The longer that I traveled the more I realized.

The longer I traveled the more I realized what was important.

First Day: Hair down and curled. Incredibly excited to see everything I can. Priorities are crepes.

Last Day: Hair in a frizzy bun, tired eyes, still excited to see everything I can, but much slower. Food is still a priority.

 

Last year after a two week trip with a couple of my best girlfriends we were laughing about how different the first versus the last day of travel is and looks.

Here are some lessons I’ve learned from traveling.

I realized to embrace the culture. While studying abroad I did not embrace the culture as  I should have; I wish I had talked to my host family more, tried more foods, and gone out at night. The majority of my time there was spent going through the motions. I didn’t explore the city on my own or ever get lost. When I returned home I felt an incredible desire to go to be somewhere new. There was also a small feeling of regret for not making the most out of my experience.

I realized how important it is to go slow. For most cities, I go because I love the culture or history there; not because of the millions of museums. My professor that I studied abroad with told me that travel for him was like boot camp. See as much as you can in the days you’re there, this used to be my philosophy and it is still something I struggle with. I do want to see as much as I can and I don’t want to feel like I wasted time, but I also want to talk to locals and have experiences more than I want to see sights.

The More I Traveled, the More I Realized

The longer I traveled the more I realized that my appearance doesn’t matter. I want to look good in pictures, but if my hair looks crazy and my eyes are tired that shouldn’t put me in a bad mood. When we went to Sagrada Familia I said that I didn’t want to take pictures because of how crazy my hair was; my friend basically told me I was stupid and I truly appreciated it….later. Also, when it comes to packing less is more. I don’t care if I wear the same outfit multiple times. Where I am is what matters. 
The More I Traveled, the More I Realized

Through travel I have realized how important it is to get out of my comfort zone. I am incredibly shy. Talking to new people gives me anxiety, but during my first solo trip I made so many friends by starting a conversation or by joining the conversations of others (without being invited). It led to me making so many great memories with people I may never see again. I’m so grateful that I was able to see a glimpse of their lives and that I was able to share a bit of my story with them.

San Jose, Costa Rica

The longer I traveled the more I realized that the world is so big and that I am so small. This is my favorite lesson of all. I used to be ethnocentric. I thought nothing could beat Texas, but after being in different states and countries I’ve realized that there are so many different ways to live life and a lot of them, in my opinion, are better than the lifestyle in Texas.

The More I Traveled, the More I Realized

What important lessons has travel taught you?

 

50 thoughts on “The Longer I Traveled, the More I Realized

  1. Great post, my bf says going on holiday with me is hard work 🙂 I’m never in photos because I don’t like how I look but like you say, it’s where I am that matters.

  2. Oh my gosh, after my one week trip in London, where I stayed in this RANK hostel, I barely even looked like a human being anymore… But being in that wonderful city and experiencing so many new things meant that I didn’t even care! It’s good advice for those of us who maybe focus too much on how we present ourselves vs. how we actually experience life… lol. I’ve learned from travel to be patient, humble, and kind, and to see from multiple perspectives as well – all valuable life lessons that have helped shape me into the person I am today!

    1. I have gained a lot of patience as well! Travel definitely can change anyone if we embrace it (:

  3. Great blog! I totally agree with everything! When I first started traveling internationally would get all dressed up and put full face makeup and still ended up looking disheveled by the end of the day. Now I don’t waste that time. A simple pony and I’m out the door to see my surroundings!

    1. I still do eye makeup 😬 other than that it’s typically a low messy bun 👌🏼

  4. We love learning during our travels. We find it incredibly important to just give everything a chance. We feel that the more we travel, the more we understand. And getting out of the comfort zone can be incredibly challenging but also so, important and so good for us.

    1. Travel has made me open up to new opportunities as well! Thanks for sharing (:

  5. This is so thoughtful and lovely! I love that you talked about ethnocentrism – it’s something that’s so important for us Americans to acknowledge! And definitely something I think about more and more every day. Where did you study abroad?

    1. Sevilla, Spain! I’m going back for a week and a half in a couple of months.

  6. I really enjoyed reading your reflections of how your traveling as changed over time. I think it is so important to look back and do this, so we can continue to grow as travelers. Travel has taught me more then any other single thing – most of all that we are one shared humanity.

    1. I love that, one shared humanity. I wish more people saw the world like this.

  7. This is so true! You mention some very valid points there. I have never actually consciously noticed the difference in appearance between day one and the last day of a trip, but now that you’ve pointed it out I see it. And while that might be obvious on the pictures you take, it definitely doesn’t make a difference to the experience you’re having.

  8. I am on board with all of this! It’s funny when I look back at the start of this trip 7+ months ago to where I am now. It’s a WORLD of difference. I have learned so much about myself & from others that I always prefer to travel more slowly whenever possible. Thanks for sharing your story!

  9. In my best and worst case – food is always involved also LOL. I also couldn’t agree more about traveling slowly! Nowadays it seems everyone is in some race to get the most countries crossed off as possible and its so inauthentic and such a horrible way to travel! Isn’t it great how traveling not only teaches us about the place we visit to but also teaches us about ourselves?

    1. Yes! And if we’re going too fast we might not learn as much.

  10. This is a beautiful post! I totally agree with it all. I love the part about travel and your comfort zone. I relate to that so much! It’s crazy how being in new surroundings, you’re kind of forced out of your comfort zone but you really don’t mind.

  11. I couldn’t agree more girl!! I feel the same way! The more I travel the more I learn that life is short and to make the most of every moment, and not worry about nonsense like my frizzy hair or my flip-flops!

  12. Thank you for this, it’s great! I can so relate to the part that it doesnt matter if you wear the same clothes all over and also the issue with being shy around strangers

  13. The more you learn, the more you learn there’s so much you don’t know. Such a great post! I’m still learning how to go slow on my travels 🙂

    1. Me too! It’s a difficult learning curve to change travel styles.

  14. I’ve learned a lot of those same lessons! It’s nice to not care as much about appearance. I also like talking to locals aa much as possible.

  15. Love this post! It’s amazing how travel changes your perspective. One thing I’ve learned is that the longer you travel the question “what do you do?” matters a lot less than “where have you been?” or “where are you going?” Thanks for sharing!

  16. You have no idea how much I felt every word you said. It’s like you were in my shoes as I walked down the same path. I always thought it was just me… I was the slob who didn’t care at the end if my clothes were ironed or my hair was styled.. (PS. It never is!)

    Travel became important and along with it I realized that experiences mattered a lot.

  17. Great post and I can totally relate to these lessons! We make travel vlogs and I used to shy away from the camera if I didn’t look my best but now I find myself excited to film and capture the moment 🙂

  18. Those are such important lessons and what keep us going, exactly why I love traveling! I love the fact there’s always new things to learn whenever I’m on the road travelling.

  19. This is so true! It’s always important to get your priorities straight and focus on exploring when you’re in a new place! Lovely post

  20. I loved your thoughtful post. I think that the most important of traveling is not to how many places we’ve been, but what we have learnt from them. I’ve also learnt to embrace the culture, go out of the comfort zone, go slow, what it really matters. I’ve learnt that we – people from different cultures – are not so different from each other. I’ve learnt that the world is very big and we’re small but the world is a mostly friendly place and I want to keep exploring.

  21. I really love your honesty, especially when you admit to having been ethnocentric. That’s not easy to do, but once you have that realization, it totally changes your perspective on the world. Also, I can relate to you about not caring so much about how I look in my photos and wearing the same 2 outfits the entire trip!

  22. I always take make-up with me when I travel (as well as hair straighteners; my boyfriend constantly makes fun of me for that!) but I hardly ever wear it. A healthy tan looks way better than make-up 😉

    I agree, travel is a true education in making you realise just how small you are, and how different the world is outside of your comfort zone 🙂

  23. Love this, so many good lessons to have picked up along your travels. I love those feelings when you get so into enjoying the time that you forget about crazy hair or tired eyes (both of which I get a lot!) You still look great in your pics too!

  24. Appearance doesn’t matter. Where I am is what matters. Absolutely spot on, I couldn’t agree more 🙂

  25. Totally agree with this! Especially the going slow part. I started off as such a fast traveller wanting to see it all. I’d soend 3 days max in one place and skip the the next country. Now I spend at least one week, sometimes a month in most places so I can really appreciate them.

    1. Yes! 1 week is what I like to spend in a new place as well 🙌🏼

  26. I enjoyed reading this! It’s so true that our priorities change from the first to the last day of travelling. I don’t really where any makeup when I’m away whereas I always do at home. I love how you said ‘ I don’t care if I wear the same outfit multiple times. Where I am is what matters.’ I completely agree!

  27. Traveling changes you in many ways. One thing I know for sure – you’ll never be the same as before. Try to embrace every experience and just enjoy the moment, and forget the hair. If I were to worry about how my hair looks like, I’d not leave the house 350 days a year… 🙂

  28. I resonated with a lot of your points, particularly with the study abroad part. I studied for a semester in South Africa (first time out of the country) and our program director instilled so much fear in us that it prevented me from being really adventurous. However, I am happy that I was fortunate enough to go back for a summer to work in Cape Town. That was basically my study abroad experience part II, where I got to explore freely and meet a lot of people.

  29. The realization that the world is sooo big and we are just tiny specks is a big one for me. Every country, city, town, village I visit makes me reflect on that even more. Quite humbling.

  30. This is a beautiful post and very relatable. You’ve just reminded me of the things I need to keep in mind when on my first solo trip: make conversation, go slow, don’t take myself too seriously. 🙂 I’ve also come back from amazing trips abroad only to realize I whipped through them so fast, I didn’t get to truly soak it in and try everything I wanted to (which has always left me with some small form of regret). Trips are generally so short you want to pack it all in, but I think there’s a lot of truth in just stopping to see what’s around you and what you can truly appreciate. Thank you for sharing your realizations with us!

  31. Love this post ! I really enjoyed reading your reflections of how your traveling as changed over time. And getting out of the comfort zone can be incredibly challenging but also so, important and so good for us. We like travelling the world, seeing things with our own eyes, experiences on our own skin… We get a feel for the local culture by listening to their music, eating local, reading their history… when feasible we like having a travel local guide, one of those telling real and passionate stories and anecdotes of that place.
    “I don’t make a trip; the trip makes you” !

  32. You’re absolutely right! I really sympathize with the worrying too much about how I’m going to look in photos. That’s not the important part of the trip! But I have to admit, I don’t really like slow travel! I have a lot of energy and I like getting as much as I can done in one day. So on a trip I try to have two days of “fast travel” for one day of slow travel.

    1. That’s similar to me! I leave one day open for each city I’m in 🙌🏼🙌🏼 the other days are pretty packed though 😏 I also have worked on not getting upset about my plans changing.

  33. I really love this post! Traveling can teach you so many stuff, that’s one reason why I love it so much. I like it when you mention travel slow. I learned this a bit over the years and I don’t force myself anymore to see everything in just a short time. If it’s really worth it, I’ll come back. And otherwise I will see other beautiful things instead. I rather enjoy the moment and give a lot of attention to a few things than to rush.

  34. Great tips, Kyntra! It’s so important to just enjoy the time spent traveling rather than getting wrapped up in the details that don’t matter. Also love your blog name!

    1. Thank you so much! I struggled to figure out what I wanted it to be for a while.

  35. I love how honest you were writing this! I think for me, I don’t care what I look like at home so when I travel, I care even less lol. Plus there is always a filter such in case! Haha. I live in Texas now too! And although I’ve enjoyed my time i do agree that there are different ways to live and some are better! Glad you’re getting out there and exploring!

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