I LOVE travelling as I get to see the beauty the world has to offer, and it gives me the opportunity to free myself and take a break from the ups and downs in life. I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit various locations around the world from a young age and I feel that the experiences I’ve gained from travelling have greatly shaped my personality to make me the person I am today. Seeing as summer is fast approaching which means that many of us will leave for vacation soon, I thought why not share the 8 invaluable lessons travelling has taught me.
1. Be grateful for what you have
As human beings, it’s natural of us to want things. We want that new dress we saw in the high street store window, we want a new pair of designer shades, we want the new phone that launched last week, we want a new designer bag, we want the best tableware… the list is endless. All our lives, we chase materialistic things because we believe that the more we have, the better we look in society. However, during my visit to countries such as India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia and Egypt, I saw people without even the basic needs such as food and access to clean water, yet they had big smiles on their faces, were happy with what they had and worked hard to improve their quality of life. Seeing these people taught me to be more thankful for what I have rather than to constantly long for the unnecessary things with hefty price tags.
2. Embrace new experiences
Every country is different, the people in each country come from different cultural backgrounds so they can often seem to be very different from us, the food is different, the clothes can be different… but the fun of travelling lies in embracing the differences without judging them beforehand because these experiences teach us things we would otherwise never learn.
3. Be confident
I never thought I’d be able to descend a steep rocky hill wearing heels in India. I never thought I’d be able to bear the unbearable heat of Florida to see all the attractions and landmarks we had planned. I never thought I’d be able to communicate with Thai or Malay people because of language barriers. And honestly speaking, I would never have discovered this ‘new’ version of me if I hadn’t been confident to accept these challenges.
4. Accept change, have alternative plans
I always like to make an itinerary before going on holidays because I like to make the most of my time to be able to visit as many places as possible in the given time. However, just like life in general, I sometimes end up changing up plans last minute because things don’t go as expected or because I end up falling in love with a place that I don’t want to leave so end up spending hours instead of just the half an hour there. I’m sure you all must relate. And honestly, it’s ok not to stick to your plan and it’s ok for things not to work out. Always keep an open mind and have a plan B and you’ll never be disappointed.
Smiling is the most powerful form of communication. It has no language, it has no barriers, but it can convey a lot both when travelling and in real life.
6. Getting lost is great!
You’re not a proper tourist if you haven’t gotten lost, they say. Now, I accept that this hasn’t happened to me very often owing to my very detailed itineraries and I’ll also accept that the thought of getting lost in a foreign country is not great, but I had great fun whenever I did lose track of my location as I got to see the real character of the country I was in.
7. We are all different, but we are all the same
You visit a new country and the first thing we realise is that everyone looks different to what we’re used to seeing, often leaving us feeling rather alienated. However, I have always found that once I start a conversation with people, I realise that we are actually very similar in terms of our experiences and outlook on life. Of course, there will be differences too but at the end of the day, it really opens your eyes to know that conversations start and end in a very similar fashion regardless of where you are.
8. Be open to learn new things
One of the major components of travelling is that you learn a great deal and you don’t realise how much you have learnt until you come back home and start sharing your experiences with people. So next time you’re out, keep an open mind and don’t ignore what’s going on around you because you never know, there may be an important life lesson for you to learn out there!