Travel is great for teaching us great life lessons about the places we experience and even ourselves. We have been traveling for about six months now and have learned a lot about the world and ourselves through our new found nomadic lifestyle. We hope that as we continue to travel and move around the world we continue to grow and learn. Here is just a glimpse of some of the lessons travel has taught me.
“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley
1. The world isn’t so scary and most people are inherently good.
We have come across many people on our travels and though some may be rude while others are friendly and more approachable we found that most people in the world are inherently good. They are people just like you working day to day worrying about their families and going about their busy lives.
2. The best way to see a city is by foot and with no particular itinerary in mind.
This is the best way to see a new city, period. Though we do love having a goal in mind such as when we made it a point to go to the Munich Rezidenz during our stay in Munich. This was lots of fun, but getting lost and finding something completely new and unexpected is a treat. Not everything requires meticulous planning while you travel. Seeing a city like a local is a lot of fun too. So be sure to leave a day in your next trip with the sole purpose of exploring by foot with no particular objective, but to just take in the city itself.
3. You don’t need to be able to speak another language in order to travel the world.
This is perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions of travel. When we first decided to sell everything and travel the globe our friends and family were concerned for us for numerous reasons. Besides the obvious worry that we’d gone crazy one of the biggest questions was always how we would get around only being able to speak English. Well, we have not had much trouble with communication. Like I said in lesson number 1: most people are inherently good and will even try to work with you. We touched on this topic in another post A Haircut in Another Language.
4. You would be surprised by what you are capable of.
Travel teaches you what you are capable of handling and what your limits are. You’ll find yourselves in some odd situations that you may have never found yourself in when you slip into the spontaneity of traveling. Like when you walk off a train in the middle of the night in a country where you don’t speak the language, you can’t find your hotel, oh, and did I mention your phone is dead. How do you handle this situation? You learn patience and how to roll with the punches when living on the road.
5. To live in the moment.
Travel has taught me to live in the now. When traveling I don’t have a whole lot of time to worry about yesterday. I forgot about all of my cares when I found myself caught in a festival in Italy. I got off the bus to people dressed up as pirates and princesses and they are throwing confetti and silly string in the streets. There is an old fashioned street puppet show to my right and people dancing in the street to my left. There is no time to think of other cares or worries. I forget it all and join in on the fun. I throw confetti at Chris, we dance in the street, and roar and clap with the crowd as a cannon shoots off in the distance. Travel for the sake of travel or, if nothing, for the sake of learning how to live in the moment.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust
6. Travel teaches you acceptance.
While traveling and living out of our backpacks we have come across many different people. People who are kind and who open their homes to you. We have made many friends in bars and pubs across Europe these six months. They share their stories with us and taught us that we are all the same.
After having met the new found friends on our journey we have tried to show acceptance to others. To offer our stories to others and to be more open minded of other beliefs and cultures.
7. Failure is not so scary. You only fail when you don’t try.
We sold everything we own and took a one way flight to Europe to live our lives as Nomads. Could we have failed? Yes. Could we still fail? Of course. Isn’t that scary? No, because we can always go back to the way our lives where before we left it all behind. Would we want to? Probably not, but if we had to we could. Failing is not the enemy and it isn’t bad. Failing teaches us. In the words of Thomas Edison “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Learn from your failures and use them to help you grow.
8. Life is short so do what makes you happy.
People have begun telling Chris and I how they wish they can travel the way we do or just travel more than they do in general. The secret is that you can. Do what it is that will make you happy. Do what you want and get what you want out of life (to a point, of course). Make a plan, set aside a travel fund, start making major changes in your life, and do what you need to to get what you want. It is possible all you have to do is try…what is the worst that could happen?…you fail?
9. Travel has taught me how to live.
“If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness, and fears.” – Glenn Clark
My last and most important lesson that travel has taught me is how to live my life and be the person I want to be.
I hope that you’ll find some lessons and inspiration from my words here. What have you learned from your travels?