As far as travelling goes, I am clearly a big fan. However, travelling is not just white beaches and fancy cocktails. Travelling can be tough, can drive you to tears and can challenge you in ways you didn’t know is possible.
As I’m reflecting on the year and the challenges that came with it I got thinking about the 5 things that I am learning thanks to my love of travelling. All of these lessons are lessons that I can take into my career and personal relationships too.
1. Be patient
Whether you are waiting for a plane, train, painkillers to kick in, hotel rooms, your partner to stop shopping you will learn the value of being patient. Just to be clear, I have NOT mastered this skills. I can be incredibly impatient, but I am glad to say that I have a new appreciation for patience. I am aware of how important it is to give in and let go. Being impatient while you are travelling means that you’ll just spend a lot of your energy being negative and probably miss a lot of great thing around you.
2. Leave room for surprise
Most people I know like to prepare before travelling. We want to do as much research as possible, and you should. But don’t go travelling without any room for surprises. We’ve changed a lot in this regard. From having every hour planned out, to only having 3 – 5 must see things on our list per trip. The rest is up to our mood, stomachs, or the advice of locals we meet while travelling. This led us to discover war bunkers in Vietnam, a secret garden in Edinburgh and meeting an amazing restaurant owner in Porto.
3. Stand your ground
Travelling has also and continues to teach me the importance of saying no. It’s unlikely that travelling doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg. Most of the time you’ve put your hard earned money towards the trip you’ve dreamed of for months or even years. It’s important that you feel comfortable to sometimes say no. If the rest of the groups wants to go drinking, but you will get more value from an early night, say no. Keen to shop instead of museum hopping, say you’ll meet up with your partner later. Don’t be mean, ever, but make sure you travel with people who can comfortably say no to. This is your experience too and you need to make sure you get the most out of it. There are few things as annoying as coming back from a trip and feeling like you didn’t get out of it what you needed to. You need to ask yourself, will you ever be here in this moment again and how you would like to spend it.
4. Just ask
I have not met a single person while travelling that wasn’t happy to help me out. I’ve asked for directions, recommendations for restaurants, shopping, hotels, and I was met with a friendly face every time. In the event that someone didn’t understand English we kindly acknowledged each other then I moved on. You have to make an effort to find out what the locals get up to, and sometimes simply just how to get there. It kind of goes hand in hand with speaking up.
5. Capture each moment, properly
Nowadays it’s easy to post a picture or two to social media and think that you’ve got it covered. But your trip is most likely something that you will never have the joy of reliving again. Write it down, take a picture on an actual camera, and keep those memories around forever. I can kick myself for ditching my camera from my cellphone camera many years ago and not writing down details of holidays. I’ve now converted to having an actual camera again and the blog helps me capture all my trips. It’s great to think that I can look back on all my trips and hopefully one day when I’m not able to travel anymore revisit all the places I’ve been. You certainly won’t regret it!
Now, some of my favourite travel pictures.