4 Things I Learned While Traveling That Improved My Life

There’s no two ways about it; travelling is the best because… fun, freedom, adventure. I’ve just come back from my first big solo backpacking trip, three months in Southeast Asia, and I couldn’t have predicted the positive effect travelling has had on my outlook, self-image, philosophy, everything.
Those weeks were incredible while they were happening (beach parties, bamboo huts facing out to see, hammocks, hitch-hiking, motorbiking, caves, cities, hill tribes, mind-blowing days followed by surreal nights), but now I can fondly look back on the hard times (yep, they happen too) and realise that all of it has produced a much better version of me. Where I expected there to be post-travelling blues, there’s been only positivity and joie de vivre. Hurrah!
Some of the things I picked up are things I knew already, but for whatever reason, weren’t really part of my daily thinking. I know you hear it a lot, but: travel. Or don’t. But keep learning about life somehow.

1. Money isn’t happiness. Happiness is happiness.

When you see a different way of life, like simple wooden huts and villagers bathing in a river, and experience the warmth of their smiles, it’s the best argument against money being the key to happiness. “These people are the most joyful I’ve ever seen,” you’ll think, “and they have nothing,” Yes, those who are homeless, lonely and sick make poorness seem miserable; but it’s love and strength that matter most, and all the money in the world can’t buy you either. Appreciate what you have and do what makes you happy, and you’ll be happy.

2. Confidence is beauty is confidence.

A soft glowing tan, natural sun-kissed highlights, make-up free and loving it, travelling solo, a sense of achievement. While travelling, you face fears. Simple ones like approaching people and starting conversations and trying to pronounce the local language. And also bigger ones like scuba diving, night treks, riding a scooter, jumping off waterfalls… It’s a recipe for confidence and emotional well-being and I believe, like Audrey Hepburn says, that the happiest girls are the prettiest girls.

3. You don’t have to make decisions if you don’t feel like it.

Sometimes in life, it feels like I’ve lost the ability to decide on anything. I was mulling over my trip for a while, wondering whether I should spend a big chunk of my savings. It all worked out okay in the end; I just needed that time. Now I don’t stress over making the right decision, because it almost always is. While I was travelling, there were choices to be made every day. I ended up choosing to go with the flow and not rushing into anything that didn’t need to be rushed into.

Take life as it comes or go full force with what you believe to be right at the time.

4. The memories you make in life are invaluable.

I’ve saved what is perhaps the most obvious one until last. All the memories. In many ways the last few months feel like a blur. But I have so many funny, incredible, happy times to call upon when I need them. Having times where you felt truly great, blissful and carefree is a reminder of how sweet life is, and it’s all you need during times when things aren’t going so well. The reminder that, to quote True Romance, “it goes the other way too.” Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Presented by Cayman Jack – Arguably the Most Refreshing Margarita in the World.

About the author

Hayley Pearce

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