“Perhaps travel can not prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try to understand each other, we may even become friends. “~ Maya Angelou
Traveling is great. It expands your mind, enriches your life with new experiences and widens your horizon. You see amazing sights, meet interesting people and learn a lot about yourself. You also learn a lot about life because, in many ways, life on the road is not that different to everyday life and many lessons I learned on the road apply to everyday life too.
10 Things Traveling Teaches You About Life
1. You can’t plan every detail
Things happen, circumstances change and you change. We started off planning many details ahead of time, such as booking accommodations and the amount of time we would stay in different places. We soon realized that this wasn’t working very well because things looked very different once we got to that moment in time and we ended up spending a lot of money to change things. Plan less and dare to go with the flow because…
2. Not getting what you want or getting what you didn’t want can be a blessing in disguise
The countries we hadn’t planned to visit but ended up visiting rewarded us with some of the most amazing experiences. In the same way, getting a job I hated, motivated me to quit it and go traveling in the first place.
3. You’ll attract what you need
It’s true! If you are willing to look for the lessons you are meant to learn from ending up in certain situations, you’ll always come to the realization that it may not have been what you wanted but certainly what you needed.
4. The best things can come from the worst experiences
Literally! When my husband and I came down with a horrible case of ‘Montezuma’s Revenge’ in the middle of nowhere, we grew closer than ever. Again, it’s certainly not a situation I would have wished to experience but in hindsight, it has been great for our relationship.
What helped us most in dealing with the situation described above was humor. Sometimes it’s a choice between breaking down sobbing and breaking into hysterical laughter. I’d always choose the later and I honestly haven’t laughed as much as then any other time on this entire trip.
6. Sometimes you just have to sit things out
When you are traveling you encounter many situations that are out of your control, like a power cut of indefinite time, or natural disasters like a volcano ash cloud that prevent you from continuing your journey.
Resisting this situation with lots of aversions is not helping at all so you might as well surrender to it, enjoy yourself in the meanwhile and wait for things to change in their own time. In everyday life we also sometimes hit a wall and rather than exhausting ourselves by trying to make a doorway where there simply isn’t one, it’s easier to just wait for a door to open. Everything changes and nothing lasts forever.
7. Don’t follow other people’s footsteps but find your own path
On some of our jungle hikes, the path was narrow and difficult so we walked in line one behind the other. As I had my eyes glued to the ground anyway to avoid tripping up or stepping on a snake I automatically started to follow the footsteps of whoever was walking in front of me.
Experience taught me that this isn’t a good idea as I soon realized that they were also just stumbling along not necessarily knowing the easiest path to take. Seeing the analogy to real life was a powerful realization for me. Everyone is just stumbling along trying to find their way so it’s better to walk your own way and trip over your own pitfalls than over someone else`s.
8. Price and value are two different things
Some of our best experiences didn’t cost anything and sometimes we paid a lot of money for very disappointing experiences. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be great and it’s the simple things in life that often provide us with the most valuable experiences. Try to find them and do them more often.
9. Wherever you go there you are
You can be on a beautiful island surrounded by natural beauty and have a horrible time if your mind is plagued by negative thoughts and feelings. Equally, you can be suffering from ‘Montezuma’s Revenge’ in a cold, dark, horrible place in the middle of a rainy cloud forest and feel full of love because you are in a positive state of mind.
It really doesn’t matter where you go or what your external circumstances are, in the end, it will always depend on your state of mind whether you experience happiness or not.
Sometimes I feel like adding a disclaimer when I upload photos from our travels onto Facebook because they obviously only portray the good sides of traveling. They don’t show you the disgusting toilets we sometimes have to use, the feeling of being eaten alive by mosquitoes and ants, the bed that always feels wet when you get in because of the high humidity, the agony of a 7 hour bus ride through Nicaragua with a broken air condition, the fear that sometimes creeps up on you out of nowhere, the days when you are sick and just want to be at home etc, etc, etc.
Wherever you are and whatever you do, things will never be perfect or just positive. We wouldn’t be able to enjoy the good if we didn’t have the bad to compare it with and life tends to make sure to provide us with a nice balance of both. The more we accept this and the less we try to fight it, the happier we will be able to be, regardless of what life throws at us.
What is the most important thing you have learned from traveling? Share your insights by commenting below.
Wishing you happy travels on the journey of your life.