there is no use trying to please anyone. Doing what makes you happy is the ultimate gift to yourself.
3. People are awesome, you’ve just got to meet them
A lot of the times when people say, “don’t go there, the people are bad and it is dangerous”, it never turns out quite like that. Matter of fact, it is the total opposite. People I have met along the way have been nothing but kind. So, be careful what advice you heed to.
4. You may lose some friends
If you choose to make travel an essential part of your life, you may lose some friends. Some of them because the communication weakened, and some others because the couldn’t understand your lifestyle choices and some, you simply outgrow.
5. Experiences are still better than things, in my books
From a retired shopaholic who has seen both ends of the coins, I’ll say this; experiences will always trump things for me. Things are nice, really really nice and shiny but that’s about it. They carry dust, they expire, they wear out.
6. Not every country you visit will be life-changing
Travel will not always constitute a life-changing experience and that’s okay. Do not expect to go to a new country and become a totally different person, that is not always the case. Sometimes, enjoy the scenery and go home.
7. I love coming back home
I absolutely love the thrill of coming back home and everytime I travel, I am reminded about how I may not want to travel full-time or backpack around the world. I like the balance of it all; I admire people who travel full-time and backpack around the world but, it just isn’t for me. Coming back home to a stable job, family,a roof over my head and my comfortable bed makes travel even more special to me.
8. You will need more than one language
I used to think English was a superior language and it was enough to get me by. How wrong was I. There is nothing quite like speaking to people in their own language, that is basically how great connections are made.
9. There is no trophy in the end
Stop expecting a trophy, accolades or cheers for following your dreams and accomplishing something you’ve always wanted to. You have got to be doing it for the right reasons, which is, yourself. If travel was something you did in a bid to impress others, it will probably not be worth it when you look back.
10. It will take a lot of sacrifices
Your time and money being the biggest chunk. You’ll have to prioritize and say yes to only the things that add to your life and are able to advance your goals. Travel is exciting, but it is not without a cost.
So, is travel worth it?
I’ll say yes over and over again but at the end of the day, it is all about doing what brings you happiness, fulfilment and a sense of growth. Travel can be one of the most liberating things to do and personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Tell me, what are some of the lessons you have learnt while traveling? Is there anything you will like to add to this list? I’ll love to hear your thoughts.
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Thank you for reading
Until next Friday,