Coming up on 2 weeks from which I returned from my travelling adventure. It has taken some adjustment to get use to the "real world" but I have had a chance to reflect upon my trip. Here are the top 10 things that I have learned from travelling abroad.
Everyone everywhere essentially wants the same things in life
Everyone just wants validation, love, security, enjoyment and hopes for a better future. The way they verbalise this and work towards it is where things branch off, but we all have the same basic desires. You can relate to everyone in the world if you look past the superficial things that separate you.
The unknown isn't as scary as you'd think
Travelling is so full of unknowns and it really started to grow on me! At first it was slightly unnerving to not know what bus to take, what could be lurking in the grass, or what meat you were ACTUALLY getting with your meal, but it is the unknown that keeps life exciting! Never once did I feel in danger while travelling but rather felt more alive then I have in a long time!
You're never to old to play
I have been saying this for a long time but you are really never too old to play! Play was universal in all countries that I travelled to. Whether it was the "old" vietnamese ladies learning hip hop in the streets of Hanoi or the Fijian men having a good game of Rugby...play surrounds us and unifies us as people. It is a language we all speak.
Becoming "unplugged" is essential to clear our heads and prioritize
When I am at home I seemed to rely so much on technology. Carrying my cell phone at all times, checking my emails 10 times a day, and watching t.v in the evenings. I realized travelling that I really don't miss it when its gone. It takes up so much of my time when I could be making memories, out exploring, or doing something productive. Technology does make our lives easier (and Im the first to admit I love the internet) but its not essential to our survival!
The importance of taking the time to get to know people
I met so many interesting and friendly people on my travels and it reinforced the old saying of "don't judge a book by its cover". Take the time to ask questions to people and get to know more about them then just whats on the surface. From our good friend "Hue" that we met on the vietnamese sleeper train to the friendly Fijian pilot that gave me lots of good travel tips, people have been nothing short of friendly on my trip.
You don't know what you've got till its gone
WATER!! Never take fresh clean water for granted! I realized how lucky Canadians are by being able to turn on the tap and have fresh water available. In Vietnam and Thailand you had to purchase bottled water for everything and in Fiji you drank bottled or rain water. Water is the simple example but when travelling to 3rd world countries you begin to realize how lucky you truly are! I am extremely thankful for my great family, my freedom, and for the ability to travel.
Getting lost is "okay"
I got lost so many times on my travels that I lost track. I would be walking the streets of Thailand and get lost so many times...they do say its more about the journey then the destinations though. I have learned to take the "detour" in stride and usually it leads to sights or sounds that I wouldn't have normally seen if I hadn't taken the wrong turn. Getting lost is really okay!!
Relationships are crucial
Building positive relationships with people makes travelling a lot easier! If you can learn to joke with the vendor who is trying to rip you off rather then yelling at them they respond so much more positively! Between the muffins being made for us from the Thai hostel lady, the free drinks and cookbook from the south african who worked in vietnam, to the wonderful Australian lady who helped me find my way around the city...I hope one day to be able to repay all the nice gestures from these great people!
The most important lessons in life cannot be taught but rather have to be experienced
I have always said that I have learned more by travelling then I have ever learned in school and university. Experiential learning is very powerful. Its something you don't easily forget. I have learned many life lessons that will stick with me forever!
The world is beautiful
I travelled to 4 different countries (with layovers in 3 more and 15 flights) and every place that I saw was absolutely breathtaking. The scenery, people, culture, and landscapes were all something that could have been taken out of a national geographic magazine. Could I pick a favourite country that I visited? Absolutely not! Each one was incredible in its own way! The world is truly an amazing and beautiful place.
As I sign off from this blog, I challenge you (everyone reading this...even people I don't know!) to post a comment to this post on what YOU have learned from travelling. Everyone experiences different things from travelling and I would love to know what you believe travelling has taught you.
Until the next adventure