What are things you don’t know until you travel a lot?
Traveling is priceless and changes you. So here is what I’ve been learning since I started traveling around the world:
You don’t know it until you see it for yourself –
It doesn’t matter how much you read or plan a trip, being in contact with a different culture/religion/food/etc. is mesmerizing, and each people have a different experience.
You don’t need much –
The longer you travel, the more you realize you don’t need all that you’re carrying, and especially don’t need the dozens of shirts you left at home.
People are nice! Stay open to create bonds, but be ready to set apart –
People that travel during a lot of time have an intense way of living and seeing things. You will meet others where you will feel an instant connection. Be open for this, enjoy experiences together as much as you can, but be ready to go to different directions.
Travel slow, and don’t worry about visiting all places
When we start traveling we usually want to do many things, take thousands of photos…and then what? Do you really show/see all your photos? Traveling slower and without many plans will make the trip cheaper, and you may have unforgettable experiences since now you have time to experience.
In my experience so far of traveling, mostly around Europe (36 countries so far), I have observed that:
- Historical accounts and politics are never as black and white as media portrays. What we often read about and understand about other countries is a gross oversimplification.
- There comes a point when you realize you can’t use your own culture and values as a baseline for comparison to another, much like comparing apples to oranges. Then the shock factor becomes less prominent.
- You will learn infinitely more spending time with locals than if you rely on research alone.
- Individuals are usually less likely to approach or befriend you if you travel in a group/couple; one of the few perks of traveling alone.
You may like to read Solo Trip in Europe
- Some of the most spectacular destinations are actually the lesser visited so it’s worth thinking outside the box to avoid tourist traps and experiences served on a plate, so to speak.
- Sometimes cultures will clash, but that’s okay. It’s always going to be an enlightening experience and a valuable lesson in respecting diversity.
Have you ever heard of tunnel-reality, which is a concept I got many years ago from Robert Anton Wilson?
Basically, it’s like this: Imagine there is a huge pipe attached in front of you and all you can see of what is front of you is whats down that pipe. All else is excluded. That’s as much as you know. All else is excluded. Well, that’s what it’s like when you only live in one country (and note that traveling for a couple of weeks to a ‘safe’ pre-packaged destination doesn’t count. You need to travel independently and for a good period of time. You need to take some chances. You need to see the country the way the natives do. And if English is your first language then going to English-speaking countries doesn’t count for much either. You need to be outside your comfort zone).
So if all you know is what you see down the pipe (the known, the familiar) then you have no point of comparison. You can’t place your own culture because you have no alternative experience to compare it to. To some extent, adventurous travel will give you a point of comparison. And the more you do it the more you realize you don’t know that much!! You lose the certainty you naively once had. That’s the beginning of insight and a little wisdom (maybe).
Maybe we could make a better world by forcing American rednecks and Islamic fundamentalists to travel outside the certainty of their limited tunnel reality worlds??
THE MAIN TWO THINGS ARE KNOWLEDGE AND FEELING BEAUTY OF NATURE.
1. Traveling is easier than you think.
We believe that traveling around the world shouldn’t be hard: it’s actually something everyone should be able to do at least once in their lives. Whether you choose to spend a few years or just a couple of months traveling this beautiful planet, it’s important to see what’s out there. It’s up to you to make the dream come true and take the first step.
2. Travel opens your eyes.
If you’re open and willing, travel will make you an incredibly more well-rounded human being. And that’s really the goal, isn’t it?
3. Traveling helps you learn who you are.
All the challenges and opportunities travel lays at your feet help you discover who you are in a way that’s only possible on the road.
4. Travel creates meaningful relationships
People you meet while on the road become some of the most valued names on your contact list. They become places on the map to visit later on. These folks give you a glimpse outside your hometown circle of friends and force you to take in new and refreshing perspectives, and ultimately realize that everyone is the same.
5. Traveling develops skills you didn’t know you had
Sometimes it’s only far from home that you realize you-you’ve got skills you’ve never used. It’s travel that brings them to the surface and makes you smile, satisfied to have reached the mountaintop, or crossed a gorge or helped a villager clean up after a storm, or even to have successfully ordered a meal at a rural Chinese restaurant.
6. Travel helps you learn new languages
There’s something satisfying about being able to throw around a few words of Greek, knowing how to say thanks in Thai, pulling out that long-dormant Spanish to book a room in Santiago, or simply hearing a language you didn’t know existed just a few weeks before.
7. Travel means adventure
Zip-lining over the jungle canopy in Peru, successfully navigating the maze-like streets of Venice, bartering for the best price in the traditional markets of Marrakech, taking a speedboat ride in New Zealand, or hopping in a Land Rover and heading out to watch animals grazing in Tanzania: these are adventures worth having. People are hardwired for the excitement of adventure and travel may just be the best way to tap into it.
8. Traveling gives you perspective
Meeting people from other cultures will teach you that the way you’ve been looking at the world isn’t the way everybody else does. In fact, your point-of-view might have some major blind spots. Seeing the world for yourself will improve your vision and your grip on reality.
9. Travel helps you move forward
If you’re between jobs, schools, kids, or relationships, around the world travel can be a perfect way to move from one of these life stages into your next great adventure.
10. Travel is education
Seeing the world provides an education that’s absolutely impossible get in school. Travel teaches you economy, politics, history, geography, and sociology in an intense, hands-on way no class will.
You may also like to read 10 Beautiful stages of traveling solo for the first time
11. Travel challenges you
Getting your daily latte at the same place and staring at your screen at your nine-to-five every day not nearly interesting enough? Even if you choose to work on the road (and keep staring at the screen), you’ll have to find a new place to drink your latte and depending on your destination, finding coffee, and foamy milk or a good place to sip them could prove to be a sizeable challenge. Travel is full of moments of joy and challenges. Overcoming the challenges gives you some of the greatest joys of all.
12. Travel shakes things up
It sucks to be stuck in a rut. Everyone knows what that’s like. A big trip can be your perfect solution. Fly around the world, stopping over in all of the places you’ve always wanted to visit.
13. Traveling proves that dreams do come true
You imagined it, daydreamed about it, envisioned it. Guess what? It can be done. Around the world travel is possible, you just have to decide you’re willing to take the first step and start planning your itinerary.
14. Travel gives you cool stories
Let’s face it. Even for folks who can’t tell a story, just the words “last year in Mongolia” get you instant party points. Even when events seem trivial, nostalgia and distance create an irresistible spin that makes mundane things like getting your laundry done in Zanzibar, entertaining. Just don’t be that person and overdo it!
15. Travel is literally food for thought.
You’ll be constantly surprised at the flavors the world has to offer. The way people in other cultures and countries prepare food and break bread together (not that all cultures even eat bread) will astound you.
16. Travel gives you a sense of accomplishment
If you’re the kind of person that dreams big, you’re probably one to reach for new challenges. Finishing a trip gives you the satisfaction that you were able to make a goal to travel and accomplish what you set out to do–see the world.