With all the craziness going on in the world, it’s easy to be weary of traveling abroad. I was looking back on my experiences today, and realized that I would never give up my travels for anything, and I will continue to travel for as long as I am able. While traveling I have met unforgettable friends, made amazing memories, and learnt lessons that will stick with me for a lifetime. Here are some of the lessons that have made an impact on my life:
Value Experiences Over Material Possessions
On my first European escapade, I packed way too much. I wanted Audrey Hepburn-esq outfits for Paris, and large Sunhats for the Tuscan countryside. I wanted to pack the perfect carry-on, and have all the cute passport accessories. While all these things are great and fun, I quickly learned that I a) wanted a lighter bag b) just wanted to be comfortable and c) had the most fun when I forgot about “things” and just lived in the moments. It sounds cliché, but I really do feel richer in knowledge and happiness from the places I’ve been, and people I’ve talked to rather than the things I own.
Looks Can Be Deceiving
Those travel photography pictures you see – they are edited and cropped to make the picture look perfect. I have learned to go into a new place with a totally open mind. Not having expectations means not being disappointed by unrealistic images. I never compare my trip to someone else’s, and this way I can fall in love with a city for my own totally unique reasons.
Things Won’t Go As Planned
And this will be okay. A missed flight once led me to the most beautiful day in Bruges. Roll with the punches, and be open to anything!
Lose Your Prejudices
Lose all of your preconceived ideas about people, places, foods, and experiences. Traveling is all about meeting new people, and getting out of your comfort zone. If you don’t keep an open mind you will miss out on a lot of amazing things. We once became good friends with a Russian bartender who told us we completely changed his opinion on Americans!
Don’t Be Afraid To Make Friends
This goes hand and hand with the “lose your prejudice” lesson I learned. At home, I was a little bad at this myself. I stayed with my core group of friends that I was used to. Traveling is the perfect time to come out of your shell and meet new people. Everyone will have awesome stories to share, and the locals could take you to some hidden gems!
You Have To Try New Things
Whether it’s those weird snail things in Paris (escargot) or Bungee jumping in Peru… I surprised myself by all of the risks I took while traveling.
Don’t Try To Control or Plan Everything
Some of the best nights we had were spontaneous. Go with the flow and wander off the beaten path.
Don’t Be Afraid… At All
With all of the craziness going on in the world, a lot of people ask me is travelling safe. The truth is, during all of my time traveling I have never found myself in a dangerous situation. This isn’t to say not to be cautious. However, do not let fear keep you from experiencing the world because life isn’t meant to be lived in your comfort zone.