1) Patience: Many times while traveling you will encounter set backs. For instance, if you take a local bus in Thailand, don’t expect for that bus to leave on schedule. Many times the local buses wait until all of the seats are full before they will leave. Sometimes it could take an hour or longer. If that were to happen in the United States, people would be furious! But this is normal for many third world countries.
You can choose to get uptight and irritated that you have to wait, or you can find a way to enjoy that time by reading a book or striking up a conversation with the person next to you. If you are on a backpacker’s budget and trying to go the cheap route, you will encounter many things that will test your patience. After a while, these things seem insignificant and you end up finding ways to pass the time.
2) To SLOW down: Oh what a rat race the United States can be. It’s easy to slip into the mentality of wanting more and wanting it now! Many employers encourage working overtime and they do not allow more than 1 to 2 weeks vacation a year. This is a shocker for many Europeans who get vacations of one month or longer per year. When I took 6 weeks off work recently to travel around South East Asia, everybody I know said, “Wow, that is a LONG time.” Once we were on the road and meeting other travelers, people were astonished at how SHORT of a time we were taking to travel.
In other words, in many other places in the world things go a lot slower. You will find that many cultures don’t even understand the word we call, “stress”. Instead, many times you will hear the phrase, “no worries” on a daily basis. While visiting these places, it’s easy to adopt this way of life while you are on the road. You realize that you are on their time, and it’s not a bad time to be on!
3) Live in the moment: Traveling does the same thing for me as surfing does when it comes to living in the moment. When you are surfing, you have to be fully aware of your surroundings in order to catch a wave, and sometimes in order not to get pummeled by the ocean. Travel can also do this for you. In many places, you have to be on guard while you are traveling. You want to make sure nobody steals from you, mugs you, takes advantage of you, etc etc. Also, you will find that things do not always go as planned when you are traveling. You learn to go with the flow and make the best of what is thrown at you.
Travel can also teach you to live in the moment by being in constant awe of your surroundings. When you are in a new place, you tend to pay attention to the smells, scenery and noises around you more than you would at home. If you do this long enough while traveling, it can become a habit so that when you get home you may find yourself viewing your surroundings in the eyes of a traveler.
4) Our day to day problems are not such a big deal: Sometimes we tend to live in a little box and think that our problems are monumental. But compared to what some people have to deal with on a day to day basis, many of our problems really are not that bad.
5) Don’t take things for granted: Do you ever wonder what it’s like to live in a small hut in the middle of nowhere? Well, this is many people’s reality in other countries. It can be an extreme shocker to see how some people live in other parts of the world. I know a lot of people who don’t realize they have it really good and they complain about everything because they know nothing except their “world”. They have not visited other places, nor do they care to.
These are just a few of the things I have learned from travel. Check out our collaborative post on what other travelers have learned, our tips on how to save for travel and a post from Go See Write about 13 Reasons Everyone Should Travel.