Travelling and backpacking are becoming popular, I began travelling after I graduated University in 2013 and have officially caught the bug, I have lived in 4 countries and visited 28 countries.
Travelling isn’t just about the places you visit or sights you see. I have learnt so much travelling, maybe even learnt more than in my time in education. These are some of the things I have learnt;
1) Don’t be scared of failure
Everyone is scared to fail, failing class, work, family, friends or relationships, it’s completely normal, everyone has ambitions and dreams which they want to achieve. Travelling has taught me you learn the most when you get something wrong, learn from your mistakes. When travelling can fail, miss a flight, take a wrong turn into a sketchy area, lose a possession or drinking too much you don’t remember how you got home. It’s ok to do all these things, missing a flight may lead on to a new destination or experience. Everything happens for a reason, failing makes you stronger and makes you learn new things. You shouldn’t not do things because you are scared something will go wrong, what if it works out, if you don’t try you will never know.
2) Learn from others
I have met a large number of people from all over the world, everyone has different experiences, cultures and knowledge. These are the greatest people to learn from, maybe one of your new friends has been to your next destination and can tell you the good places to visit. Christmas in different countries is one of the most surprising things I learnt whilst travelling. Everyone picks up different experience or knowledge and travelling is a great way to learn about customs and traditions in other countries aside from the country I am visiting.
3) Take risks
Travelling is taking a risk within it’s self, many people will never travel, people don’t like change. I have learnt that the greatest rewards are on the other side of fear. When someone makes the decision to go travelling they have already set themselves aside from the norm, they have already taken a risk, but this is only the start. I found taking risks a much easier process once travelling, the decision whether or not to undertake an activity, was definitely made easier by the thought that I may never get this opportunity again. Once you start thinking this way it transfers into every aspect of your life, even back home. This can become a very beneficial skill to have in all aspects of life, such as; taking a risk with a job, relationships, purchases or just activities.
4) Take Opportunities
Life is all about taking opportunities when they are presented to you, opportunities are rare, most people don’t make the most of opportunities; maybe it’s not the right time, maybe they aren’t ready, they don’t want things to change or they don’t see the potential in them. Travelling presents opportunities everyday; to do an activity, meet people or visit a place. Travelling has taught me to make the most of every opportunity as it may never happen again, it is the right time, it will be fun, every opportunity I have taken in life has lead me to this point, shaped my life allowed me to discover new things and given me memories.
5) Make Friends
Travelling has taught me that friends are important, travelling is more fun with friends, it’s no fun doing something exciting if you don’t have anyone to share memories with. Travelling has given me friends all over the world, the people you meet travelling are special friends, they never knew you growing up, but they share the same interests as you, they are travelling which in turn makes them a certain type of person! Someone you may have many things in common with, same personality, interests an way of thinking. Not everyone travels so the people who do are special, they have experiences similar to your own, the thing about travellers is they always want to make friends. You tend to become better friends with other travellers quicker than usual friends, you are sharing experiences and memories that will last a lifetime, you both shared this part of your life together and you will never forget it.
6) The greatest rewards are outside your comfort zone
This statement is 100% true, having the willingness to step outside your comfort zone will reward you with new experiences, new opportunities, knowledge and many other things. Many people are scared to step outside their comfort zone, experience new things, take a risk or step into the unknown. How do you ever know what’s out there if you don’t experience it, how do you know you won’t like it. Travelling has taught me not to be afraid of the unknown, the unknown could be better than reality, how do you know if you don’t try.
7) The world is small
Travelling has shown me how small the world is, take a three hour plane ride from most places and be in a completely different culture, country and environment. Technology has made the world small, the ability to talk to someone across the other side of the world instantly, hop on a plane or even make a phone call for free.
8) Its ok to miss people
Missing people is part of travelling, you have to leave your loved ones to embark on your adventures. When you are busy doing adventurous activities you don’t think about anything except the moment but when you are alone in your hostel room or alone for dinner, it’s ok to miss people. That’s part of travelling, growing up discovering yourself on your own. Having to think of everything no one to help you, it’s all part of the experience!
9) Its ok to have the time of your life
Like wise it’s ok to miss people it’s also ok to have a good time when people are at home. Don’t not do things because you are scared of what people at home might think learn to do things for you. Have the time of your life, drink too much, stay out all night, dance into the early hours, do things that your friends won’t believe are true, have fun and make memories.
10) Everything at home will be the same
You go back to the place you grew up but something’s changed, everything at home is exactly the same but you are completely different. You have changed you realised your home town is a tiny bubble in the world, opportunity and knowledge have changed you. Everyone is happy to see you and you are happy to see them, they ask you about your travels and you have no idea how to sum it up. They won’t be interested in the random night out you had in Thailand and unlike your travel friends who have lived through it with you, your home friends don’t care. The people in your home town have moved forward with their lives but in a different way you have! They maybe taking about families, babies or partners and all you want to talk about is that one time in… Although you are still friends and still share your memories.
11) Take time to actually see
In everyday life everyone is so busy, going from place to place, watching TV, glued to their phones that sometimes we forget to actually see our surroundings. Take in the view, enjoy time spent with people, actually see life. Travelling presents the opportunity to actually see, forget the TV, only use your phone when connected to wifi, actually talk, meet people and live. Travelling moves you away from society and media which I believe is the greatest reward, to actually see and live life is the greatest gift.
12) Have fun
Travelling taught me to have fun and laugh, not too get carried away with getting the best job, focus on the negative or gossip. Travelling let’s you live, travelling made me laugh, I didn’t realise how much I didn’t laugh until I went travelling and found myself laughing everyday. People sometimes get so caught up in life that they forget to live, forget to have fun, forget to forget about the world and forget to do fun things. Travelling has presented me with lots of what is my life moments and how did I get here moments, these are the moments we live for, the moments we will remember and tell as stories in the future.
13) Don’t worry so much
I used to be a worrier, I would worry about who I was going to sit next to at lunch in high school, walking into an unfamiliar place to meet someone or what was going to happen next. Travelling has made me become more laid back, go with the flow, not worry about who I was going to meet, just let things happen the way they are meant to be. I realised I spent so much time worrying about what people think, meet people and everything in general that sometimes I forgot to have fun. I couldn’t see what was in front of me, instead I would worry about what may never happen. I have had so much fun by just saying yes and not worrying, saying ok instead of waiting and thinking and taken in some beautiful landscapes instead of worrying about where I was going to eat for dinner.
14) Material items don’t matter
For the best part of 3 years I have lived with 23kg as my only possessions, a suitcase with the same clothes, same shoes and same personal items. I found something strange when I returned home to my wardrobes full of clothes and bedroom full of possessions, I still wore my 23kg of clothes and didn’t touch my wardrobe or bedroom full of things. I realised I was and everyone is materialistic, worrying about whether they had the newest iPhone, news designer bag or most recent shoes. Now every time I go shopping and see clothes etc I think that’s half a plane ticket, a meal in Thailand or a nights stay in Colombia. I leant material things don’t matter, you can get so caught up in buying the best things, then a year or even six months later you don’t like that top you brought, there is a new iPhone and so on.
15) Interesting people have great stories to tell
Travellers have great stories to tell, stories about their previous travels, home towns and general experiences. I find talking to other travellers fascinating and you realise the more you travel the more stories you have to tell, you become the person with great stories and experiences.
16) Keeping a diary is important
Keeping a diary is the best thing I ever did whilst travelling especially for long term travel, you will remember the main points but you won’t remember every detail you did everyday for a period of 6 months. Bringing back great memories ensure you never forget anything.
17) Live life for you
Travelling let’s you decide your future, when you are alone and away from your major influencers, you make decisions for yourself. You decide where to travel to next, how long you are going to be away for, what you are going to do tomorrow. Travelling may even allow you to decide what you are going to do for the rest of your life, let you make decisions which best suit you.
18) Home is only a plane ride away
The most important thing I learnt whilst travelling is that home is only a plane ride away, if something goes wrong or you are unhappy, you can be home in a day. No need to put up with things you don’t like, trouble or problems. You can always go home and everything will be ok!