In my opinion, traveling is one of the best ways to spend your time and money. Leaving home and visiting somewhere new truly opens your eyes to the amazing world we live in. When you travel, you see so many things — both good and bad — that change the way you view everything. You will learn so much about the world, and about yourself. Here are ten insights you will get from traveling.
1. One of the greatest character traits you can possess is being adaptable.
When you travel, you learn to be adaptable. You have to be adaptable. You are dealing with people who may not speak your language, you are sleeping in places nowhere near as comfy as your own bed, and you are probably eating things you didn’t even realize were edible. You will be out of your comfort zone but you will have to deal with it, and in the end, you will be better off for it. By getting away from what you know, you open your eyes and your mind to the way other people live and you will realize that there are so many different ways of doing things, and none of them are the “right” or “wrong” way. At the end of the day, you will realize that when you are able to adjust, you will have the world at your fingertips.
2. Nature is almighty.
Yes, people have done impressive things. But nature can do much more than people have ever done. Nature is unbelievably powerful and you really begin to understand it when you travel. I have found that when you travel, you tend to be outside for the majority of the day. Sleeping is one of the only times you are actually inside (and even that can be an exception). You will be amazed by the crashing sea when you sail across the ocean, you will be speechless when you reach the top of the mountain you’ve been struggling to climb, and you will be blown away when you watch an active volcano spew lava right before your eyes. The pounding waterfalls, endless sand dunes, vast oceans, and steep cliffs will leave you astonished. You will realize how unbelievable the earth is and you will feel a deep connection to it. Nature is almighty.
3. The best things in life are free.
No matter where you go, the memories that usually stick with you the most are the simplest ones. The deep conversation you had with the random person you just happened to sit next to on a bus, the hike you challenged yourself to and accomplished, the best wave you ever caught surfing, or the day you spent just wandering around a new city. You will see first-hand that money doesn’t buy happiness. You will interact with people who live much less luxuriously than you are used to, but you will realize that they are no less happy. You don’t need to spend a ton of money to have a good time. In fact, it is usually the simplest of days in which you have no expectations that tend to turn out to be some of the most special of days.
4. Worrying doesn’t help.
I have met a lot of people in my life that spend so much time worrying; it baffles me. It actually makes me laugh. First of all, most people worry about minor things that do not matter at all. Second of all, people are usually worrying about something they have no control over. A little worrying is healthy, but worrying about whether your shoes match your outfit, or if your haircut looks good, makes absolutely no difference. When you travel, you are forced to let things go. You have to expect that things are not going to go exactly as you planned (that is if you even have a plan). You also become enlightened to the fact that things always seem to work out one way or another. Obsessive worrying is pointless. It doesn’t do a single thing to make the situation better, it just stresses you, and everyone around you, out. You will be much happier, and healthier, once you start letting things play out as they will.
5. Being kind is everything.
Being kind is not something you necessarily learn from traveling, but it is definitely reinforced when you travel. The one person who takes the time to show you where to go when you are lost, or the one person who gives you some of their water when you run out on your strenuous hike, or the one person who just smiles at you when you are feeling hopeless, is everything to you at that moment. You will realize that being kind and being there for each other is all we have in this crazy world we live in. The kindness of one person can touch endless amounts of people. When you are in a desperate situation, it is the one kind person who will inspire you and make you realize how amazing people can be. If nothing else, just be kind.
6. It doesn’t matter where you go, it’s all about who you are with.
One important thing I have learned from traveling is the fact that who you spend your time with is essential. Sharing experiences with open-minded, positive people is half the excitement of traveling. You want to be surrounded by people who make you feel good and alive and inspired. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you are, it is who you are with.
7. Every day is special.
When you travel, every day is so different. You will realize just how much you can accomplish in a single day. You can spend months at home and know almost exactly how each day will pan out, while you can spend months on the road and have endless possibilities as to where that road will take you. You will see and do so much in such a short amount of time and you will be so inspired not to waste any of your precious days. While traveling, every single day is so special and so meaningful. You will not take any time for granted.
8. Positivity is key.
There is not much to it. Be positive. Things are not always going to work out in your favor, life is not always going to be so nice and forgiving, and you will not always get what you want. It’s okay. Everything will work out fine as long as you know that it will. Stay positive and the world will open up to you.
9. People are people.
It is a funny thing to think that some people are so unsure about “those other people.” People can be afraid of other cultures and make assumptions about people that live differently than themselves. What I have found from traveling is that people are people. It does not matter where you go. You will find nice people, jealous people, greedy people, generous people, lonely people, friendly people, and every other type of person anywhere you go. Some people stereotype groups of people as cold, or nice, or ugly, or good-looking, or whatever else. While stereotypes may apply to some people in a group, there are always tons of people who break that stereotype. You cannot classify any one group of people as one thing solely on where they are from or what religion they practice. This is one of the greatest insights you will get from traveling. Don’t just assume someone is one way or another based on where they are from. Travel. People are the same everywhere.
10. The world is so big and so small.
The world is huge. You can spend months in a single country and not see everything you want. I just got home from a four-month trip in which I backpacked from Nicaragua to Peru. I saw six countries. That seems like a lot until you look at a map and see what a tiny portion of the world I covered in those four months. There is so much more to see and not enough time to see it all. There are countless people you will never ever get to meet. However, even though the world is so big, the world is also so small. You will be amazed by how many of the same people you will unexpectedly cross paths with. Even though we all live our own lives in our own little houses in our own little towns, we are all connected. We are all here living in this amazing world together and whether we realize it or not, we all affect each other with the decisions we make everyday. While you will feel so little and insignificant in this huge world, you will also realize that in some strange way we are all working together and we really do have the power to make positive changes.