What Travel Teaches Us

What Travel Teaches Us

by Lindsay on September 6, 2012

in Attitude, Inspiration, Motivation, Personal Growth

Have you done any traveling in your life? If you haven’t done much, I always say: it’s never too late to start. Pick a place and go. A weekend road-trip or a months-long Asia excursion…follow your heart, push yourself out of your comfort zone and just go.

Travel means so much more than just visiting new places and absorbing new cultures and what different cities/countries have to offer.  Travel – no matter where I go – is always journey within myself. It is when I put myself out of my comfort zone and normal routine that I learn the most about myself. 

A few things I’ve learned from my travels:

You can learn a lot by just looking around: At home, we don’t really pay attention to our surroundings. Everything is familiar, and we say we’re “too busy”. Traveling gives us plenty of time to just look around, take in our surroundings and learn from them.

Technology isn’t always your friend: When I’m traveling, I spend much less time than I usually do on the Internet or my computer. The more time I spend away from my computer, the more time I spend living. I don’t care about checking my email or who is posting what on Facebook. How much time do we waste behind the screen each day? Travel teaches me how very little value my extra screen-time actually adds to my life.

Don’t over plan:  Very rarely does everything go “according to plan” when we travel. Or in day-to-day life, for that matter. Better to not over plan and just go with the flow. That’s usually when the best things happen.

You don’t need stuff to be happy: You don’t need much beyond the basics when you travel, and yet you’re still happy and taking in all life has to offer. So often we’re just bogged down with stuff we don’t need in our day-to-day lives. We don’t need most of it.

You don’t have to be rich to see the world: You just have to have a desire to want to do it. You’d be surprised at where and how you can save money when you have a place you really want to visit.

People in New York City are friendly: No, really. They are. In my current town of Toronto, you  might get a scowl when passing someone on the sidewalk, if they look at you at all. You’re lucky to get a tight-lipped grin from a cashier at the store. In NYC, they talk to each other. They smile. Tough New Yorkers? Maybe. But more than anything, they’re friendly.

People in most parts of the world are friendly: Give people the benefit of the doubt. Most are all too happy to give you directions or smile back.

Smiles and hugs are universal: Hugs and smiles mean the same thing no matter where you go. A friendly face and a smile goes a long way when asking for directions or recommendations for restaurants, etc…from locals.

Home is sweet: No matter where you go or how much fun you’ve had, it always feels good to be home. Travel makes you appreciate what (and who) is home waiting for you when you come back.

Foster travels for the first time – start ’em young!

What have your travel experiences taught you? Share your lessons here with us! 

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{ 17 comments }

Julie | A Clear Sign September 6, 2012 at 10:12 am

I used to travel the west ooast of the US for a living (as an auditor), and I learned that I LOVED researching and visiting Inns and B&Bs (chain hotels and motels get SO old when you are in a new town every week!) Getting recommendations from the locals on where to dine always brought new discoveries. Once we landed in a town so small we were in a field next to cows, another time we went to Yellowstone and saw a bear, there are million memories there. I find it ironic that my in-law family runs hotels throughout the Caribbean and although I’ve been associated with them for 17 years I got to visit ONCE for exactly one night, my husband worked the whole time, and on the way back drug sniffing dogs and guys with guns singled me out and scared the crap out of me in the Puerto Rico airport. Travel is nothing if not interesting!

Lindsay September 6, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Best part of that travel (for work) is that it was FREE! How cool is that? The West Coast has my heart…not sure why, I only lived there for 4 years. But I left my heart back there.

That Puerto Rico airport story has got to be a good one. Julie you are full of good stories & experiences!

susan gale September 6, 2012 at 11:12 am

Travel is so important to me that my school that I had was a traveling school and went many places in our vans. I find the more you see about how the world is, the broader of a mind you have. It is especially fun to travel with children because then you see things for the first time all over again!

Lindsay September 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm

I have fantasies of taking my little one all over the world with me, seeing things through my eyes and hers. That is so cool that your school did that – how fun!!

Jennifer Flint Designs September 6, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Sigh. I really wish I could travel, but I have zero money for that at the moment (or for much of anything else). Hopefully that changes soon, because I would really like to go places with my life, in more ways than one! :)

Lindsay September 6, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Sometimes travel – when on a budget – just means exploring a different neighborhood in your own town/city! You can do that for free! I so know what you mean about the funds (or lack thereof). Some day! <3

Jennifer Flint Designs September 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Yeah, I do that. And we do get to go to NYC now and then, because my boyfriend’s family lives around there. So that’s something. :)

Susan S. September 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I used to be a merchant mariner, and sailed all over the world. What I find is that people are basically the same everywhere. We all have the same basic wants, needs, and desires. I enjoyed being exposed to different cultures and foods and ways of shopping (bartering). And after being to second and third world countries, I really appreciate comforts such as reliable electricity, plumbing, and safe drinking water.

Lindsay September 7, 2012 at 3:15 pm

A merchant mariner? Susan that is SO cool! I’d love to hear/read your stories. I totally know what you mean about appreciating the comforts we have learned to take for granted here in the first world, though. Nothing like some travel to put everything into perspective!

Cheyenne September 7, 2012 at 1:45 am

This article comes to me right on time. What a confirmation! :) A few years back, I would take my kids and mom and go for day trips to small towns around us. After I changed jobs we quit taking the trips. We decided last week, that this weekend we would take a trip up to Slide Rock in Sedona. :)

Lindsay September 7, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Sedona! I am officially jealous. It’s been almost a year since my trip there and I would love to go back. Enjoy your trip and take lots of photos, Cheyenne!

Franco September 8, 2012 at 5:10 pm

I have spent a lot of time travelling and it’s been a saviour. Seeing new places and experiencing new cultures consistently brings perspective to my life. Without travel, I don’t think I would be the person I am today. Of course, I have a long way to go to becoming a fully rounded person, but there’s been no better education than getting out and seeing the world, even if that’s a road trip to Ottawa!

Lindsay September 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm

I love that you’ve traveled so much Franco and want to do more! I also like hearing about your trips while we’re (not) working! :)

Lynn September 9, 2012 at 4:55 am

The grass is always greener, literally and figuratively. An Arizona native, I visited Seattle 6 times one year to soak up the lack of sun. As much as I continue to whine about the ridiculous heat here in Phoenix, I can quickly flashback to being colder than I thought possible up in the Pacific Northwest just a few days after Christmas. I actually feel cooler from recalling that memory in detail which was exactly what I hoped was possible one particular night as the wind cut right through me and I seriously wondered if my ears might break off. (they didn’t btw)

Lindsay September 9, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Lynn if you think Seattle is cold, I dare you to come to Toronto in February!! You are a true Arizonian, eh?! Was there snow there when you visited or no? I envy your “winters”, that’s for sure!

D'Arci Redditt September 11, 2012 at 12:24 am

I’ve always look forward to the times in my life that I’ve traveled. My twin sister and I drove to Louisiana at the age of 17 to see our Grandmother (not Grandma or any other name…she prefers the proper way, good ole’ Southern fashion way.) That was my first taste of freedom I had to travel. I still have vivid images of the map my sister and I charted out down to St. Joseph, LA.

In eight days, I will be making another journey to St. Joseph, LA to see Grandmother who taught me the gift of loving to travel. I remember that original trip to her house. On the side of her refrigerator, she had all the magnets of each state she had visited. As she turns 90-years-old on Sept. 19th, she will have been to every single state except North Dakota. What an accomplishment, I believe!

Travel teaches you to always keep looking ahead and to know that behind you there was always a lesson learned. It’s all mapped out for us.

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