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 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.
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.
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.
What important lessons has travel taught you?