12 lessons I learned from traveling, part 2
January 25, 2019
Just as life, traveling is about asking questions and seeking answers. The only way to know is to explore. Exploring satisfies and at the same time intensifies our natural curiosity, while immersing ourselves to different cultures and new places. Traveling opens your mind and heart for new ideas and possibilities. And for the lessons on the way. Traveling is the best education I ever had. I already wrote before about the lessons I learned from traveling and how I apply my travel attitude to daily life. Here are 12 more lessons to share.
You can’t do all
Choose what your want to see, do or experience. You have a certain amount of time. You can’t see a whole country during one trip. The same is true when you are at home: you can’t do all. It is not that we have too little time to do all the things we need to do, it’s that we feel we need to do too many things in the time we have. So choose and spend your time wisely.
If your try to control everything and worry about the things you can’t controle, you are setting yourself up for a long and difficult travel. A lot is out of your control, but you can control how you react to it. You choose where you focus on. Let go of what you can’t control and invest your energy in what you can change. It helps to find the humor in whatever situation you are in, on the road and at home.
Choose your perspective
Travel will confront you with a lot of incovenience: delay, change of plans, closed places you really wished to see. Things like happen. Accept it and choose your perspective. Last week I was in an enormous traffic jam. I had 2 choices: getting frustrated about the delay and my wasted evening or see it as lifes way of giving me some breathing time to watch a beautiful sunset and to see the superbloodmoon. Happiness is allowing yourself to be perfectly okay with ‘what is’ rather than wishing for or worrying about what is not. Your mind is the window through which you see the world. So choose your perspective and be aware of your thoughts. When it rains look for rainbows, when its dark look for stars.
Invest in experiences
Make the dull bright, the ordinary extraordinary and the every day magic. With some imagination everything is an adventure. Invest in experiences, not in things. Time with family and friends, seeing new places and trying something new are so valuable. Too many people buy physical possessions they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know. Fill your life with lots of quality experiences and insights, not lots of things that distract you from what’s important. Have incredible stories to tell and lessons to share, not incredible clutter in your closets.
Escape routine and breath the air of new places
One travels to run away from routine. Routine kills the imagination and all enthousiasm. Escaping routine is less hard then you think. Consider the everyday as an adventure and happiness can be found everywhere. Every time I step on a plane, I have the same feeling: everything is possible, the world is waiting. You get the same feeling when you go somewhere you have never been before: a strange city, wandering in a museum that you do not know yet or exploring a neighbourhood in your own city where you have never been before. And you know what: time will slow down until it stops and suddenly you have an endless day.
Your travel will end. Your life will change. Embrace everything while it lasts. You must accept the fact that things may never go back to how they used to be, and that endings are really new beginnings. Embrace lifes adventures. Your life is meant to be filled with new beginnings, experiences and adventures, a lesson that is valuable during your trips and at home.
Get up early
There is something so magical about waking up at first light in a new country. And you know what? The same goes for your own hometown. Get up early and wander through a city that slowly awakes, hike in a forest at dusk, listen to the birds and never miss a sunrise.
Reflecting and journaling
Everytime my time in a new place comes to an end I take time to reflect on the experience. I always journal on my travels. Over the years I discovered that it’s also rewarding to journal in everyday life. On a travel or a road trip you need a map and for your everyday life the same is true: iIf you want to get somewhere in life, you need a map, and your journal is the map for the road trip called life. Journaling is a priceless tool for self-reflection and self-improvement. It’s a place to reflect.
Be a seeker: find beauty in the smallest moments
Not everything needs to be big and overwhelming. Sometimes you will find the most special travel memories in the most ordinary moments: a conversation in a packed bus, sitting at sea with a good friend. Take the time to listen to other peoples stories, on the train, on the road, in a restaurant and discover valueable lessons. Through these conversations I learned a great respect for how different our lives can be, but even more the shared commonalities.
The less luggage you have, the easier the journey.
I don’t think this lessons needs an explanation. Get rid of everything that weighs you down. Accept change, choose your perspective and let go. Travel light, live light, be the light.
Solo travel provides great life lessons
I am a solo traveler. I’ve already argued it before: I believe everyone should travel solo at least once in his life. Contact with locals is easier and you’ll receive more invitations which deepen your travelexperience. On my travels though so many cultures and countries, people have offered me help, friendship, and safety. Traveling solo gives you time to process each travel moment and assimilate the lessons and ideas. The solitude offers you the space to work through thoughts and issues. Solo never has to mean lonely. Accept kindnesses from strangers and be open to invitations and new experiences. You’ll get the chance to make new friends, but don’t forget to keep the old ones. Try solitude at home: spend an evening alone at home, without television, phone or social media. Just listening to your thoughts, maybe some journaling and be surprised how many great lessons you will find.
Smiling connects cultures. A simple smile can be the start of a great conversation, a life lesson or a friendship. Smiling makes you approachable to foreigners and locals alike. And you know what? It works the same at home in your daily life.
My travels took me on incredible adventures, meeting amazing people and taught me important life lessons. It helped me to discover who I am and what I love to do. I wish for you the same!