There are so many quotes out there about how travel is the greatest teacher. The people you meet, the places you see, these are experiences that you would never had if you just stay at home. You go away to somewhere that you’ve never been before, and you come back home with exciting stories, all because your eyes where opened whilst you were out travelling.
Since being at home for nearly a year now and not really travelling anywhere, I’ve started to really miss all the experiences that I could have had. Understandably, staying at home has been the safest, and best option, but it does mean that I’ve lost out on a year of learning and seeing new things/places.
It’s made me realise though, that there are so many valuable life lessons that travelling can teach us. I’m not saying that you need to travel in order to find yourself, but if you have then good for you! Everyone experiences things differently, and below you’ll find things that travelling has taught me personally.
Trying New Things is Needed in Life
Learning things through travel happens naturally – you don’t have to try too hard. It’s all about losing yourself into the arms of a new environment. Of course, you have to be willing to try these things though. You need to first shrug off the ‘safe’ and ‘tried and tested’ syndrome and delve into the unexplored with a free spirit.
Often, the best approach is just to be completely open-minded to any and all experiences (whilst still being safe of course). When travelling you will undoubtedly have experiences that make you feel uncomfortable. You are leaving your cushy little comfort zone and are experiencing other people’s viewpoints on life, which is why having an open mind can help make these sorts of experiences so much better
You will have a better time if you do this. Once you do this and are happy to explore new things, you will be able to devour new experiences and food, meet people you would never have met before and just having a cracking time.
If you are not open to these new experiences, then what would be the point in traveling anyway?
Flexibility is Key When it Comes to Exploring
I am always one for planning – I want to know where we are going, when we are going and how we will be getting there. But I’ve often found that the best adventures have been the unexpected ones. When me and Luke make plans to go to places, we often find that there are historic houses or even castles on the route home, so of course we detour to them. To be honest, one of my favourite places we explored was when we detoured to Bolsover Castle – that was amazing!
I still think it is good to make plans, but often things don’t always go the way you plan. But that’s okay. Things might not be perfect, but it’ll often create a great story, or you might even find a hidden gem whilst you are out and about. Trust me, I’ve got some great stories thanks to being flexible in my travels.
The key thing I would say is just to make sure you don’t go too crazy on your travels. If you know that you have a budget to stick to, then you can’t just decide to book a first class ticket to Hawaii just because you fancy it (even though I would love to go there).
Before you go off on an adventure, it would be a good idea to make sure that you set up a travel’s saving account, when you know that you don’t have to stick to a strict budget and you have a bit of money saved up, then flexibility becomes super easy and you can just go with the flow when you are out and about!
Things Don’t Come to Those Who Wait and Do Nothing
So I know that sometimes life can just get in the way, I mean if you look at what’s happening now, travel has basically been put on hold since 2020 and maybe won’t be returning to normal until 2022 (sorry to be a downer). But in “normal times”, I have found that if I just sit around and just do nothing, I will never get out of the house. You have to want it AND go for it.
Things might not fall perfectly into your lap, but if you are actively looking and seeking that adventure of your dreams, it will happen.
The one thing that I’ve noticed since starting a travel blog is that I’ve been constantly on the look out of places to go and see, mostly historic places. But I’ve been looking at ways to afford it, how to plan it, when I would be able to go on them, it has completely changed my life because I want to get out and explore. There’s so much more to life then just the 9-5 job (don’t get me wrong I love my job), but exploring the world is just the dream!
The way I see it, and feel free to disagree, is that some people wait around and just float through life, hoping that something will happen to them. But unless you come from an incredible rich family who can just pay for all your flights and accommodation without blinking, or are extremely lucky and win the lottery, it just won’t happen.
People get stuck in a routine, wake up, work, eat, sleep, repeat and I get it, it can be tough to get out of that routine – we all need to be able to afford things right? But if you just spend your days waiting for people to go with, or waiting until you’re in a steady job with a decent income it probably won’t happen.
See that’s the thing about wanting to travel: if something isn’t a priority it will always get left behind.
The World is Big and I will Never See it All
So I don’t mean for this to sound like a downer, but the world is huge and unless I win the lottery and have a bank that would kindly just refill the money I spend, I don’t think I’ll be able to explore all the places that I have come across on the internet.
Since being stuck at home, I have made endless lists of the places that I want to visit, places that I have always wanted to visit, and places that I have only just discovered (partly down to the fantastic people that I follow on my instagram account)!
But the one positive that I can take from this point, is that the world is a big, amazing place and I will never run out of places that I want to explore. And also there are loads of places that I am happy to return to again, and again and again.
It’s like Socrates said: “The more you know, the more you realize you know nothing.” This is true of travel, too — the more you see, the more you realise you’ve seen nothing.
Travel Has Taught Me About Myself
This is probably one of the most important things that I think travel has taught me. Every time I’ve traveled I feel like I’ve left a little piece of me behind, but I bring back with me all the experiences I had whilst I was away. The key thing is that I learnt so much when I’ve been away, and it’s partly with how I’ve dealt with things.
For example, the first time I went to London, the underground scared me so much, and now (admittedly after living there for three years), I can just pop on the tube and just know that I’ll get to where I want to get. But some people might learn that they don’t function that well under pressure, or they might realise that they are superb at reading the tube maps.
The struggles I’ve had in countries when I don’t speak the language fluently, that has often stressed me out, despite me learning a few common words/phrases (and I do try to pick up a few things to help when I use to go abroad). But sometimes I might have just missed something, or perhaps when it comes to reading the signs – that can often be a daunting task.
You might learn that you are passionate, but not patient. Perhaps you are laid-back but not structured. Or maybe you might just be completely willing to try new things (within reason of course).
The point is, every time I’ve traveled, I’ve picked up new things, learned new things and I’ve come home a little bit different since I left. But that’s what so amazing about travelling. It will always teach you something, no matter how small.
I don’t even need to travel far either, even just a trip to somewhere that is only an hour up the road can teach me something. Even if I just find a new type of food, every little thing that I’ve learned has always been worth it. And every trip, every adventure has been completely worth it.
That’s what travel has taught me: what have you learnt from your travelling?