Travel is the best education there is out there. Sure, you learn all sorts of important skills in school, there’s no discounting that, but travel offers you life experience in leaps and bounds. The lessons you discover about yourself, others and the world while traveling are incomparable to what you learn while sitting in a classroom. From weekend trips to month-long stays to a year of backpacking, there are life-defining moments etched into your journey when you leave the comfort of home to step into the unknown.
Here are 5 things you’ll learn while traveling that classes in school won’t teach you.
1. THE WORLD DOESN’T REVOLVE AROUND YOU
You may be the apple of your family’s eye at home, but once you journey out into the world, all bets are off. You’re just one person on a planet filled with billions, one minuscule dot in a universe so big your mind can’t even comprehend. It’s pretty humbling once you realise that sometimes there are more important issues, more pressing needs than your tiny problems.
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So don’t take yourself too seriously, break free from your bubble and move out of your comfort zone. The grass may not always be greener on the other side – you’ll learn soon enough to appreciate what you’ve got. The world doesn’t center on you, but it’s got lots to offer; don’t let opportunities pass by.
2. BE SPONTANEOUS, ADAPT AND TRY NEW THINGS
Welcome change – in fact, embrace it. Try anything and everything. Take risks, but keep within reason, of course. Somehow, when you’re in another country, you feel less judged and more courageous to do what you ordinarily won’t. Things may not always go your way, but be patient and flexible and learn to roll with the punches. Experiences are worth so much more than material goods – you’re making memories that are more valuable than any amount of cash.
3. PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY INNATELY GOOD
Want to restore your faith in humanity? Travel. You might experience rudeness and inhospitality, but also an abundance of warmth, acceptance and friendliness from natives (and other travellers). The world isn’t as bad as you think – news about wars, terrorist attacks and natural disasters are terrifying, but keep in mind that the media love to sensationalise these events.
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Don’t let that scare you or deter you from traveling. Don’t put yourself in dangerous situations, of course, but there’s a fine line between fear and cowardice. There are tons of good people in the world, you just have to put yourself out there and find them.
4. YOUR ABILITIES EXTEND FAR BEYOND WHAT YOU THINK
Confidence, courage and compassion are just some of the things you’ll learn when traveling. You’ll find yourself pushed to your physical, mental and emotional limits. You’ll discover what you’re really made of and who you really are, especially when thrown into unfamiliar situations.
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You’ll gain new perspectives and learn to connect with others beyond language or cultural differences. You’ll see that you can make a difference; you don’t have to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to help others – the smallest gestures can mean the world to someone else.
5. STEREOTYPES ARE STUPID
Okay, some stereotypes exist for a reason. But most are created from what we see on television or the big screen. When you travel, you’ll realise there’s so much more to an entire race of people than what you previously boxed them into. So banish those stereotypes. We’re not that different, after all. We’re all people – keep an open mind and you just might be surprised.
About the writer:
Alicia Lee is a dessert junkie with a serious (and probably incurable) case of wanderlust. Never one to pass up on retail therapy, she loves a great bargain and can usually be spotted on weekends browsing through quirky shops or chillaxing at a quiet cafe.