Travel is a teacher of many lessons, but here are four things that I have personally learned so far from living a life of travel.
Is there anyone who actually enjoys waiting? I know I don’t. I have always said: I know what I want and what I want is what I want when I want it. Say that ten times fast 😉 Well, when it comes to travel you will not get what you want, and this has been a big lesson learned for me. You need patience when you travel, if you don’t have it then you will waste time being frustrated or upset when things don’t go your way, especially if you’re traveling long term.
Problems will come up, whether it’s a delayed plane or a messed up food order, or a lost or stolen piece of luggage. Travel shows you that life can be a little messy, and not everything is organized into perfectly organized boxes. So what do you do when someone tips over your organized box and throws you for a loop? You have patience.
I still fail, when I grumble under my breath at the person who take five minutes to get out of the plane isle, or when it has taken a half hour to get a seat at a restaurant after being promised it would only be a ten minute wait. It’s difficult to wait for things you want, but the reward is worth it. With patience you learn to relax and once you relax, well, that leads to my next lesson learned.
How to “Go with the flow”
In the past I have really wanted to be a relaxed “go with the flow” type of person but I haven’t been able to achieve that yet. But travel has opened the door for me to learn how to be more relaxed. I really tried on my trip to Japan to focus on all the good things happening so that I could just take each bump in the road as a new adventure, rather than a hindrance and was surprised to find myself able to handle things much better as a result of traveling.
I still get stressed and uptight but I also know exactly what to do to calm myself down, in the moment and fix my attitude.
I’m getting there.
When it comes down to it I typically am a realist. I base my decisions on facts and evidence, but I like a little bit of hope and faith mixed in. Travel has taught me to be a little more optimistic about situations, simply because you can’t just look at facts.
Optimism helps you to look at the silver lining in each bad moment or choice you make. If you can list all the good things that come from a bad situation then it really doesn’t seem so awful as you previously made it out to be. Trust me, you’ll be a whole lot happier with that attitude.
When it comes to traveling alone, I started off with a “fake until you make it” attitude. Meaning, while I did my research and planning I really didn’t have any first-hand experience, but I defended my ideas like I did because it helped me to feel more confident about traveling alone. I had traveled alone many times in America, but that’s home turf for me, so it is not exactly out of my comfort zone. Japan was.
The night before I left I couldn’t sleep, which is typical for me because I’m excited, energetic and nervous, but this time it was completely different. I was scared. Scared I would fail, scared I would get lost or stranded or something bad or crazy would happen. I let all the negative things people had said to me get to me and I was truly scared to the point where I had shaking hands and I felt sick to my stomach. The whole first day I was nervous.
I pushed through that nervousness and took things one at a time. I wanted to go somewhere I planned and figured out the way and if something went wrong I fixed it. This continued on for my whole month of Japan, and by the end of the month I felt comfortable. Now, I feel comfortable and confident that I can go into a completely new destination where no one speaks English, with no wifi, and figure something out.
Traveling has been empowering, and has increased my confidence in my abilities not only to be alone but also my problem solving skills, my communication skills, and my ability to live outside of my comfort zone. Feeling confident has changed how I view the world and how I view myself drastically, and I think it’s for the better!
Travel has done a lot for me, and I’m so glad I took that first step to really get out there. I hope that maybe this was an inspiration to you. If you’re thinking about traveling solo, do it. Don’t wait, don’t hesitate or think about the “what ifs” just do it. Because now is the time to make a change and find out what you can learn from travel.