10 Life Lessons Travel Taught Me

Travel is never a matter of money but courage

Travel is part of everyone’s life. People travel for different reasons; for work, to celebrate festivals, for pilgrimage, for holidays, to relax, to meet family etc. Well I am talking about travel where you embark upon a journey with no end in mind, a journey to wander and discover the world, a journey that makes you meet you. Travel is a funny thing. It can be rough, tiresome, and grueling. It can push you to your ultimate limits and make you want to scream in frustration. It’s all the small parts that make up a greater whole. The feeling is almost unexplainable.

Well, whatever is your motivation to pack your bags and head out; it is for sure that you will be embarking upon an experience that will give you life lessons like no other.

There are lessons I don’t think I would have learnt if not for travel. Traveling gives a person an absurd kind of high that is very hard to let go of. It’s what I keep chasing. Let me share what travel has taught me so far

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1. I learnt that I would have never gone if I waited for someone to come along

Travel is the most enjoyable when you have your own company. You can completely own that moment and experience everything the way it is. I have simply looked at surroundings the way they are and experienced much joy within myself. I have woken up without any travel plan and ended my day watching sunset on a hillock 500 kms away. Such moments have empowered me with freedom and discover my take charge moment.  For me, traveling solo is exciting and challenging, and an amazing way to meet people and to see and do things you might not do if you were with someone else or a group. The trip you take will be exactly the trip you want to take; you can do whatever you want, whenever you want. It is, in a way, completely self-indulgent, but it is also a way to learn so much about yourself and about the countries you’re travelling in.

I remember someone telling me, “It’s better to be alone than to want to be alone.” If you are considering travelling solo, all I can say is go, go, go. You won’t regret it

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2. I learnt that the best roads to travel are the roads less travelled

Every time I sit down with a map to plan my next travel, I can continue to gaze at certain spots and yet not be convinced as touristy places can consume all the energy that I gather to explore. Driving through Gnanthang Valley and Zuluk village in Sikkim where the population is less than 500 people made me experience so much silence and serenity around. Roads less traveled can be difficult but leave you with much introspective moments that travel can offer. Uncertainties, surprises, scanty resources and struggle to meet basic requirements made my travel more exciting.

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3. I learnt that the more you explore new zones the more you get comfortable with unknown

I was pretending to be confident but was extremely lost standing at a bus stop in the busy commercial street of Los Angeles when I found a Big African woman dressed in formal attire without any expression on her face approach me and ask for direction to  reach her hotel. Alas! we were sailing in the same boat. On our quest to explore surroundings and picturesque landscape of Beverly Hills we had walked up 15 Kms away from the hotel with no map and drained phone in hand. We not only figured out together how far we had come from the hotel and what we were doing there but went out to explore that area together topped up with an extremely fun dinner. Unless you challenge your limits you will not know what lies on the other side.
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4. I learnt that each day can fill every drop of life into joy; if you have an open mind

In order to become truly open minded, you need to find yourself in situations that make you feel uncomfortable. Odds are that you will experience these type of situations whilst traveling. Most of our society tends to be pretty close minded and it’s only when you leave your cushy little comfort zone that you start to open your mind and acknowledge other people’s viewpoints on life. Having an open mind whilst traveling will probably help you have a better time. You will devour new experiences and food, and meet people you would have never thought of meeting. Because if you’re not open to new experiences then what is the point in travel anyway? You won’t get that fantastic sense of accomplishment and hey, you can’t knock it till you’ve tried it

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5. I learnt how to be self-dependent; I am more capable than I ever imagined

More often than not we tell ourselves that we are not capable of doing certain things. We automatically allow fear to stand in the way or we rely on others to make things happen for ourselves. I realized how capable I am and that I truly can do anything I want. It  might sound cliché, but it’s true. I don’t have to wait around for someone to make it happen when I can make it happen on my own. It helped me to alter my way of thinking and to believe in myself so much more. So now when I want to go somewhere and no one else can come, I will book a ticket, pack my bags and go anyway. Enough words and enough arguing. Just live by example and soon you’ll have people on your side when they see your results and how passionate you are. No need to “convince” them. Just show them that you are there, tell them how you got there, and they will start to realise that maybe you aren’t that crazy after all.

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6. I learnt that everything shall be tried at least once

When I travel I am ready to try everything new that comes my way. I don’t hold back and tend to give a go to everything. I usually feel that I may not be able to try it again hence must try this very moment. This motto has made me try many activities and new food. If I do not try I would never know how does it feel and taste. Be a risk taker, but within reason and live life to the fullest.  You will be amazed at how many more adventures you will be by simply saying yes more than no. Give it a go and try it at least once

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7. I learnt to  accept what the day throws at me, take it and moved on.

Don’t dwell too long on how your day shattered around you. Or, that you missed another flight or train or bus, ended up with bedbugs or bad hotel, immigration took longer than you thought, or the airlines lost your bag (again). There is always another day. Even if this one goes to pieces, you’ll have a new chance to try again with the next morning. Pick yourself up, examine your errors, make a new plan, and get back into the fight. As for today? Crack out the day’s small victories (an hour-long nap, clean frame photo, rainbow, sudden rain, fantastic sunset, satisfying meal, extra bag of peanuts on a flight, stranger holding the train for you).

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8. I learnt we never remember what people do for us, we remember how they made us feel

When you travel, you meet so many people. You form many alliances, some for a short period of time, some that can last a lifetime. You learn that people will come and go in your life. The ones that leave an imprint are the ones who made you feel either really good or really bad. The ones who you laughed with until your belly hurts and will forever hold dear in your heart. They are those genuine souls who you know will be your friends for life. You also remember those who you only had a brief encounter with but who had such a beautiful aura about them. It’s nice to know there are genuine people out there, and it’s a blessing to meet them. On the other hand, the ones that gave us bad vibes or made us feel uncomfortable in any kind of way are also people we remember. From learning this, I try to be my best to consciously be aware of how I can make another person feel. For I know this is how they will always remember me. As an old saying goes, it’s not where you go, it’s who you meet along the way.

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9. I learnt we don’t need most of the stuff that we collect

When you live on the road out of your suitcase/backpack you realize how little we need to live and still have all the joys along the way. I started to detach with much stuff I have collected over years most of which I never used. Travel taught me that how much rubbish we accumulate under the illusion that we need so many things to live. Freeing myself from my possessions has enabled me to experience more. I’m far more focused now on what experiences or new food I could try in a country/new place for the same price of so many unwanted things i bought before or during travelling. I’d much rather keep the same tattered wardrobe of clothes in my backpack until they’re unwearable, instead of buying many pairs of shoes, bags, watches, clothes etc Freeing myself from my possessions helped me to evolve more my sense of self.

 

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10. I learnt that travel is my education for the rest of my life

They say its better to go and see than hear about it thousand times. Its very true that when you travel you can learn about that country so much more than you would remember what you learnt in Geography or History class. The Currency, Capital city, Language, Local culture, economy, climate, historical monuments, historical incidents and living conditions are best learnt from natives of the country by walking around the place. Seeing living conditions of people in Cambodia and Bangladesh made me feel I was too deserving and made my heart fill with abundant gratitude and tolerance. We complaint way too much about what we get and travel can change that perspective as you move beyond documentaries and newspapers and actually see it yourself. Visiting a plethora of countries and being exposed to such an abundance of different viewpoints, ways of life and thinking have taught me that my point of view will not always be agreed with.

What has travel taught you?

66 thoughts on “10 Life Lessons Travel Taught Me”

  1. I love your gorgeous photos – what adventures you have been on 🙂 I love that advice you received in your first point as well – so true – better to go alone than to wish to BE alone, made me laugh aha!

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  2. Wholeheartedly agreed! A friend told me once to never say no in your first two weeks in a new place (with common sense). And it has been great advice for myself. I agree too in that we become so much more capable having to work out issues while solo traveling.

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    1. Well thats a great advice too but I would not suggest you generalize and say yes to everything. Of course you need to weigh consequences. Specially when you travel solo 🙂

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    1. Ha ha. I totally understand. This picture is from my recent trip to Siem Reap in Cambodia, Fish spa is another thing that I tried for first time during this travel. May be try that if not done yet 🙂

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  3. Absolutely true! My travels taught me that people around us are mostly good people and the fact that humanity isn’t really dead. Keep up the good work and keep travelling.

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  4. I love this list! Getting ready to head out on my own big adventure here in a few weeks. I’m so excited for all the lessons I’ll learn along the way!

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  5. For someone who is coking to terms with the fact that solo travel is in my near future, and is terrified about it. this was an amazing read! So positive and motivational! You have basically addressed all my questions and niggling concerns! I hope solo travel does for me what it has done for you 🙂

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  6. ‘I learnt that the more you explore new zones the more you get comfortable with unknown’ – this is SO incredibly true and probably the most important thing I’ve learned myself. I’ve found that people who travel less or not at all are generally more into their comfort zones and are so afraid to try new stuff. So well written! 🙂

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  7. I really like the point you make with #5 about telling ourselves that we can’t do something – I think that is the lesson that resonated with me most. So often we’re like “nonono I can’t go there/do that/eat this” that we create this invisible barrier when we tell ourselves that something isn’t possible. I mean, its important to be realistic about expectations and sometimes you need to say, “well maybe I can’t do this, but I CAN do this other cool thing!”

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  8. B eautiful post and totally relatable. People around me, always question why I love traveling so much. It is truly courageous to go out of your comfort zone and definitely a life long experience. 🙂

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  9. This is awesome! I feel the same way! It’s true that travel is one of the things that make you richer. You learn things about cultures, the world but most importantly, yourself. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Justine
    theiridescentwings.com

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  10. I really loved this post and can relate to a lot of what you wrote. Solo travel can teach you things you will never learn at school. I agree that anyone who considers it should just go. Don’t wait for others to come along. Life is too short for that :). It taught me too to be independent and flexible and take life as it comes day by day

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  11. I enjoyed reading your blog. Those that you mentioned are all true. I learn more when I travel rather than just watching it on TV or reading it on History Books. I will never get tired of travelling. Every travel experiences add life in my journey while I am still alive.

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    1. True that. For sure sitting in one place you can imagine it but going and seeing there makes all the difference. I look forward to all that travel has to still teach for the rest of my life

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  12. Letting go of Possessions resonates ALOT with me. Thank you for the reminder. Thank you for your honesty and for inspiring me to continue on this path that I started 10 years ago. My first passport just expired (10 years goes by so fast when you are living life to the fullest and seeing the world) and I purchased another one immediately because it’s such an important part of my life, Travel. ❤ lots of love and luck to you! Where you headed next?

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    1. Hey Ariana you inspired me with your words too. I am sure the renewed passport is JUMBO this time. As they say a true traveler never intends to arrive, much love for your future travels. my next adventure is living in monastries in Japan and cycling around the eastern Europe. I am following your blog immediately to know your future travels. All the best

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  13. I really feel you on this post. Two in particular! The one about waiting for people to do something and the other about realising how self capable you are – this is some of the biggest ones for me! Love to you girl because it’s good to highlight the deeper side of what it means to travel.

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  14. I really love these lessons! Your first one about you’d never have gone anywhere if you waited for someone to come along really spoke to me. My wife and I have offered various family and friends to do a group trip but they always seem to backout … and we go anyway! I also have a friend who claims he’d travel more if he wasn’t single, and I feel bad that he’s missing out.

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    1. Hey Bruce there are many out there like your friend who have excuses why they can’t travel. If you have the calling you will go anyways. My next solo trip is coming soon and I am very excited about it.

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  15. Your post make so many significant points. Would have to say that all of them ring true. Life gets to a whole new plane after travel this way. Spoken like a true traveller!

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  16. Very valid points! Esp begins with your first ever point itself! Some on my exquisite trips were indeed solo! And yeah, learning has never been more ever than it was during my travels!

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  17. So many beautiful lessons. I suffered from number 1! Waited 6 years for an ex-by to come travelling with me. He didn’t so we went our separate ways. I’ve never looked back and now my passport is full!

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  18. I absolutely agree with so many of those points. Especially about trying everything once and being more comfortable with the unknown. I personally have grown a lot in the 14 years travelling.

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  19. All of these are so true! I found myself nodding my head and agreeing with every one. Travel is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves, if we’re able. This just reminds me why I started, and kept going!

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  20. I agree 100% that if you were to wait for someone to come traveling with you then you would never go, in fact I don’t even ask anyone to come with me! From a photographers perspective traveling to rarer places that others don’t travel to gives you unique Instagram pictures that no one else has. I find that travel in a country that doesn’t speak English often puts you in uncomfortable situations, where you have no idea what is going on or need help finding something. Something I need to do more often when traveling is try more unusual food, I see from your picture you enjoy the local food!

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  21. Driving through Gnanthang Valley and Zuluk village in Sikkim though a less travelled one but I also want to take that kind of road. You are true that during travelling you can learn many traditions, cultures practically which has deep impact on our mind. While travelling we make new friends which are forever ones.

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  22. Wonderful lessons here. And I agree with pretty much all of them! I think it is especially true about what you realise you can handle on your own, as well as the more you try, the more you are able to cope with the unknown. Sometimes you have to push a few boundaries to open your eyes and mind to new ways of life, new things, new activities or simply new personal limits. Love this article, very true. I waited for so long to have someone to travel with, and I regret that. I’m now married but my husband isn’t so keen on travel for travel’s sake. So I’m going on a solo trip at the end of the year!

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    1. That’s an awesome decision Juliette. One shall not give up passions trying to adjust with the other person post marriage. Living the life you want to live will keep you engaged with your partner longer. Your love for Iceland is so compelling. I am waiting to read your feedback on the trip and plan one myself 🙂 . Keep Travelling. Followed you

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  23. I agree about getting a high off traveling. It has been the only thing to calm my anxiety and depression way down and keep me going! Glad you have learn to take away the good things of travel too

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  24. Very honest and insightful article. It’s interesting that this week we shared two articles very similar about the effect of travel on our lives.
    “You can completely own that moment and experience everything the way it is.” I totally loved this sentence of yours and I couldn’t agree more. It took me a long time to learn to enjoy my alone time, but now I couldn’t ever give it up. Enjoy the road!

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