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Many of life’s lessons are learned while on the road experiencing new adventures, cultures, and people. From realizing that home is where the heart is to respecting different cultures, travel has taught us a lot. Whether you’re on the road now or wishing you were, we think you’ll nod your head and agree with these life lessons learned from travel. Check out the list and then add your life lesson learned in the comments!
Travel Life Lessons
Traveling isn’t just about visiting landmark sites and taking Instagram shots (though we always enjoy that too!). Traveling is also about experiencing new cultures, meeting new people, and discovering who you are.
Here, our readers are sharing the life lessons they didn’t learn until they traveled.
We Are All More Alike Than We Realize
A lot of times we assume that all cultures are so different and, therefore, people around the world are very different. However, when we travel, we learn that we actually are all pretty similar. As one reader sums it up, “we are just people!”
- “I learned how much alike we are as humankind. We all want to enjoy life and eat good food.”
- “The world is a very big place and very diverse, but deep down, no matter what country we are from, no matter our skin color or our beliefs we all want the same things: to be loved, for our loved ones to be safe and healthy, and hopefully peaceful.”
- “Everyone’s the same. That is, people are people wherever you go. When I was a teen and traveled to Japan, my host sister was my same age and dealing with the same issues I was.”
- “As Maya Angelou says, ‘We are more like, my friends, than we are unalike.’”
Tip: Want to make connections with other cultures more easily? Learn some of their traditions! Use a travel guide, such as the Culture Smart! Series, which offer tips for customs and cultures.
The World is Both Big and Small
Physically, the world is huge. Few people have traveled to every country and, even after visiting a country several times, there’s still so much more you can see. However, while large, it’s also small, in the sense that we often run into people we know or find how similar some cultures can be.
- “It wasn’t until I traveled that I realized just how big and wonderful our world is.”
- “I learned that I am really humbled by other cultures and of the big world we live in.”
- “I realized that the world really is a very small place.”
- “The world is much smaller than we think and we are more alike than we can ever imagine!”
Tip: When you travel, bring a journal to document your experiences. They’re just as valuable and memorable as photographs!
We Don’t Need as Much Stuff as We Realize
So often, we overpack when we travel. It’s not until we’re on the road that we realize we don’t need as much as we think we do. We only need a few minimal toiletries and clothing to get by and enjoy life.
Our readers said:
- “I learned how few clothes I need, even at home.”
- “You realize just how much stuff (material things) don’t matter.”
- “We can be too concerned with looks and clothes when nobody else really cares what we look like or are wearing.”
- “Experiences are worth so much more than stuff.”
- “Amazing experiences outweigh stuff any day!”
Tip: Traveling with just a carry-on suitcase is such a game changer. Instead of lugging around heavy bags, you can instead focus on your travel experiences!
You Can Make with Connections with People Everywhere
When you travel, you never know who you’ll meet. So many people make lifelong friends while traveling, or even just a momentary connection that makes your trip more enjoyable.
Our readers said:
- “When you travel you learn that people all over are friendly and eager to help.”
- “Learning a few words and phrases in another language makes for an unforgettable experience in other countries. The smiles you get when you try to speak their language, even if you butcher it, is awesome!”
- “Traveling shows you how beautiful the world and some people are.”
- “I realized that the Golden Rule always prevails. People will appreciate it!”
- “I learned how kind and friendly most people are.”
Tip: When traveling, it’s helpful to bring a translation guide. Locals always appreciate it when you try to speak their language! We love Lonely Planet’s series of phrase books and dictionaries.
Traveling is Educational (and Addictive)
It’s so true when they say you can learn by traveling. Experiencing a new place can teach you more than any book can about culture and people. And, not to mention, it’s also addictive!
Our readers said:
- “You learn so much by traveling to different cultures.”
- “The more I see, the more I want to see!”
- “Travel is one of the most educational experiences a person can have. I am an American, but I prefer being a citizen of the world. Living outside one’s country makes you understand things from different perspectives.”
- “Getting out of one’s familiar surroundings is the best way to grow.”
- “I realize that I’m always ready for a new adventure as soon as I get home.”
Tip: When traveling, we love to read a book that is set in our destination. Even if it’s fiction, it makes for a great companion. One reader says, “For light reading, I try to find a good mystery or two set in the place I’m visiting. If the book is set another time period, even better. Most recently, I’ve been reading Rebecca Cantrell’s Hannah Vogel series set in pre-World War II Berlin.” See more book recommendations from our readers here!
You Learn Who You Really Are
Perhaps the best benefit of traveling is that you not only learn about the world, but you can actually learn more about yourself. You learn your travel preferences, what you like and dislike, and what type of experiences you enjoy when you travel. Traveling also teaches you how much you appreciate your travel companions!
Our readers said:
- “I learned how much I love traveling alone.”
- “Traveling taught me that I love life so much and there are so many fun things to do.”
- “Travel showed me my body is powerful, capable, and beautiful. It takes me places.”
- “I learned how strong and independent I really am.”
- “The only way to truly grow is to step out of your comfort zone.”
- “I learned that I can do absolutely anything I want to!”
- “It wasn’t until I traveled solo that I realized how brave I am.”
- “I learned traveling is not as scary as I imagined!”
- “Traveling taught me I was capable of a lot.”
- “Traveling taught me who I really was.”
- “I learned that my husband is the best travel companion!”
- “I realized how much my husband does for me on a day-to-day basis and how much I love and appreciate him.”
What travel life lessons have you learned? Comment below!
For more travel tips, please read the following:
- Life Lessons from 9 Years of Full-Time Travel
- How to Fit Everything in a Carry-on (Video Tutorial)
- Ten-Step Packing Guide to Travel Anywhere in One Bag
- Confused About the Best Luggage Organizer? Read This
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