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So wise | © Alexis Gravel / Flickr
So wise | © Alexis Gravel / Flickr

11 Lessons You Learn From Traveling the Globe

Picture of Jenn Parker
Updated: 1 December 2017

Traveling is a teacher unmatched by any other. The more you travel, the more you’ll learn, and there is no substitution for firsthand experience. While the lessons, experiences, and realizations you will obtain are endless and vastly different for each individual traveler, there are some that are relatively common. When you travel the globe, you learn to… 

Make an Itinerary

Through trail and error and experience, you learn how to construct a pretty exceptional itinerary for wherever you go. You know what’s important to you, where to splurge, how to budget, and how much time you want to spend doing certain activities and at various types of destination. You also figure out how to use various travel apps and websites to find the best prices in airfare, ground transportation, and accommodations.

Go With the Flow

You also learn to throw your plans completely out the window, improvise, and go with the flow. The universe has a funny way at throwing random obstacles in our way, or windows of opportunity that can’t be passed up. You begin to realize that the art of traveling successfully means not fighting the forces of nature or chance happenings.

Navigate

You learn how to navigate through international airports and underground metros, read a map, use a GPS, pay attention to road signs in foreign languages, drive through busy roundabouts, and remain cool when all fails and you are totally lost. You believe that getting lost isn’t a sign of failure, but a chance for a side adventure.

Communicate in New Languages

You pick up basic greetings and simple phases in the languages of places you spend time exploring. You also have a piqued interest in mastering a new language from a region or country that pulls especially hard at your heartstrings. At the very least, you always greet and offer gratitude in the native language of the country you are in.

Appreciate our Differences

Traveling teaches you to appreciate our differences. You realize how boring the world would be if we were all the same. You become more open-minded, tolerant, and fascinated by other cultures, religions, and ways of life by experiencing them firsthand.

Practice Gratitude

Traveling is an eye-opening experience. While there are plenty of places in the world where people are living a similar standard of life to you, there are even more where the standard of living is shocking. You witness stifling poverty, intoxicating pollution, and reminders of past conflicts and times of violence. You see people living in makeshift homes, on the streets, and in windowless aluminum shanties; you see ownerless animals roaming the roads for scraps of food or a drop of water. Through these experiences you learn to appreciate what you have, and also realize that we need to band together and help those who are less fortunate. Travel often inspires action and change.

Believe in Humanity Again

Unfortunately, the media often paints a very negative picture of the world. We are exposed to all the evils and terrors taking place through 24/7 news, but rarely are we shown anything positive. We are brainwashed to think certain people from certain areas are inherently bad or out to get us. It seems every year, more and more places are deemed unsafe to travel to. However, as a world traveler, you learn that while there are evils and terrors in the world and places that aren’t particularly safe to travel to, you don’t have to live your life in fear.

Through your travels, you find that there are more good people in the world than there are bad. You have experiences where your faith in humanity is renewed. You learn that what Aldous Huxley said about traveling, “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries,” is true.

Trust Your Instincts

When your instincts are sending you a message, you listen. We all have an innate fight or flight response, but whether we listen to it is another story. As a world traveler, you become in tune with this psychological reaction. Learning to trust your instincts is what keeps you safe and helps you make decisions that make you happy.

Discover What You Are Made Of

Traveling tests you constantly. You have to make difficult decisions, take risks, be in uncomfortable situations, and put complete trust in yourself. It is through traveling that you continue to learn, evolve, and flourish into your true self. You continued to pass the tests that are thrown your way and with each one you have become wiser and stronger.

Embrace Who You Really Are

The time you spend away from the comfort of your home helps you to discover who you really are. When no one knows who you are, you can be whoever you want to be, and you can be yourself. You discovere and continue to discover new interests, new talents, new dreams, and new parts of your personality that have been locked away.

Live a More Fulfilled Life

The meaning of life is subjective, but through your travels you discover that the main thing is to do what brings you the most joy. You realize that you have one life to live and that no one knows how long their life is going to be. You want to experience the bliss you feel from freely roaming the world in your everyday life, in your chosen profession, in your relationships, in your daily routine, and in your ability to share and spread happiness to others. The point of life is to live it.