There is a saying that, “travel is the best education” and I definitely believe it to be true, but it’s not just learning about languages and landmarks. The education you gain from travelling is what you learn about yourself. You learn what excites you, how you interact with others, and how you handle the challenges that come with the unfamiliar.
When travel is your teacher, there’s really no end to the lessons you learn. There will always be an alternate perspective to consider, different experiences to take in, and a new facet of culture to enjoy.
I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons from my travels. Here are some of my favourites:
- Be Patient With Yourself and With Others
Travelling can be the ultimate pressure cooker. Delayed flights, accommodation mishaps, lost items, and cultural differences can all derail your plans. But they also make for the most memories stories to share when you’re back at home. You won’t always handle every situation perfectly, but sometimes, those imperfect moments are what make it all the more memorable.
- Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Comfort zones are as diverse as the people they surround, as they’re built by different experiences, opinions and beliefs and are tested under different circumstances. Everyone, however, can benefit by stepping outside of his or hers. It might be a bit uncomfortable at first, but experiencing the unfamiliar firsthand will give you a deeper understanding of and appreciation for how others live.
- Enjoy the Quiet Moments (Away From Your Screens)
We’re all ‘on’ all the time. Even when we’re relaxing, we’re still engaging with photos, cat videos, and endless newsfeeds on our phones. Travelling teaches you to just enjoy being somewhere in the moment. Remember to embrace the quiet without relying on your phone to fill the void. It will fill itself.
- Act Like a Kid Every Now and Then
You probably didn’t realise it back then, but life didn’t get more carefree than childhood vacations. These days, you have to act like an adult most of the time, but travel is still the perfect excuse to reconnect with the curiosity, wonder, and the fun of kid-dom. Don’t get caught up in whether your selfie stick looks stupid or you’re acting foolishly, just enjoy the moment.
- Challenge Yourself Physically, No Matter What Shape You’re In
Use travel as a motivator to push yourself physically. Yes, it can be tiring, but it’s also a great way to prove just how capable you are. Take on new challenges – whether that’s exploring a city by foot for a few hours or climbing a mountain. Some of my favourite travel experiences came from activities that challenged me physically, including climbing Mount Fuji, hiking in South Korea, and trying Black Water Rafting in a cave for the first time in New Zealand. We were absolutely exhausted, but the feeling of accomplishment was always well worth it.
- Challenge Yourself Socially, No Matter How Awkward You Feel
Travelling is filled with opportunities for social awkwardness, like saying the wrong thing in a foreign language, making a cultural snafu, or even just trying to meet new people when you travel solo. Embrace the awkwardness. Last year, I was invited to a wedding in India and I needed formal Indian attire for the ceremony. I had absolutely no idea whether what I picked was right or in style but in the end, it didn’t even matter. I had an amazing time, took lots of fun pictures and best of all, got to be there for my friends on their special day.
- Face Your Fears Head On
Life typically does not present you with opportunities to face your biggest fears. Travelling, however, does. There have been times when my fears have almost taken over completely, but testing yourself proves you are capable of whatever you want to accomplish. Who wouldn’t want more of that feeling in their life?