With my birthday last week, I looked back to see what I’ve accomplished in these past 23 years. I realize I still have (more or less) 3/4 of my life ahead of me but it’s still nice to look back and see if I’ve done anything worthwhile.
Overall, I would say that I’ve done pretty good for someone who just turned 23. I’ve hit some major milestones like graduating university and I’ve travelled a bit (obviously). But it’s really that last part I want to focus on for the sake of this post. Not in terms of how many places I’ve travelled to or what were my favourite ones, but what have I learned by travelling. People say travel is good to do while you’re young because it can teach you about yourself and life… And after my little walk down memory lane, I have to agree.
So these are 5 life lessons travel taught me:
I have come to firmly believe that fear is the most amazing feeling imaginable. Forget joy, excitement, or even my second favourite, adrenaline. Fear is something that should be embraced. People tend to associate fear with negativity and that’s a good point. But when you think about it, feeling fear during a negative moment could end up saving your life which makes it pretty badass from the start. But the type of fear I want to address is more of the fear you feel before something new. If you go through life and never experience fear, I don’t believe you are pushing yourself enough. It’s an amazing feeling when you are scared and you go through with or face whatever was causing that fear. Embrace that feeling of fear with the knowledge that you are pushing yourself as a person and embarking on the incredible path that is so new to you that your body is telling you to stop.
After just talking about the best, let’s talk about the worst: hindsight. I hate hindsight with a passion. I have wasted so much time thinking and worrying and wondering thanks to it. And really all that thinking, worrying, and wondering was pointless. It only took me out of the moment causing me to fret about what I could have done differently. I’ve learned that it’s best to ignore it. No matter what, you can’t go back a redo anything. Shit happens and there is nothing to do but deal and move on. There is no use in torturing yourself about something that can’t happen.
Kinda playing off of the “Ignore Hindsight” is living now. You have one shot at life so you might as well live it now while you still can. Don’t pass up on an opportunity. Don’t wait for another time. If you want something, you need to work towards it now. I think this is something that I’ve always been able to do and just recently realized how important it is. Don’t wait to take that dream trip until a more convenient time or it might never happen. This is why I always looked for ways to travel while still in school and not conforming my travel to whenever I had time off. Live it now.
Be Detach from Material Things
Maybe this is something more personal for me seeing as how I have (more than once) had to fit my entire life into a suitcase (minus the massive book collection I keep in my parents basement while travelling). Regardless of my personal benefit to being detached from material things, I do believe it is good to be able to not be concerned about them. All things come and go, that’s the nature of life. Your shoes will wear out or become too small. Your electronics will break or become obsolete. But you know you can buy more shoes or a new computer. Hell, you can eventually get everything back again if your entire house goes up in flames. So, why get so attached to things that are replaceable? Even things like family heirlooms or sentimental objects that you can’t easily replace are still just things that you don’t need to live a complete life. To lose one of those would suck, but you can still remember the significance. In a sense, doing that would make them still remain with you despite not having the physicality of them. Once I realized that almost everything is replaceable and no material thing should be held in high regards, I felt incredibly liberated.
It’s Okay to be Lost
I’ve learned that it’s okay to be lost sometimes. This would have baffled the teenaged perfectionist I was, but being lost isn’t something to stress about. Being lost can lead to amazing things you never thought possible. You have to trust your ability to problem solve when it becomes dire but until then, enjoy being lost. Getting lost could leave you with the most amazing story or a life changing moment like when I got lost in Austria. So, go out and allow the unexpected to happen.
What are some of the things you learned while on the road?