We all know how great travelling can be – visiting different cultures, experimenting with local food, snapping photos of those ‘wonders’ of the world. However, sometimes we all need to be reminded of the fundamentals about travelling.
Here is a list that will reaffirm why you travel and the challenges that comes with it.
Planning is part of the adventure.
Take the time to make yourself aware of what you’re in for. Knowledge is power so understanding the culture, currency, accommodation and food is the minimum you should arm yourself with before travelling . I would recommend that you don’t go to overboard in research though as it can sometimes inhibit the surprises you might find on the way.
Travelling can be hard.
There is no learning if it comes easy. This is why you love traveling, because it’s difficulty forces you to grow. It’s not always easy in the moment, when the people you’re sharing your hostel room with are insane and you don’t have any money and you’re homesick, but believe that this is why you are here. It is a part of your experience that is necessary and good.
In the words of Vernon Saunders Law – “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.”
Live in the moment.
Stop looking at your adventure through a camera lens and focus on what is right in front of you. So many times people have their phones or cameras out snap, snap, snapping and fail to see the joy and excitement of what’s right under their nose. Stop! Inhale! Smell! Breathe! Listen! Taste! Indulge yourself and be totally present.
You’ll never be the same again.
Each trip builds on your life experiences, your perspective of the world and in no time you are back home and bring with you all those great stories and memories. Your life will be richer, deeper and never the same again. So when you’re back home and bitching about the power being off, you can reflect about visiting a village with no fresh running water or electricity and be grateful. Travel shifts your perspective on life – that is a good thing!
In the words of Danny Kaye “To travel is to take a journey into yourself.”
You will realise you little you knew about the world.
When we travel, What we think we know and what is real are nearly always different. My parents put the fear of God into me about travelling and the dangers of a single woman travelling alone (or on tours). What was dangerous to them was embracing the culture to me. What was scary to them was getting to know the locals to me. What I realised after a few trips was not only were my parents misguided but I had alot to learn about the world. My preconceived ideas from home often didn’t match what I was experiencing.
In the words of Saint Augustine – “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”
In the words of Samuel Johnson – “All travel has it’s advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.”
Life is a gift.
It’s a privileged to be able to travel and experience the wonderful world that we live in. I don’t need to tell you all the benefits of travelling but I do need to remind you that every day that you wake up – is a good day. Seeing young kids using a rope swing to jump into a river or watching a family eat together in their boma or visiting a marketplace on a busy morning – you feel grateful on alive.
In the words of Mark Twain (this is one of my favourites) – “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
The best laid plans of mice and men.
Having an itinerary is useful but don’t forget it’s okay to deviate and explore something else. Be an opportunist and embrace what travelling is all about – curiosity. So you thought you’d love the Taj Mahal and spend three days there but at the end of the first day you’re bored – then change your plans. Embrace it. (below is a photo of my eldest daughter out sea kayaking. It wasn’t planned but hey, go with the flow)
Take it slowly
Your intentions might be to visit 10 countries in four weeks but ‘go with the flow’ if you can. SLow down and soak it all in. Remember, the first few days in any new places can be clunky as you orient yourself to your surroundings. Then the fun begins as you familiarise yourself with everything around you.
Let go of family and friends back home
Be selfish. Take your time. Explore what is important to you. It’s your life and your adventure. Don’t feel obliged to stay home to suit others or manage their emotions.
If you’ve travelled alot it’s easy to go to a new destination thinking you’ve ‘got this’. This is a reminder that you need to go back to basics and see a country with a curious approach. Don’t fall back into the ‘same old – same old’. Think of kids and how they look at everything as it is. That’s what is wonderful about travelling.
In the words of T.S. Elliot – “At the end of all our exploring I’ll be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
Making connections with others
In the words of Virginia Woolf – “Some people go to priests; others to poetry; I to my friends.”
Isn’t that what life is all about? Getting to know others whether they become friends or just passing travelling companions. Just because you meet someone on a trip doesn’t mean they need to become your best buddy. But it is valuable to make connections with people and be a more authentic person. This is easy to do when you travel because we are often more authentic – not having to put on a mask for others.
Patience Is Important
Don’t sweat the stuff you can’t control. Life is much too short to be angry & annoyed all the time. Did you miss your bus? No worries, there will be another one. ATMs out of money? Great! Take an unplanned road trip over to the next town and explore. Sometimes freak outs happen regardless.
- “When you go to London you must visit the British Museum.”
- “You must visit ALL the temples in Siem Reap.”
- “Your trip isn’t complete unless you see the view from the top of Eiffel Tower.”
These are other peoples expectations but doesn’t mean you have to. Take their travel stories on board, but if you just can’t fit it in, life will go on. If you’re not into museums, that’s okay. Know what you really love and do that. I enjoy eating with locals and will pass on dinner with a tour group to explore a village and get to know people. Be conscious of what you want to do and make sure you do it.
This is the Bali Treetop Adventure Park in Bedugul, Indonesia. More information click here.
Worldwide – we are all the same
From Maslow’s Theory of Hierarchy is the five things all humans need. The more you travel, the more you see the truth in this. We all wat to be able to have shelter, food and look after our families as the daily fundamentals. As 80% of the population live on less than $10 a week, it’s easy to Tony Robbins has said many times that no matter what your background is, all human beings share 6 common needs. As you travel more, you notice the truth of this even more…and as that happens, you are more adept in being able to relate to people regardless of their background.
In the words of Mark Twain – “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”
To finish off I will leave you with the words of the brilliant Eartha Kitt. One of my favourites. Leave a comment below on your thoughts on what travel means to you.
“I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma. “