What's the Best Lesson You've Learned While Traveling?
Since leaving my old life working in the financial realm of New York City a year and a half ago I’ve learned many life lessons that I never would have had I remained behind a desk staring at a screen, answering phones and going to meetings. The best lesson I’ve learned so far in that time is how to let go. Whether it be saying goodbye to family, a new beautiful city, friends I had made or women I’ve fallen for, it gets easier every time. This has improved my life in so many ways and has enabled me to shift my focus on all the beautiful places and experiences that lie in front of me. Make no mistake, at first this was all incredibly difficult for me, but time and practice can help anyone become an expert at nearly anything if only you allow them to.
I started traveling in 2013 really. My mom is the reason why. We were very close and she was my best friend. She was in her final days here. I was sitting on the edge of the bed watching as she looked off into the distance. I asked her what was wrong, as the tears rolled down her cheeks and she told me she was filled with the regret of never having traveled to Paris with my dad. I was so upset, I knew so much about my mom, how did I not know that she had dreamt of Paris? I never had a clue. I asked her why they hadn’t gone, especially once the five of us were grown and out on our own. She shrugged her shoulders and said ” I’m not sure, I guess it was just easier to stay where we were.” I have traveled ever since and write about those travels. Last year, I made it to Paris, on assignment, and walked the city in her memory. I hope she saw me. Life is too short NOT to travel, not to fill my life with all the good that there is out there. Best lesson ever.
I think travel teaches you how to learn to be self-reliant. While overseas, if I got into a situation that made me upset or distressed, I couldn’t just phone mum to talk it through or pop over to a friend’s place to chat over coffee. You can’t do that – so the only thing left to do is to stand on your own two feet. Living abroad taught me how to find a solution to life’s problems on my own first, rather than finding someone else to come up with the answer first.
Theresa, heartbreaking story, thanks for sharing that. I would say my biggest lesson is learning to be flexible and adaptable, rolling with all the unexpected things that happen when traveling. I find happiness is much more attainable the more quickly you’re able to accept change and adapt yourself to it, instead of fighting it so hard.
The biggest lesson was live and let live. People all over have been existing and living certain ways for thousands of years. It’s the traveler that’s foreign not the land. So, let them live and don’t judge them or try to help them how you think they should be helped. Let people live how they know. It’s the greatest compliment to be interested in and take part in how they go about doing things, and an insult to their identity by picking out and showing them what you disagree with. Let it be, live and let live….mon.
Ask questions. By nature, I’m an introvert, so I often feel like I’m invading as a tourist. But I’ve learned that when you ask questions, people open up the door to their worlds, and that is by far the best side effect of traveling!