The longer you travel the more lessons you learn about life, yourself, and the world. In my past 5 years of travel I can say I’ve picked up quite a few things along the way. So to end my month of reflection on the past 5 years of travel I have decided to share my 5 top lessons from travel. While I have of course learned sooo much more than this and than can ever be put in words these are the things that I find are most important to me and my travels.
1 | Be ready for anything
A lesson you quickly learn when traveling for any amount of time is to expect the unexpected. Like in life you never know what curveball your trip is going to throw you. From standing for the entire 2 + hour train ride on a hot packed train in Sri Lanka, to realizing you don’t have wifi and don’t know how you are to meet your friend in Istanbul, to all the little things in between you learn to think on your feet and problem solve anything that comes up. The little twists and turns of travel become so common though always different that you start to loose track of all the little things that threw you for a loop in the moment.
2 | Experiences are more important than things
While I love buying interesting and unique things on my travels and am a shopper (especially for housewares!) at heart the chance to have a unique experience will always win over objects. From chatting about life with a new friend while strolling through a park, to a plethora of other unforgettable adventures (read about my top 5 memories here!) , I will always value the experience more than an thing.
3 | Even the worst experience will be a good story later
Going with point #1 in retrospect almost every bad tale will be a great story in the future minus a few things (you know like kidnapping, assault, etc.). While i’m grateful I have never had anything too terrible happen to me I will say the muffler burn from a scooter in Sri Lanka is a more amusing memory than it was at the time. My evening in Tangier Morocco and all the debacle that ensued with our cab driver and his weird restaurant owning friend along with a comical amount of other little things was, at the moment, a terrible night and train ride to follow but the memory has become a much beloved travel fail memory.
4| To be able to travel at all is a privilege
To even be able to travel in the first place is a privilege. It means you are of generally good health, have some sort of funds/ way to earn the funds, and a passport that allows you to see the world. In talking with people in many countries, especially on my recent trip to Cuba, it is a constant reminder I am lucky I can travel with the relative ease that I can. I am in good health, have some money, and I am American. These things allow me to travel the world and the more of this world I am able to see the more I see that this is a privilege to have no matter what circus is currently going on in the states.
5 | Always have a bottle opener
To end on a lighter note always carry a bottle opener. If you are not a magician with any random object for opening beer bottles or if you are traveling on a 2 car train and no one else has a wine bottle opener you learn you can make a lot of friends by having this one small piece of equipment. Get a small one, it takes up no space an you will never know who you will meet along the way because of it!!