7 Things Travelling Has Taught Me
People travel for all kinds of reasons. Some do it for pure fun, some because of their business. My story is somewhere in between, I have traveled a lot for various reasons. Anyway, it is not important why you travel, but what you learn on the way. The road is really one big school of life that makes you mature fast. You learn a lot and you become ready to apply all that knowledge once you attain a more sedentary lifestyle. I want to share these life lessons with you, so here are the seven most important things traveling for many years has taught me.
People are the same across the globe
I think there is no ethnic or religious group that doesn’t have negative stereotypes attached to it. Mass media further disseminate these uncorroborated stereotypes so people develop a disliking for this or that nation. Once you have traveled a lot, you can form your own views about each and every person you’ve met. The conclusion is always the same: most people are simple folk who just want to live their lives and be happy. They do not hate you nor do they inherently want to harm you. They are more likely to go around their daily business without noticing you. In other cases, they will approach you and try to help you if they notice you are having trouble with something in their country.
This is true for all cultures I’ve had contact with, from the USA to East Asia. Regardless of their standard of living, people have their own goal that they relentlessly pursue. For many, this is their family whom they cherish more than anything. Just like you or me.
It’s a big world out there…
No matter how long you travel and how many places you visit, there are always going to be amazing landscapes and breathtaking views that you have missed. The world is so big and you are so small that it is impossible to see and experience all. If I stay in Paris, for instance, I have a slim chance of seeing all the city sights, let alone those in the surrounding counties. Yes, I will visit the Eiffel tower, but might miss that cozy little café of historical significance. This inability to experience destinations to their fullest conveys the sense of world grandeur. That is why it is important to focus when traveling, just as focus is important in everyday life.
…but a small village
The world might be a scary and a big place, but the people are what brings it together. I have made friends on almost every continent and they gave me contacts from their friends into whose countries I was traveling to. This expanded my network of friends to such an extent that I started meeting strangers in far-away places who knew Isabel from Granada who was my acquaintance, for instance. The more people you meet and make contact with, the less vast and unfriendly this world appears. After all, if we all knew each other, there wouldn’t be wars.
A confidence boost
The most surprising thing I gained from traveling is the fact that my confidence and self-esteem rose dramatically. It’s probably because you have to plan everything on your own and be self-dependent. The only person you can rely on while on the road, apart from the friendly people who are willing to help, is your own expertise.
Its majesty, the wheel
Yes, the modern global community is linked by air traffic and low-cost airlines. But traveling by plane is not real traveling, in the sense that you do not gain any knowledge on your trip. In order to really get to know any part of the world, you have to use wheels, a bike, a rent-a-car or a caravan; it is for you to choose, but you have to be down to earth when traveling.
Oh yeah, don’t forget to keep whatever you drive in pristine condition by using some cleaning utensils like the ones Hoselink offers. You would be surprised how well people react when they see a clean car or a caravan rolls up their street.
A change is nothing to be afraid of
Traveling is essentially the breaking of the daily routine. This can be scary for many, but for others, this is precisely the reason why they decide to hit the road. Always sleeping in a different place and constantly meeting new people abroad is nothing to be scared of, but rather something to look forward to. Just because some place and its inhabitants are different than your country, it doesn’t mean that they are crooked, dangerous or evil, as some portray them. Quite the contrary, the more hardships one nation is exposed to, the friendlier they will be towards you. The nicest people I met were in the Middle East and in the Balkans.
Things will not always work out
One thing that is associated with travel is planning. You simply have to plan everything to the slightest of details. This is something everybody probably already knows, but what is new for rookie travelers is the fact that their plan will without exception fail. The airplane is going to be late and you’ll miss your connection, that restaurant you ventured into another part of town will be closed and you are likely to run out of money. Things like these happen and you have to be ready to adjust. Preparation starts from the mindset. Be prepared for everything so nothing bad will happen!
Travelling broadens the mind. The more places you discover, the more will you get to know yourself. So, where are you traveling to next?
Mia Johnson is a freelance writer with a ten-year long career in journalism. She has written extensively about health, fitness, and lifestyle. A native to Melbourn, she now lives in Sidney with her 3 dogs where she spends her days writing and taking care of her 900 square feet garden.