Thought Catalog

29 Lessons I Learned In Seven Years Of Living Abroad

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man on a mountain
Nathan McBride

Each month in Barcelona I give a seminar on ways for expats to find work while living abroad. As I wrapped up the latest installment one of the attendees came up to me and asked what my biggest takeaway has been during the last seven years of living overseas, and without hesitation I said, “Traveling has taught me how to bet on myself again.” However, on the hour long train ride home that night to small town Catalunya, I kept thinking about all the other lessons the world has taught me since making the decision to trade in my corporate job for a one-way ticket to Europe. I like to think that many of the lessons below I would have eventually learned no matter where I ended up, but I also like to think that traveling has sped up my learning curve a great deal in regards to recognizing their importance.

1. Traveling teaches you the power of a smile.

2. Traveling teaches you the importance of advancing, not perfecting.

3. Traveling teaches you that the more uncomfortable you are today, the more comfortable you will be tomorrow.

4. Traveling teaches you that the best way to write your own story is to ask others about theirs.

5. Traveling teaches you how to fail forward and get back on your feet.

6. Traveling teaches you that the more dots you collect, the more they connect.

7. Traveling teachers you to shift your mindset from saying, “I believe,” to first asking others what they believe.

8. Traveling teaches you pretty quickly the parts of you that have allowed you to survive thus far in the world and the parts of you that need some work.

9. Traveling teaches you that our similarities can overcome our differences.

10. Traveling teaches you that you cannot do it alone and the importance of being vulnerable and asking for help.

11. Traveling teaches you that you attract what you represent.

12. Traveling teaches you the importance of withholding judgement and giving people room to show their true selves.

13. Traveling teaches you about the generosity of strangers and the importance of paying it forward.

14. Traveling teaches you that the world doesn’t care about you unless you first give it a reason to.

15. Traveling teaches you the value of family and that home is a state of mind.

16. Traveling teaches you just how much about yourself and the world that you do not know.

17. Traveling teaches you that the best lessons are not always seen, but heard.

18. Traveling teaches you that you always get to where you were meant to go in the end.

19. Traveling teaches you that you do not need much to have fun.

20. Traveling teaches you when to stop and when to keep going.

21. Traveling teaches you that sometimes the only way out is through.

22. Traveling teaches you the value of having just one good friend.

23. Traveling teaches you that you are much braver than you thought.

24. Traveling teaches you how to say “yes” to the unknown.

25. Traveling teaches you the beauty of a home-cooked meal.

26. Traveling teaches you that most of life is out of your hands, but how you react isn’t.

27. Traveling teaches you that the world is full of many more good people than bad.

28. Traveling teaches you the importance of saying please and thank you.

29. Most of all, traveling teaches that who you are is enough, but inspires you to become more. TC mark

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