Travelling has taught me a few things.. from setting multiple alarms so I don’t miss my flight (again) to packing my carry-on luggage a little better so I have spare clothes in case someone spills a coffee on me prior to boarding the plane. I’ve also learned how to sew when the spaghetti strap of my favourite sun dress broke whilst holidaying in Bali and making sure I don’t wear too much jewellery when I’m going through airport security so I don’t hold the line up for 10 minutes. I’m still working on how not to lose stuff while I’m away overseas, specially my mobile phone, which I’ve happened to lose twice on two separate occasions (in a taxi in Florence and in an Uber in Los Angeles). Which by the way, I managed to pull off by being able to get my phone back both times. I have to attribute that to luck!
No matter what life throws at you, you gotta learn to take the good with the bad and be able to learn from your mistakes. There are the practical lessons you learn and there’s also the more valuable lessons that travelling teaches you that you can apply in daily life. In this post, I’m gonna take a stab and go for the more valuable ones. These are the lessons I’ve learned along the way and have definitely made an impact on how I perceive things and how I live my life.
1. You learn that there are things you can do without.
There are a lot of things that you think you can’t live without until you pack your suitcase and go. When travelling, it all comes down to the basics. This is certainly a lesson for me because I used to always pack an unnecessary amount of shoes when I travel. These days, I just pack some comfortable walking shoes and a pair of sandals that go with nearly every outfit I have in my suitcase. When I got back from my trip, those unnecessary pairs of shoes as well as clothes I haven’t worn in a year found their way either to the charity shop or eBay. It’s kind of a great way to declutter your wardrobe, if you ask me.
2. You learn to be more patient.
Ok, so maybe delayed flights still tick you off. And maaaaybe trying to make your way through a barely-moving crowd after watching the Oia sunset, isn’t your idea of a pastime. Then you remember that you read this blog post and that I briefly mentioned how sometimes life can be a bit of a pain but that sometimes it’s better to just go with the flow than stress yourself out over something that is beyond your control. So you start thinking about what to have for dinner and how great that view of the sunset was and before you know it, you’re out of the crowd and you’re freeeee. Weee.
3. You get to know yourself better.
You learn to enjoy your own company and this is really important because mate, let’s face it, if there’s anyone you’re gonna be spending the rest of your life with, it would be yourself. Having some time to yourself helps you get to know the real you. For example, I know that even though I enjoy spending time on my own, travelling solo is not my thing. I don’t mind taking that flight to a destination on my own, as long as I know there’s someone on the other end to meet me for an adventure or two.
4. Travelling teaches you self-control.
Before I booked my trip to Europe, I went out. A lot. Then, I decided to prioritise saving because this trip to Europe was a dream made into a plan; a goal set into motion and I knew that if I didn’t get my ass in gear and started saving, it wouldn’t have been possible. So I stopped drinking, swapped eating out for dinner parties with friends and compromised by only shopping for clothes online that are on sale and all the while setting a budget. I gotta admit, I’m not the best at it but I’m trying. You gotta start somewhere!
5. You learn how to be resourceful.
Travelling teaches you how to make do with what you have. Remember at the start of this post how I mentioned about the time that the strap on my favourite sun dress broke? Well, it’s a little embarrassing to admit because it sounds a little desperate and I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone before but I used a used staple wire from my travel documents and a piece of lose thread from the same dress to sew it back together. It would have been a lot easier to just get a new dress but I was pretty proud of myself after. 🙂
6. You put yourself out there.
One of the most craziest things I’ve ever done, in regards to putting myself out there, was when I was in Hawaii with my parents and I decided to sign up on Couchsurfing and make new friends. We were there for 10 nights and even though I was having an absolute blast hanging out with the parentals, they would be in bed by around 9pm while I stayed up on my phone/laptop. So I decided to get in contact with a few people on the app and came across this amazing girl whom I’ve made lifelong friends with. She picked me up from my hotel and took me to a Thanksgiving Bonfire by the beach where I met other travellers. We danced in bin bags in the rain and ate s’mores like there was no tomorrow! We had an absolute blast. When I tell this story to family and friends they still can’t believe I risked meeting up with a stranger. But hey, if I didn’t put myself out there, I never would’ve had that experience and it is to this day, one of my most cherished travel memories.
7. Breaks you out of your comfort zone.
Have you ever heard of the saying “Great things never came from comfort zones”? Well, for others it’s debatable. I believe that being in a routine is good for your well-being because it lessens the stress of not knowing what’s going to come next. But I also believe that we are not meant to live our life doing the exact same thing, over and over, just because we are used to it. I mean, surely, successful people at the beginning of their career, would’ve had to break themselves out of their comfort zone and start somewhere, right? We live in a wonderfully diverse world and we should embrace it. Go out and try new food! Experience new things and don’t be afraid to get a little bit of an adrenaline rush! Besides, according to this article a little bit of adrenaline rush can benefit you.
8. It teaches you to let go.
A quote from a TV show that I used to watch when I was younger really made an impression on me and it goes something like this: “Every song has a coda, a final movement. Whether it fades out or crashes away, every song ends. Is that any reason not to enjoy the music? The truth is, there is nothing to be afraid of. It’s just life.”
When you’re travelling, you know that nothing is definite and every good thing comes to an end. Growing up, when my family would go on little holidays I would make new friends with other kids at the resort we’re staying at. But at the end of the trip, I would be absolutely shattered about leaving my new found friends behind. Back then, social media wasn’t as prominent as it is today so goodbye really meant goodbye. Growing up and being exposed to these situations really does help you become a stronger person. Some people might say that holding on to something is a sign of being strong but I think sometimes it takes a lot more strength and effort to let go.
9. You have friends everywhere.
Moving from the Philippines to Australia was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life. Leaving all my friends behind to start a new life some 4,000-something kilometres away was rough. I think what made it even harder was that before I left Manila, I was at the peak of my social life. It was the summer after graduating highschool so I was constantly out with friends and I just turned 18 so my Nan was a little lenient on me. Mum petitioned for us to come to Australia and it got approved quicker than we anticipated. So from being out all the time with friends to suddenly being in a different country and not knowing anyone was very daunting. After a while, social media didn’t help because going through my feed, it felt like all my friends back home have moved on without me. It really sucked. Looking back at it now, I’m thankful about all that. Because it pushed me to come out of my shell and forced me to make new friends.. and they’re pretty damn amazing, I must add! I still keep in touch with my friends back in the Philippines from time to time. It doesn’t matter what part of the world you’re in, just know that you have friends everywhere, you just have to open yourself up to the idea of new opportunities. As they say, when one door closes another one opens up.
10. You learn to keep an open-mind and heart.
Exposing yourself to new ideas, a different way of life and a different culture brings down barriers. You realise that not everyone has the same beliefs or share the same opinions as you. When you open yourself up to these new experiences, you unravel the true world citizen in you. At the end of day, we are all human beings and we all share a common interest – to want betterment for ourselves and for our loved ones. And if what you’ve got to offer is a little ray of sunshine to brighten up their day, whether it be in a form of a kind or thoughtful gesture or a joke that would make them laugh, then you’re one step away from making our world a better place.