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20 Lessons You Can Only Learn From Traveling

By Collette Stohler
Posted on 11 Apr, 2018

20 Lessons You Can Only Learn From Traveling

Have you ever been bitten by the travel bug? Most of us have had the urge to travel, whether domestically or internationally. You might even have a checklist (or Pinterest board) of places you want to go. Maybe you want to dance in the walled colonial Caribbean city of Cartagena, drink Malbec in Argentina, climb glaciers in New Zealand or hike the dangerously active Mt. Etna on Sicily’s east coast.

But aside from all the amazing memories, crazy stories and incredible pictures, the lessons you learn about yourself and the world can be just as powerful and long-lasting. Even if you haven't traveled extensively, you can still learn from these travel bloggers who have made a career out of the art of travel.


1. Sometimes You Just Have to Take the Leap

“There is never going to be a perfect time for something. In travel, we have a limited amount of time to experience a certain place, thus we are engaged in the moment and the ‘perfect time’ becomes the present. As much as we can tell ourselves that 'someday' things will be different -- someday we will decide to stand up to that bully, someday we will decide to start that workout -- but someday is not a day of the week, and it will never come. Now is the time, today is the day.” --Collette and Scott Stohler, bloggers at Roamaroo

[Related: 6 Little Ways To Feel More Confident Every Day]


2. Seek Out the Locals

“Once in Vinales in Cuba, the owner of a small roadside fruit hut asked me if I wanted to see his land when he closed the hut at 5 p.m. I said yes. I was there on time and helping him close up. We walked through a mini forest to the richest land around. He gave me a private tour of all the fruit, vegetables and sugar cane they cultivate. He and his uncle then prepared special fruit juices with rum. Some of the freshest and best juices I had tasted. It was a unique experience because I said yes to a local. Always opt for local experiences rather than the beaten trail.” --Ben Walker, President of ZOOM PR

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3. Let Certain Things Go

“If the tour is late, you miss a plane, got delayed or the bus brakes down, learn to move on quickly. Don’t dwell on negativity or you will spend the whole trip in a bad mood while others have fun. One of the hardest things in life is to let go, but to have a truly relaxing and stress-free holiday, it is vital. The more you take out your anger on other people, especially in foreign situations, the more likely drama will build and tension will occur, so try to laugh everything off -- it will be a story to tell the kids one day.” --Rachel Pedreschi, blogger at Global Roaming Blog

[Related: 6 Things You Should Stop Feeling Guilty About]


4. There's No Such Thing as a Mistake

“No matter what happens on the road, it’s never a mistake. As was once said, 'your choices are half chance, and so are everybody else's.' When you go with the flow and let the road just unfold ahead of you, there’s no reason to have regrets or think you made a mistake. You make the best decisions you can, and in the end, the journey is the adventure.” --Matthew Kepnes, blogger at Nomadic Matt

[Related: 7 Things You Should Stop Apologizing For]


5. Take Time to Use All Your Senses

“All too often we bury our heads in our phones and computers or work. During our two-week vacation, we’re quick to see a sight, photograph it and move on. The true beauty in travel and sightseeing can be felt when you take time to embrace a city or an attraction. Sometimes we’re so worried about taking a picture of the sight or uploading something to a social network that we fail to see the real beauty in the world and allow it to affect our emotions. When you set your camera down, listen to the sounds, look up all around you and feel what the world is trying to tell you, that’s when the rich experiences become real.” --Collette and Scott Stohler, bloggers at Roamaroo

[Related: How To Be A Monk Without Restrictions]


6. Appreciate Where You Come From

“Home roaming is a simple must do for everyone on earth. I was inspired by a close friend who had made the trip up to the northwest coast of Western Australia to Coral Bay, returning with some amazing photos of the reef. I was instantly jealous and saddened that I had lived in Australia my whole life and had never been there, so I packed my bags and went. I will never regret that trip. I understand now why people love Australia and how magical it is. Plus, I now cherish the privileges I had growing up. Go ahead, Google your city, see what comes up as the top five attractions.” --Rachel Pedreschi, blogger at Global Roaming Blog

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7. It’s Never Too Late to Change

“Even if you aren’t the traveler or person you want to be in your head, it’s never too late to change. Travel is all about change. The more you say 'tomorrow,' the less likely it is that tomorrow will ever come. Traveling has shown me aspects of my personality I wish I didn’t have and also shown me I’m really lazy. I’ve always lived by the phrase 'Carpe Diem,' but sometimes I don’t really do it. It’s never too late, though, and realizing that has made being more pro-active a lot easier.” --Matthew Kepnes, blogger at Nomadic Matt

[Related: Do You Dream Of Doing Something Else?]


8. Allow Your Brain to Take In Everything

“Brains are the computer system in which our bodies operate and move. Our senses get information in and experience out and give us the tools to move through different environments. When we travel through a new destination, our brains take it all in and let us enjoy. Whether it be marveling at art and architecture, tasting cuisine that is new and different, touching pieces of history that past wanderers have touched for years before you, all of the goodness, we owe it to our brains. You exist in your brain. Let it have full control of your experience, without worry.” --Kate Cummins, Psy.D., neuro-psychologist and blogger at DrKateCummins.com

[Related: How to Actually Achieve Your Goals Before the Year Ends]


9. Collect Moments, Not Things

“Sink into the raw sunset in lieu of fumbling with your phone camera. Spend four hours at the corner bar over rushing to make the last tour train. Carry with you only the lingering laughter of new friendships. Be willing to leave behind souvenirs, sightseeing and a piece of your soul.” --Christine Conforti, life coach and founder of Christine Conforti Lifestyle

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10. Don't Assume the Worst of People

“All over the world, I have encountered amazing people who have not only changed my life but have gone out of their way to help me. It’s taught me that the old saying is true -- you can always depend on the kindness of strangers. My friend Greg taught me long ago not to be guarded against strangers. We grow up in this culture of fear in America that is unrealistic. 99.9999 percent of the people in the world aren’t murders, rapists or thieves. There’s no reason to assume someone is one. Sometimes, people are just trying to be friendly.” --Matthew Kepnes, blogger at Nomadic Matt

[Related: How to Love Your Haters]


11. Get Moving

“On my first day in a city, I lace up those running shoes and run around a city. I not only get a good workout in, but I get to scope out a big area of the city in a lesser amount of time. A huge bonus of running on your vacation is that it helps align your circadian clock. If you’re not a big runner, try walking or renting a city bike. The best part about this is, you don’t need to travel to Paris or Cape Town to explore. Just open the door and go for a walk. A change of scenery is good for the mind, the heart and the soul. Plus, it’s free.” --Collette and Scott Stohler, bloggers at Roamaroo

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12. A Little Bit of Anxiety Can Be a Good Thing

“When traveling and experiencing new places, new ground, new uncharted territory, we are forced to get out of our comfort zones. Travel pushes us to new levels of discomfort. However, for most individuals to fully learn and grow to the highest potential, this type of push helps create new space that may have had limited opportunities in the past. Although some situations or places may increase anxiety, these experiences are also creating new brain connections and memories, and they also teach you things about your own abilities to overcome what you otherwise would have never known existed within.” --Kate Cummins, Psy.D., neuro-psychologist and blogger at DrKateCummins.com

[Related: How To Stop Stressing About Things You Can’t Control]


13. Always Travel With Pedialyte

“With travel come lengthy flights, long days touring and perhaps a few too many local beers. All of which can leave you in a dangerous state of dehydration. If you want to hit up the bars at night and still tour the land by day without a hangover in the morning, drink Pedialyte before bed. Unlike water, sports drinks or juice, Pedialyte contains the medically recommended balance of sugar and sodium to promote absorption and help replenish what we lose from those must-have drinks. This has been my secret for years -- and it works like a charm. You can thank me later.” --Dana Conklin, world traveler and director

[Related: Tips For Staying Healthy While Travelling]


14. Being Solo Doesn't Mean You're Lonely

“The intense nature of travel is that you can meet someone at a hostel common room or over a bowl of soup at a street stall and be fast friends. Not only can you share a meal but share the next one and potentially the next one, and you suddenly find yourself in a different city than you planned with someone you now think of as a friend. People are nervous about traveling alone, and while there are common-sense tips to think about, the loneliness is rarely a factor if you step outside your comfort zone and are willing to strike up a conversation with a stranger.” --Jodi Ettenberg, blogger at Legal Nomads

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15. Keep Your Sense of Humor

“Perhaps the most important quality on the road is having a sense of humor. The beautiful part of traveling is that you encounter life and obstacles that are outside of your ordinary routine. But sometimes, so much change can be stressful. Dealing with change is an important part of life and traveling teaches you how to handle change and unexpected situations. One of the best ways to handle such stress is by having a sense of humor. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t worry about stresses that pop up, but if you can laugh about getting off at a wrong stop or missing your train, it’s a lot less stressful.” --Stephanie Huynh, blogger at The Passport Lifestyle

[Related: The 5 Biggest Regrets People Have Before They Die]


16. Visualize Your Journey Before You Leave

“Have you ever sat and pictured yourself traveling to a place that you eventually ended up traveling to? Did you visualize and picture the culture, people and energy of a place before you got there? Visualization is a powerful tool. Before you travel anywhere, visualize being in that place. The beauty of traveling can be found when you take the step towards discovery. And now due to technology, we have the means to explore the entire planet. Leaving the fear of the unknown is one of the most thrilling capabilities in life. The world is abundant and now, (unlike any other time) we are able to explore it in its entirety.” --Jazzy Washington, blogger at Big Apple Lifestyle

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17. Pack Clothes You Want to Donate

“Have clothes you want to give away? You may want to hold off. If you’re traveling for long periods of time and want to lighten the load and make room for souvenirs here’s one easy trick I’ve learned: Pack garments you don’t mind losing -- shirts, shorts, even undies. As you wear them on your trip, leave them behind. You can even donate clothes to a local agency and help people in need. Each day your bag will be lighter and you’ll have more room to shop.” --Dana Conklin, world traveler and director

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18. Pack Some Unusual Essentials

“Things I always have in my bag, regardless of what climate I pack for: a safety whistle (also doubles as a monkey-scaring device), doorstop (helps you feel more safe when you are in a solo room), headlamp (use it all the time), duct tape (for bags, for screens on windows, for ripped clothes in a pinch), a sleep sheet (so comfy) and sarong (towel, scarf and cover up all in one). I’ve got many other mainstays as well, but these four are there for shorter trips or longer trips or anything in between.” --Jodi Ettenberg, blogger at Legal Nomads

[Related: How to Make Your Flaws Work in Your Favor]


19. Write Your Own Story

“Ultimately, this is your own life and your own story to write. By quitting our jobs to follow our dream of traveling the world, my husband and I decided to take matters into our own hands and create the life and love we wanted to live. When you fast forward to the future when you’re old and grey (unfortunately, it will happen to all of us), and you’re telling your grandchildren the story of your life, what do you want to tell them? What do you want to teach them? What do you want to be most proud of? It’s your story and only yours. Choose your path and do so unapologetically.” --Collette and Scott Stohler, bloggers at Roamaroo

[Related: How To Come Up With A Kick-Ass Personal Mantra]


20. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

“I learned this after letting my finances frustrate me while on a recent ‘travel spree.’ I punished myself with all this frustration about how I was spending my money only to have everything work out anyway. When handling frustrations and travel, the best thing to do is to remember that everything works itself out. It always does. The universe will literally take care of all your needs if you relax and let it... While traveling, anticipate unexpected things to occur that involve spending more money, but don’t allow it to ruin your choice to decide how you handle it. Because at the end of the day, it always works out.” --Jazzy Washington, blogger at Big Apple Lifestyle

[Related: How To Stop Feeling Like You Don’t Have Enough Time]


What Do YOU Think?

Have you traveled a lot? Where have you gone? Where would you like to go? What have you learned from traveling the world? Did any of these travel lessons resonate with you? Do you think you'll make a point to apply these to your next journey? Share your thoughts, stories and suggestions in the comments section below.

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