In two and a half years of travel I’ve leaned more about people, cultures, independence, money management, hustle, responsibly and inner growth then I have in all my previous education. Deeper then that I’ve learned the value of self love, spending time alone and honouring my wellbeing.
It’s hard to pinpoint how exactly travelling has this major effect on people. Perhaps it’s being exposed to so much all at once. It could be learning how to keep your cool when someone tries to scam you or how humbling it is standing at the foot of a mountain. Ultimately, when you embrace the travellers life you are hit full frontal with lesson after lesson after lesson.
The reason I endorse travelling so strongly is because I know what it has shown me and the exponential growth that sprouts from it that otherwise would never have come about (at least not at the rate it did) had I not travelled.
So here are a few things I learned on the road.
A healthy Level of Selfishness is Important for Wellbeing
The second I began consciously taking alone time, making decisions that empowered me and indulging in creativity, I felt happy; genuinely I was a better person to be around. Many of the decisions I made could be considered selfish such as saying no to social gatherings, travelling indefinitely, spending money on myself etc. But as cliche as it sounds it put me in touch with myself and taught me how to follow my heart. Simply, if you don’t take care of yourself you can only give a fraction of what your capable of to others.
How Precious the Present is.. But Also How Much Time You Actually Have
The average life span of a human is approximately 70-75 years, so anytime I start freaking out over what I’m doing with my life I stop and think “I’m not even a third of the way through my potential life span.. this is great.” Why do we stress to get all these things done in our early twenties? There is PLENTY of time, so don’t take life so seriously, having fun is part of the game as well.
In the same stroke you begin to love every moment you live and value every second. Choosing not to waste it on people, places and things that don’t stimulate you becomes second nature. You begin to utilitize your time in doing what sparks your passion, interest and creativity.
How to Stand Your Ground
Growing up I was a push over. It was a rarity that I stood my ground and I simply chose giving in then standing up for myself. Travelling put me in contact with people who spoke up when something was wrong, they held their ground. It was truly inspiring to see a girls call men out on street harassment, or see the big guy defend the little one from bullies.
One of the first times I truly felt my voice was when a taxi driver took my belongings out of the car and demanded I pay double the agreed upon price for him to take me the rest of the way. At my wits end with the harassment and hostility I had experienced in Morocco, I refused to give in to intimidation and stood my ground, finally ending in him driving off and me in another taxi. I understand it’s not the wisest move as a female travelling alone, but if people think they can get away with taking advantage of others the cycle won’t end.
Telling a stranger that it’s rude when they shout “nice tits” will hopefully teach them a lesson and refusing to succumb to intimidation will hopefully save the next person. I’ve come to understand that giving in and pleasing everyone does not always lead to the greater good. Speaking up and standing your ground is not only empowering but inspiring to those around you who haven’t found their voices yet.
The Beauty of Impermanence
Nothing in life is definite and the sooner you come to acknowledge just how changing everything is, the closer you are to happiness. No longer will you be ruled by attachments to things or people, you have gained control over how you react to an ever changing world. The transient life throws more twists, changes and challenges at you in a month then you might experience in 6 at home. Consciously or not you begin to adapt to change. You learn that no good comes from attaching yourself to anything or reacting with anger to something you will likely forget about.
Responsibly and Hustle
When you live in a foreign country and don’t have your family or friends to fall back on you get up and hustle. You find work, you find a place to live, you go out and make an effort.
There was a point when I found myself with no money, no work and everyone close to me leaving the country at once. Determined not to return home with tail between my legs asking for money, I learned what hustle really meant. I started almost completely new and figured out how to handle life’s curveballs. Those months of trying to pull it together were a mess (that being said I still had loads of fun). But I was left humbled by the generosity of others, grateful for the opportunities that came and finally feeling proud of finding my feet.
How To Manage Money
It’s simple really, when you are set on travelling you budget and save. You become frugal with your spendings and learn how to maximize your money. On the road you’re (most likely) not bringing in regular money, so you figure out your expenses and go from there.
On the other hand you are living abroad, paying rent, buying food and doing all that supposed real world stuff. You become aware of your income and the expenses you have on a regular basis and spend your money accordingly. You learn not to depend on your parents or anyone else for financial help.
The Different lives people all around the world live
The first time you see a child string a piece of garbage to a stick and pretend to fish might bombard you with conflicting emotions. He will never have the “nice” toys you had growing up, but he is extremely happy to be fishing with his make-believe garbage fish. First the guilt of born privilege sets in and then the realization that happiness doesn’t actually depend on whether or not you have nice things, it’s your attitude towards what you have that matters.
Then the driving will be different, food will be different, cops might be bribable and children will try to sell you things; interaction between men and women will be completely new to you. You will be exposed to the divide of people; the look of poverty in the third world next to luxury hotels and restaurants of the wealthy.
You become humbled by the hospitality and kindness of strangers. At the end of the day, in a foreign country with a foreign language, you are at the mercy of the people. Like a child you don’t know how things operate, how to speak or how to fit in. The hands that help you will leave you full of gratitude and a deeper understanding of the good in people all over the world.