Last Updated on 10th January 2017 by Sophie Nadeau
When you travel, you broaden your mind and horizons. You learn new skills, interact with new people and, above all, learn valuable lessons. Here’s what travel teaches you! (Or, at the very least, has taught me). Some are things I already knew, a few are silly, others more serious:
12. TRAVEL MORE
You can never see enough. You can never learn enough.
Once you start traveling, you can never stop. Literally.
‘The more you travel, the more you learn.’
11. IT’S OKAY TO DO THINGS ALONE
At school when you do things on your own, you’re called a ‘loner’ by the school bully. You’re asked if you’re okay frequently.
It’s okay to do things alone. You can visit a café or explore a museum and it’s your own little adventure. You can set your own itinerary and be selfish; there is no one to compromise with.
There is nothing nicer than going out for a meal and just sitting with a glass of wine watching the world go by. With no one to bother or distract you…
The day that it’s okay to do things alone is the day that a lot of doors open up to you.
‘You become your own best friend.’
10. NEVER A MISTAKE. ALWAYS A LESSON.
Mistakes shouldn’t define who we are or what we do.
While we should always learn from them so as to not repeat them, dwelling on past mistakes and regrets stops us from seeing what is already in front of us.
When you travel, you are often thinking in the moment. You don’t have time to dwell on the past when you’re late to catch a connecting flight or you’ve had two hours sleep and you have to rush to catch a 5am bus halfway across an unknown city.
In the words of the French;
‘Non, je ne regrette rien.’
9. MIND OVER MATTER.
Life isn’t all about money and material possessions. I think that we’re often taught ‘If I had more $$ and more possessions, I could do x,y and z and then I’ll finally be happier’.
That’s the wrong attitude to have.
And you know what? Money doesn’t equal happiness. Possessions don’t equal happiness. Sure, it’s good to have enough to offer a comfortable standard of living, but nothing compares to having your health and being surrounded by loving people.
‘The best things in life are free.’
8. YOU CAN RECOVER FROM A BROKEN HEART (multiple broken hearts, even)
Travel doesn’t mend a broken heart. How could it? You can’t run away from your problems…
It does, however, show you what the rest of the World has to offer.
And it has so much more to offer than someone who couldn’t even break up with you face to face or who cheated on you.
Travel teaches you to accept yourself.
‘Travel teaches you to love yourself.’
7. TRAVEL DOESN’T FIX EVERYTHING
I went away on a six month long trip after recovering from illness that forced me to take a year out of uni.
Around the same time, I ended a tumultuous on-off relationship of five years.
Yes, sometimes I still miss my ex. Yep, hello. I know you read this.
Yes, sometimes I wish I’d already finished my degree.
But that’s okay.
Because a lot of other awesome stuff has still happened…
6. EVERY DAY IS A SECOND CHANCE.
I think that every day we have to remind ourselves that we’re lucky to be here.
Sometimes, we have to just slow down and enjoy the moment.
Life is too short to always be worrying about things that may not even happen.
‘Don’t be afraid of the unknown. Be curious.’
5. LIFE NEVER GOES ACCORDING TO PLAN
I had a five year plan. I was going to get my degree. I was going to marry my boyfriend (oops 18 year old naïve self). I was going to get a good job by 21.
Well, none of that has happened… And thank goodness it didn’t because I would’t be sat here writing this now if it had.
‘Life is about using the opportunities you’re given to create something magical’.
4. IF YOU WANT SOMETHING, GO GET IT. (NO ONE ELSE WILL GET IT FOR YOU)
Honestly, this is probably the most important thing I’ve learned so far.
You want to travel the world? You want to learn that new language? Then go out and do it, because no one else is going to make you. Self-Motivation is your own worst enemy but once you conquer that first hurdle, it becomes easier and easier each time.
‘It’s still okay to ask for help when you need it though.’
3. THE WHOLE WORLD ISN’T DANGEROUS
When we’re little, we’re taught to ‘never speak to strangers’. Obviously this makes sense. However, as we grow older, this model becomes impractical.
How are you meant to make new friends or experience new things if you can’t ‘speak to strangers’? Obviously not everyone is a serial killer just as much as not everyone is welcoming and generous. You have to still keep your wits about you and never be too trusting…
I used to have an intense fear of speaking to new people. Even at the supermarket; my little sister would always have to speak to the cashier for me.
Travel forces you to speak to strangers, (and make a few new friends along the way)!
‘Do something every day that scares you.’
2. YOU CAN NEVER STOP LEARNING
The more people you stop and speak to, the more you discover about this little world of ours.
Therefore, it goes without saying that the more you travel, the more people you’ll meet.
In the words of Einstein ‘Once you stop learning, you start dying’.
‘Start exploring and never stop.’
1. TRAVEL CHANGES YOU
(And not to sound ominous, BUT you can never go back).
When you think about what travel teaches you, the biggest lesson is that it changes you. You are forced to make mature decisions and no one is there to make them for you. It’s like the first time going out in the car on your own. There is no driving instructor to ask whether or not it’s safe or not to pull out of a junction.
You have the opportunity to re-invent yourself. The people you meet know nothing about you; they don’t know anything about your past successes or failures.
‘Travel allows you to start over.’
And that’s what travel has taught me so far. ♥