If you type “lessons learned from traveling” into Google search, you’ll come up with enough reading material for an entire week! It’s interested to read how travel influences people perspective about the world. One thing you’ll probably notice if you read through some of these articles is that people who travel don’t remain stuck in their own ideas. They change, they evolve and learn something from their travel experiences.
- 10 Lessons I Learned from Traveling the World
- 1. High expectations may ruin your trip
- 2. Your home is better than any hotel
- 3. Humans are neither good nor bad, they are just humans
- 4. English is not an international language
- 5. Travel is addictive
- 6. Staying on a tight budget when you travel will take all the fun away
- 7. Don’t reject different opinions
- 8. Camping is best enjoyed when you are young
- 9. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence
- 10. There is no place like home
10 Lessons I Learned from Traveling the World
In this article I’m going to share with you how traveling influenced my opinions about life in general, about people, as well as the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
1. High expectations may ruin your trip
We all have expectations, lots of expectations. It’s our human nature, whether we are aware of it or not. And when it comes to our vacation we feel entitled to have them.
First comes the good weather expectation, the timely service, the nice hotel room, and the list goes on and on. But from the check-in line at the airport, to the lost luggage or the messed up hotel reservations, the realities of travel turn out to be much different than our idyllic calculations.
Expecting the unexpected may sometimes form of the most memorable part of your travel experience.
2. Your home is better than any hotel
I don’t know what other people settle for when it comes to lodging, but I’m very picky about hotel rooms. They have to be exceptionally clean, a decent size, not on the ground floor, to have a comfortable bed, an up-to-date bathroom. And, if they don’t have a view, they should at least not face the dumpster! Do you think that’s too much to ask?
Apparently the hotel industry doesn’t care too much about what you think, as long as people keep renting their rooms. Truth is that unless you are ready to spend a fortune on lodging, there is a very little chance you’ll get what you desire. Sometimes, even if you pay more you may still not get what you want.
In my over 30 years of travel I’ve stayed in low and high end hotels, rental apartments, time share resorts, with friends and family. But in all my traveling years I’ve learned a lesson: no matter how much I pay for a room, or how comfortable and fancy it is, I’ll never feel as good in a hotel as I feel in my own bed, or in my own home.
3. Humans are neither good nor bad, they are just humans
Most of us worry about bad people when we travel, but the human population is not worse in some places than in others. People can do both good and bad things in different circumstances. But overall we met more good people than bad ones and that helped us learn a valuable lesson.
Many years back on a trip to Europe, we stopped in Sorrento we hired a motor boat to take us to visit the Blue Grotto. The Grotto can be accessed only through a tight opening in the rocky wall, so only dinghies and small rowboats can pass through the opening. As a result, we had to leave our belongings on the motor boat and move to a dinghy to visit the Grotto.
It was a very hot day and we were wearing only our swim suits. I was worried about leaving our loaded wallet on the motor boat, so I asked my husband to tuck it into his swimsuit. We weren’t going to swim anyway, as swimming in the Blue Grotto is not allowed. But to our surprise, at the end of the tour the boatman – eager to get some tip – told us we could get into the water for a few minutes.
Without giving it another thought, my husband jumped head on. But on the return trip he realized he lost his wallet. The boatman offered to go back into the Grotto and dive for the wallet. I was sure he wasn’t going to return with the wallet, even if he found it. But to our surprise, he came back with it. I never felt more ashamed and humbled for thinking bad about him.
4. English is not an international language
You may be surprised to hear that English is an international language only in the business world. But when you travel in the non-English-speaking countries you may find very little use for it. This is one of the lessons I’ve learned very soon after I started traveling outside the US.
People working in the tourist areas tend to know it enough to deal with the tourists. However, the great majority of the population on the street doesn’t speak any English. So learning a few basic words in another language will always come in handy and will be greatly appreciated by the locals.
5. Travel is addictive
Once you get into the habit of traveling, staying put for more than a few months at a time becomes a punishment. You start dreaming about new itineraries and find yourself making travel plans before you even have a precise destination in mind. The more places you see, the more you realize how little you’ve actually seen of this world.
6. Staying on a tight budget when you travel will take all the fun away
I’m always worry about the money, but trying to stay on a budget when you are on vacation is both painful and difficult. For most of us traveling is a reward for the hard work and sacrifices we make during the year. As a result, we like to splurge a little here and there.
You don’t have to ruin your finances, of course, but counting pennies when you travel will take all the fun away. You can diet at home, but when you are in France you must enjoy the Foie Gras and the Champagne. Who knows when you’ll be in France again!
7. Don’t reject different opinions
People with different opinions are not necessarily stupid or stubborn. When someone is sure about something, your words won’t convince them otherwise, so don’t try to convert them. Just hear the other side of the story and don’t be afraid to be wrong sometimes. Can you imagine how boring this world would be if we all had the same thoughts and the same opinions?
8. Camping is best enjoyed when you are young
Camping has many benefits besides being the cheapest getaway. Among other things, it doesn’t require much prior planning and gives you an opportunity to enjoy nature close-up.
Back in 70’s and 80’s we used to go camping with our friends in very remote places and had a lot of fun. No showers? No problem! Lack of comfort? Who cares? But let’s face it, camping is not the most comfortable way of traveling. Even the best organized campgrounds in the world are a far-cry for the comfort of a hotel room.
There are some things that you’ll mostly enjoy when you are young and camping is one of them. Ask me now if I’d want to repeat the experience and I’ll say NO! But those great memories will never go away.
9. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence
When we travel we always seem to notice the advantages that people have in other parts of the world, but seldom see the disadvantages. It’s so easy to get carried away by the beauty of a place and forget that underneath the surface life may be very different.
If you get ecstatic about a beautiful country and envy those who live there, you are not alone. Others feel the same way when they visit your country.
10. There is no place like home
Many Americans become disenchanted with their country once they start traveling abroad. They discover a world that is not obsessed with achievements or material things, where people take more time to enjoy their life. For me though the opposite is true.
The more I see the world, the more I appreciate this country that is now my home. United States may not be perfect and I sometimes worry about its future, but for now it is still the best place to live.