Have you ever wondered what life lessons you can learn from traveling around the world? For me, traveling has been a transformative journey that opened my eyes to new perspectives and helped me grow in ways I never imagined.
When I first started traveling, one of my close friends kept asking me about the life lessons learned along the way, but I didn’t give much thought to it. Looking back now, I can see just how much I’ve grown and how my travels have shaped my outlook on life.
In this blog article, I want to share some of my personal experiences and the life lessons I learned from traveling. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or just starting out, I believe that you’ll find something that speaks to you. Traveling offers life lessons that can’t be taught in a classroom.
So, join me on this journey, and let’s see what the world has in store for us.
Travel & Life Lessons
From practicing patience and stepping out of your comfort zone, to realizing that home can be more than just a physical place and learning the value of experiences over material possessions, the life lessons you’ll learn while traveling are endless.
Unfortunately, you’ll also come face to face with the bittersweet reality of missing people and things along the way. But even through the difficulties, you’ll learn to celebrate differences and appreciate the world in a new light. Get ready to be surprised, because travel can be both exhilarating and challenging.
1. Patience is a Virtue on the Road
Traveling can be a wild ride, with unexpected twists and turns at every turn. Delays, lost luggage, long lines, language barriers, and so on are all part of the adventure. Sounds familiar? Then you know how these challenges and life lesson can test our patience.
The truth is, a lack of patience can quickly lead to frustration and anger, making it harder to make good decisions. However, with each challenge, we have the chance to improve our patience and become more resilient. Believe me, it takes some practice, but if we can’t control it, why should we stress?
So, next time you face a long wait or unexpected issue, take a deep breath and shift your focus. You’ll soon discover that you’re better equipped than you think to handle any situation. A quick example, pack a swimsuit in your carry-on to make the most of your first day at the beach, even if your luggage is delayed.
2. Home is Not Just a Place
As a full-time traveler, you’ll sometimes miss the comfort of a permanent home, but you’ll soon discover that home is much more than just a physical place. People you meet on your journey can become your home too, whether it’s through shared experiences or simple conversations. Trust me, you’ll never feel truly alone on the road, even if you want to be.
Growing up in different places, I’ve often been asked where I’m from and where my home is. To be honest, I always struggled with answering that question. But over time, I’ve realised that home isn’t just a city or country, it’s a blend of things and peoplethat bring comfort and security. So, my cheesy response would be that home is a feeling and the special individuals you carry with you wherever you go.
I hope that each and every traveller out there finds their own sense of home, whether it’s a person, a place, or something else.
3. We are Small in a Big World
Travelling can have a profound impact on us, and sometimes, it can be a humbling reminder of the immense power of Mother Nature and our own relative smallness. We learned this firsthand during our time in Mexico when we faced not one but two natural disasters – hurricanes and one massive earthquake.
I’ll never forget the moment the earthquake hit while we were staying in Puerto Escondido. Early in the morning, we were jolted awake as the walls around us shook like crazy. It took a few seconds to fully grasp what was happening. But, when the next wave of shaking started, we both realized that our third-floor hostel room in a questionable building was not the safest place to be. We quickly joined the other guests on the street, trying to ignore the concern about the building’s structural integrity.
It was a nerve-wracking few days, as we waited for the all-clear after the tsunami alert was issued. And let me tell you, earthquake sickness is no joke – I felt dizzy, sick, and disoriented for days after the event. This is thought to be caused by changes to the inner ear and the body’s balance mechanisms.
This is one of the life lessons that left us feeling humble and thankful for every day we have. It was a powerful reminder that we’re only human after all, unable to control everything that happens around us.
4. Saying Goodbye to Your Comfort Zone
Traveling often brings unexpected twists and turns, but that’s what makes it so thrilling. Say goodbye to rigid plans, hello to embracing the unknown and let go of expectations.
Sticking to a strict itinerary can limit your experiences and prevent you from discovering hidden gems. Trust me, some of the best memories come from deviating from the plan. So, go with the flow and see where life takes you. You never know what amazing things await!
Travel has also a funny way of highlighting just how much you appreciate the little comforts of home. A hot shower, a functioning toilet, and even your favorite food can take on a whole new level of appreciation. I still chuckle thinking about some of the less-than-ideal toilet experiences we had in Koh Phangan and more generally Asia, but let me tell you, the first week back in Europe, I felt nothing but gratitude every time I used a proper toilet. See, it’s all about perspectives.
5. Choosing Experiences over Things
When you travel around the world long-term, you learn to travel light and pack only what you need in a suitcase. And it’s far from easy. But the real life lesson I learned from traveling is that experiences are more valuable than possessions.
Your memories will last a lifetime, but that brand tee-shirt you bought on your trip will eventually wear out. Can you remember what you got for your 8th birthday? I can’t either… but I will for example always remember the rush of excitement and the people I was with when I went paragliding for the first time.
6. Celebrating Diversity
Traveling is a chance to broaden your horizons and learn about different cultures, beliefs, and lifestyles. But, it’s also a reminder that not everyone is like you, and that’s totally okay! Diversity makes the world more interesting.
When you meet new people on the road, try to keep an open mind and learn about their stories. It’s amazing how much you can learn from others and gain new perspectives. But, remember not to judge as you can never fully understand someone’s experiences unless you’ve gone through them yourself.
Don’t let language barriers hold you back from connecting with others. A smile and a gesture can sometimes go a long way. Sure, it’s helpful to know a few basic phrases in the local language, but don’t be afraid to reach out with a smile. You might be surprised at how much it can mean to someone.
7. The Challenge of Missing
Travelling often involves leaving behind familiar faces and places. So, I won’t lie, you’ll miss things, you’ll miss places, and you’ll miss people. Saying goodbye never gets easier, and you’ll miss out on a lot of events in the lives of your loved ones. It’s one of the hard life lessons, but you’ll learn to deal with the ups and downs of being apart.
Instead of focusing on what you’re missing, focus on the quality of the moments you have with those you care about. Cherish every moment and make the most of your time together. The truth is, travel changes you and everything around in ways that can be difficult to adjust to, and for many long-term travellers, returning home can be a struggle. But embrace the changes, as they can be for the better.
8. Traveling Isn’t Always a Breeze
One of the last life lessons (for now). People see all the stunning photos and hear the amazing stories and think it’s all sunshine and rainbows, but it’s not always a walk in the park. Don’t let the illusion of a carefree life on the road fool you. There’s the physical fatigue, the mental strain… And don’t even get me started on culture shock.
But even with all that, I wouldn’t want to live any other way. The highs are just so high. And even when I hit the lows, I know the memories of the good times will always be with me. Sure, traveling comes with its own set of challenges and rewards, just like any other lifestyle, but it’s no coincidence that lots of people are falling in love with it. There is something special about it, don’t you think?
Final Thoughts on Life Lessons
Travel has a way of surprising us and teaching us important life lessons. From patience to perspective, breaking out of our comfort zones to appreciating the beauty in diversity, the road has so much to offer. The life lessons we learn from travel are simply incomparable to what we could learn from a book or a classroom.
So, whether you’re planning your next big adventure or just daydreaming about it, remember that travel has the power to shape us and enrich our lives. Go ahead, travel around the world, embrace the journey and all the life lessons it has to teach you. It’s all part of the adventure.
And don’t hesitate to share your own life lessons and experiences in the comments, as we can always continue to learn from each other!