Traveling the world has more benefits than just seeing beautiful scenery and experiencing different cultures around the globe. It can also teach us things about ourselves, our values and the way we live our lives. Here are 5 life lessons learned while traveling the world.
1. Trying new things is an essential part of being human
If you tend to stay in the same place abiding by the same routine day after day, you know boredom well. You probably also know that, if you were given the chance to try new things more often, you would take it.
Traveling shows us that, deep down, we crave venturing into the unknown to see what we can find. It can be scary and overwhelming on the surface, but when it comes down to it, those who have traveled the world are much more satisfied with the experiences they have had while doing so.
When we try new things, it’s quite possible we are going to end up enjoying something we otherwise would have missed out on. Traveling the world, even if you’ve done it already once or twice, is a new experience every time, filled with new places, people and unpredictable circumstances. It is worth giving the unfamiliar a try.
2. Your comfort zone can suffocate you, but you have control
Your comfort zone is the part of you that tries to hold you back from exploring the uncharted territories of your life. A comfort zone grows with you, so when you stay in the same place and let it convince you that you’re satisfied with the same old things, it never gets any bigger. Traveling the world, however, can change this instantly.
There are more reasons to step outside your comfort zone than there are not to, and traveling is a great way to challenge yourself to do things that scare you. What is so effective about world travel related to fear and exposure is that it does not come at you little by little. You step off of a plane and are immediately immersed in the unfamiliar, and there is no way to turn back or retreat.
There is no better way to stretch out your comfort zone than to stretch your own limits and see how far you can go. You might be afraid to speak to strangers or travel alone or stand out in a crowd, but you will have to face all of these things or more when traveling around the globe, and it is a way you can take complete control over your comfort zone and therefore your whole life.
3. You are never, truly, alone
Sometimes, when we are walking down strange roads in life or are struggling to make things work, life can get lonely. It can begin to feel as though we are the only ones feeling the way we feel. That sense of isolation often drives us to seek some kind of change or thrill, and traveling often cures us of that loneliness, but maybe not for the reasons you might think.
When we travel, we are making a choice to open ourselves up to the world, both physically and emotionally. We force ourselves to step away from the only thing we know as reality and face something different. But somehow that makes us more willing to let in strangers and trust ourselves.
Even if you travel by yourself, you quickly learn that even without a companion by your side, you are never truly alone in the world. There will always be someone walking the same path as you, even if you only pass each other on the way. There will always be someone willing to help you, as long as you are willing to reach out and ask for it.
4. There is no such thing as a mistake
When you make mistakes, do you cringe, worry and over-apologize? We all do, to a certain extent. The problem is, we often overlook the fact that mistakes were never intended to have the negative connotation they do today. Mistakes are supposed to be something we learn from, not something we feel shame in spite of.
We often go through life thinking that mistakes are the worst possible things we can do to ourselves and to others. Perfectionism has a way of locking us into boxes we cannot escape, but when we make the decision to let mistakes happen, learn from them and accept them, everything changes.
Traveling the world does not come without the occasional mistake. You will forget something, you will say the wrong thing in a different language, you will get lost or end up in a different place than you originally intended. This is more beneficial to you than you might imagine.
5. Things almost never go as planned, and that is OK
When you’re used to doing things on a schedule and following a strict routine, getting out of that is not easy. But it is probably one of the most valuable lessons you will learn, and by traveling, you will learn it very quickly, and this is a good thing.
Traveling the world, we quickly come to realize things do not usually go exactly the way we expect. Flights get delayed or canceled. We end up in the wrong place. We have to be on alert, and know how to handle things in front of us even if we didn’t plan to do so. We also have to realize that doing something unplanned, just for fun, is completely okay.
All this will train you to be more spontaneous even when you return to your everyday routine. We cannot always walk into an experience thinking everything will go exactly as planned, because the reality is, most of the time it won’t. We have to be prepared to handle, and embrace, the unexpected.
You are never too old to learn, the same way you are never too old or too young to travel around the world. The lessons world travel can teach you are some of the most valuable you will carry with you long after you return home.