When I traveled abroad I had no idea what I was in for. I didn’t realize how much traveling would change my life and my perspective on everything. I was inspired to write about this after recently speaking to a group of seniors at Virginia Commonwealth University, my alma mater. (Go Rams!)
I was asked by one of the students if what I learned in school helped me in life. Before I answered their questions, I asked the professor how real could I be? Lol I wanted to be as real and transparent as possible. So what I told them was, “while I think school is important, I also believe having first-hand experiences truly prepares you in ways that you couldn’t even imagine and shapes your character.” That is what travel, amongst other things, has done for me. You can grab a book and read about some of the most beautiful and historic places in the world, but to actually pick up and travel to another place to learn about something first hand, that’s where the real knowledge comes from.
Here are the 3 Major Life Lessons Traveling the World Has Taught Me:
1.Appreciate the little things
I know this sounds cliche, but it’s so true. It’s easy to overlook things that we may think are small things in life. But in reality, they are monumental. For instance, having access to water. When I wake up in the morning one of the first things I do is drink water and throughout the day I’m constantly using water that’s readily available in my house. However, last year I stayed in a beautiful hostel in the middle of the Carribean and we didn’t have access to running water. There are also several countries where you can’t even drink the water. These aren’t things most people, who have access to clean water, think about when they’re washing their hands or going to grab for a cup of water in the morning. My trip has taught me to practice more gratitude and be thankful for the things I have in life.
2.The importance of time
When I came back from my 8-month long trip I moved back to Williamsburg, VA. Initially, I wasn’t too thrilled to come back home. But to be honest, it’s been so nice to be able to leisurely spend time with loved ones. I can’t remember the last time I spent an indefinite amount of time with my family without feeling rushed to get back to work. When I worked full time in NYC, it wasn’t easy to get back down to Virginia to spend time with my family. Taking time off to travel and spend this time with my family has been amazing. What I know for sure is that time is something you never get back, therefore you have to spend it wisely. 🙂
3.Work smarter not harder
During my trip, I met several people that decided to leave their home country to start a new career or business venture. Most of them were from the States, but I ran into a few that had left places like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and Germany. Over and over again, I started to realize that while everyone came from different places everyone had a similar story. They wanted to experience a calmer lifestyle, one where they could earn a decent living and yet still have time and energy to enjoy life. I met a guy in Barcelona who worked as an English teacher during the school year and over the summer he worked as a tour operator for a company that took travelers snorkeling and kayaking in the sea and he loved it! That’s just one example of the many people I spoke to. The idea of ‘working smarter, not harder’ is what really inspired me to live life on my own terms and create the life that will allow me to do all the things I want to do while I still can.
I’d love to hear about any life lessons you’ve learned from your travels!