The thing about travel is, it is known to put you in excitingly unusual situations that ultimately educate and change you. No matter how glamorous it may look from the outside, traveling, actually, is one of the most challenging experiences in life because of which I have learned a great deal.
As an individual who ventured into this dreamy world of exploring as much as possible, I sometimes forget to stop and look back on how much I have changed as a human being because of traveling. Today, on the occasion of my twenty fifth birthday, as I reflect on the years gone by and try to understand where my romanticism with travel first began, I find myself being in awe of the experiences I have been fortunate enough to have.
From spending my childhood wondering about foreign lands, to later moving to another continent to study abroad and wandering extensively ever since; here are 25 things that I have learned from traveling the world so far:
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1. To value experiences more than objects
I won’t deny it. Growing up in a comfortable environment with wonderful parents who fulfilled as many of my wishes as possible, there were times in my life when I didn’t entirely understand this. But as I grew older, traveled, and got to see more of our world; I found myself meeting people who did not even have the bare minimum to survive, and yet lived life smiling away.
The beauty of traveling for me has always been in the experiences one gets to have. You may have the best-looking house on the block, or the most luxurious car in the town even; but when you are forced to stay inside like we all have this year, you truly begin to realise how all these things matter so little.
I mean, if there is anything that I have missed dearly in 2020, then it is the freedom to travel safely. If given a chance today, I would happily choose to go have new experiences over buying things- for at least the memory of them will leave me feeling content for years to come.
2. To leave my comfort zone behind and be open to new challenges
Traveling is one thing that has always defied me to unlearn what I have felt accustomed to and forced me into unfamiliar situations.
I still remember this one time when I had recently moved to London and wanted to go out to try the city’s many restaurants. The idea of having to go without company always made me dread it for hours. As someone who grew up surrounded by family and friends, dining out alone was an activity that somehow felt very alien to me at the time.
Fast forward to today, I not only like dining out alone and visiting cafes to work, but have also gone on international solo trips and ended up loving them. For the keenness of travel and content creation, I have even met up with some of my online blogger friends from around the world and travelled together with them.
Now I know that these things might sound small, or normal even, but as a once shy girl not fond of new challenges, I sometimes cannot believe how much traveling has taught and changed me already.
3. To be more patient and accepting
Being a late millennial, I more often than not, am used to having most of the things available at my fingertips, or delivered rather quickly. However, when I travel overseas or visit remote places nearby, things are bound to not always work how I would like them to.
From that one time when my luggage did not make it on my flight to Ibiza and I was left without any clothing for the foreseeable trip, to cancelled visas, trains, and whatnot; I, wholeheartedly, appreciate how travel forces you to find a way to deal with obstacles.
It might be anything as small as asking for directions when the GPS has lost signal, to coming across locals whose language I don’t yet speak; I am forever grateful that being more patient and accepting is something that I have learned from traveling the world.
4. To better take care of our beautiful planet
The more you see of the world, the more you start to love it, and thus, the more you want to help protect it.
It is true that when we are at home, we have our usual places that we go to and some that we avoid. But, when we travel, we are more likely to be unaware of any such preferences for that destination and often get to see it for what it really is. At least, this was the case for me when I traveled to cities like Agra in India.
Regardless of how much history that is there and the world wonder that is The Taj Mahal, I was taken aback while observing how the rest of the city was struggling with pollution of all kinds. So much so, that these unsettling epiphanies stayed with me even when I got back home and encouraged me to start making the necessary lifestyle changes to help our planet.
By writing all of this, I am in no way implying that I am perfect. I know there are many things that I could still learn to do better, but at least it’s a start – and for that I am indebted to travel.
5. That we are all the same
Irrespective of borders, religions, cultures, upbringings, and so on; if there is anything that traveling the world has taught me, then it is that we, as human beings, are all the same.
This is not to say that there aren’t any differences amongst us, I know there are. But somewhere under the surface of societies that we all live in, it is also true that we crave similar things like happiness, love, and acceptance.
After all, no matter if you are conversing in Italian or Indonesian, a smile still denotes the same kind-heartedness, and a hug gives just as much warmth as it would elsewhere.
6. Travel doesn’t have to be expensive
There has always been this notion around traveling that you have to be rich to afford it. But after being a full-time travel creator for years and having visited nearly 25 countries, I beg to differ.
Of course, there are kinds of travel that are more expensive than others. But if you really want to do it for the experience of seeing new places (and are willing to adjust a little), then travel can be affordable too. For instance, when I went to Copenhagen on a solo trip during Christmas a few years ago, I would often walk miles to reach all the touristic sights in order to save money on transport.
From booking everything in advance and always being on a lookout for deals, to avoiding as many additional costs as possible; there are many ways in which travel helps you grasp the ability of prioritising and budgeting.
7. To think creatively with a problem-solving mind set
Regardless of how dreamy traveling the world may look and sound like, the reality is not always that. Being in unfamiliar places amongst new people, languages, and traditions; there are often times when things go wrong and misunderstandings happen.
Yes, I am aware that this may sound like a cliché, but these situations truly prepare you in a way that no school or university ever does. With no prior guidance on the next hurdle that might come your way, travel forces you to think on your feet and gives birth to a creative, problem-solving mindset.
8. The ability to talk to new people
It is the oldest thing in the world. When you have been stationary for a long period, you start to miss being on the road and the excitement of new experiences. But when you are out exploring again, something suddenly happens and you are reminded of a familiar, comfortable place called home.
The good thing about traveling is that there are often others near you that feel the same way too. We, as human beings, love sharing our happiness and enthusiasm with others, and travel allows us to do just that. There is nothing like connecting with new people over a shared passion or love for something in common.
So, don’t be afraid to start a conversation with strangers that you meet along the journey. After all, you never know when these unforeseen exchanges may turn into lifelong friendships.
9. To better appreciate history
Where do I even begin with this one? It sounds quite strange to say it now, but history in school was one subject that I was never interested in. However, leave me in a museum today and I will have a marvellous time learning history and actually enjoy it.
I remember when I first visited Berlin a few years ago, I spent hours reading in the museums there and wouldn’t tire of it at all. So yes, I undeniably love how traveling allows you to imbed yourself in a particular setting, culture and its customs; and teaches you in a more hands-on manner.
10. To learn to see the good in people
All of us have grown up hearing and reading things about other people, their culture, politics, and so on. And as much as we may try to disregard it, some of these conceptions might end up staying with us for a long time.
Traveling the world has not only taught me to let go of these notions, but also to see the good in people regardless of their race, color of skin, sexuality, and religion. Thanks to traveling, I have learned to give everyone a clean state to start with and only form opinions on the basis of our interactions.
11. To appreciate other cultures
Visiting a country that isn’t my own and learning about its culture has been one of my favorite travel experiences of all time. The sensation of immersing yourself in traditions you have never really known before and learning all about them in person is unlike what any books or stories can ever teach you.
From dining in a local eatery and tasting new flavors, to visiting landmarks that hold sentimental values to the people around it; experiencing a new culture and lifestyle is one thing that is compelled to change you. I personally have always returned home with increased appreciation and a newer outlook on life, and for this I am utterly grateful to travel.
12. To be comfortable in my own company
This is something that I have significantly learned from solo traveling. It actually started as a desperate attempt to travel when no one close to me was available to do so, but very soon, became a lesson and activity that gave me a lot more in return.
This is not to say that my first ever experience with solo traveling was smooth sailing. However, every moment I spent overthinking nervously and beating myself up before heading out, I also returned back home being more comfortable and open to leaving my hotel room alone again.
And before I even knew it, I started to enjoy the experience of having places to myself. I also loved wandering in directions freely without having to convince another soul to go there with me. This new sense of independence that came with making all the decisions by myself truly amended me to become a better version of myself.
Like all of this was not enough, I also felt that the extra alone time that I had on my solo trips allowed me to reflect on the experiences better. And this only resulted in me appreciating them that much more.
13. To enjoy the art of gastronomy
I have been a foodie for as long as I can remember. And though I have always loved Jaipur in general, it is also true that there were very limited international dining options present here when I was growing up.
So when I traveled outside India for the first time and lived in Europe for five years after that, I was astonished to come across a world of culinary experiences that I didn’t even know existed before. Each time I visited a new place and tried a different cuisine, I experienced a sensory overload that always left me wanting for more.
This gave rise to my love for different foods, experimental cuisines, and new experiences- all of which I have travel to thank profoundly for. Today, every time I venture out to a new destination, I love getting to know it through its food and even feel intrigued to attend a class or two.
After all, coming back home and recreating dishes from journeys past is just as amusing, isn’t it?
14. To not take things for granted
We are so used to our everyday lives that we become complacent with our surroundings. From our morning cuppa of choice to that occasional night cap, things often flow in a certain way (when at home) that is more or less the same each day. These routines slowly become a way of life and we somehow start to forget how to be grateful for them.
The good thing about travel is that it often takes you away from your comfort zone and puts you in a completely unusual scenario. And although exhilarating at first glance, these experiences help you realise the significance of all that you actually had near you.
Going on a trip anywhere outside Jaipur always gets me thinking about how beautiful my own city is. Every time that I get back, I find myself being more appreciative of the architectural grandeur that I am blessed to be surrounded with at home. So yes, not taking things for granted has definitely been one of my favorite things that I have learned from traveling so far.
15. To accept kindness and humility
Is it just me or have you also met incredibly kind people on your travels? From random English gentlemen who would habitually stop to help you carry your bags through a flight of stairs, to jovial Italians who would feed you until your stomach gives up; the world has proven itself to be a home full of benevolent souls, time and time again.
However, this is not something that I have always believed to be true. In fact, before I traveled and met these humane humans all over the globe, I wouldn’t expect people to help a stranger they have never met before, especially without wanting anything in return. But traveling showed me the truth and made me believe in the kindness and humility of others.
During my recent trip to Myanmar earlier this year, I still remember what happened when I visited the Kuthodaw Pagoda in Mandalay. I was there with a friend, but got sidetracked taking photos of the place, and somehow arrived in another section of the pagoda all alone. There, I got stopped by a local Burmese girl who had her face beautifully painted with Thanaka and asked if I wanted some too.
My first instinct uttered that maybe she worked as an artist who applies Thanaka and wanted to sell her services to me. But, only after talking to her for a bit, I realised that she was in fact just a young girl who stayed nearby and wanted to apply her homemade paste on my face as a thank you for visiting her country.
Of course, I agreed immediately and today, whilst looking back, I personally feel that that selfless gesture of kindness shown by her is what made this memory from Myanmar so special for me. I mean, I may someday forget the details of the pagoda that stunned me so much, but the emotions that I felt that day because of her are likely to stay with me for longer.
16. That places can heal us
There is no denial about the fact that life is often full of ups and downs. Regardless of whether you travel or do not, there are bound to be moments, days, or weeks at once where nothing might seem to be going as you had hoped.
Times such as these are always unpleasant and challenging to deal with, but even more when we are amidst it all. This is probably why I believe that most of us are usually better at helping our close ones with their problems than we are with our own. But traveling changes that.
It allows us to escape a little: an experience that I believe to be good for the soul. Sometimes, needed even. You see, not only does travel take us away from our present situation physically, it also creates this emotional distance between us and our everyday life. All of this can result in us coming out of this break with a fresher perspective and maybe a new recipe for dealing with our hurdles.
17. That it is okay to let go of the plan sometimes
I have always been a planner. Someone who would make to-do lists for everything and even research lengthily before any trip. I am the girl who would often know places to eat, to see, and things to do in a new destination before even getting there. And even though all of that has been of help multiple times, there have also been scenarios when things don’t go according to the plan.
For instance, I remember this one time when I was visiting Paris with my family. We were at the top of the Eiffel tower and were supposed to catch a boat ride on the Seine soon after. But something magical happened and for a limited time only, they were allowing visitors to go on the highest level of Eiffel tower which is otherwise not open to the public.
The old me would not want to deter from our original plan, but I have learned from traveling that sometimes it is okay to let go and be in the moment instead. This has been majorly useful for my career as a travel creator too, as I have learned to keep a few hours in the day aside for exploring without a plan and have stumbled upon multiple hidden gems because of it.
18. The art of compartmentalising and budgeting
I know that this goes without saying, but money truly is one of the most important things when it comes to traveling. Not only do we need it to go on a trip, but it is something that is quite essential for our everyday expenses while being outdoors. After all, when we travel, we are in a new place where we may not know anyone else and might solely be dependent on ourselves for every cost.
Moreover, traveling has not only taught me how to budget while being on a trip, but it has also persuaded me to save up throughout the year and learn to prioritise. Today, instead of splurging on shopping sprees and weekend night outs, I prefer to cook at home and upcycle my wardrobe to save up for a month-long adventure somewhere.
Out of all the things that I have learned from traveling the world, planning my purchases methodically and making sure that my money lasts for longer is truly a fortunate lesson.
19. To value time with loved ones even more
When you are on the go so much, you end up missing time with your loved ones back home. Special occasions like birthdays, weddings, and family gatherings that take place without you hurt even more. So every time that you get back home, regardless of however long it may be for, you truly want to savor each minute of your time with them and enjoy as much as possible.
This might probably be one of my favorite lessons that I have learned from traveling. Because of this, I want to go out of my way to make every day with my loved ones more special and capture countless memories that I can look back on whilst being on the road.
20. To better express myself
From what I remember, I had always been a shy person who would barely give a voice to her thoughts and express her feelings. Still, when I went on my very first trip as a teenager with my family, something unpredictable happened and I started journaling. I could not have foreseen it then, but this urge to write my travel experiences somehow laid the foundation for this wonderful job that I am blessed to have today.
As I look back on the experiences I have had and re-read the said journal entries, I can’t believe how travel has allowed me to evolve as an individual and express my day-to-day emotions in such a beautiful and memorable way.
I mean, if not for traveling and everything that came with it, I personally don’t think that I would be creating content for a living. I love how it has made me feel encouraged and comfortable enough to express what I really feel.
21. To never take nature for granted
When you travel and come across other places that do not have as much foliage, fresh produce, or clean air compared to where you live and vice versa, you start to realise how the world is quickly changing and how nothing is permanent.
Traveling educates you on how to respect nature, nurture it, and never take it for granted. In fact, it was during one of my travels that I came across a café using reusable straws before they became the norm, and learned from the people there how and why I should be implementing them in my day-to-day life as well.
Since that trip, other changes like bamboo toothbrushes and tissue paper, reusable water bottles and makeup remover pads, sustainable female hygiene products and so on entered my life. I have also learned the importance of slow traveling and am since then, trying to make as many changes as thinkable.
22. To be more curious
If there is one thing that I have constantly loved about traveling, then it is the curiosity that comes with it.
Each trip that I have taken has made me more excited and hungry for discoveries. I love setting my foot into a new place and finding as much as I can about it. From the local customs to the food, languages to history, and traditions to religion; there is such a wide variety of things waiting to be learned when we are traveling.
Every time I visit a new destination or check in into a new hotel, you’ll always catch me wandering around intriguingly and familiarizing myself with the surroundings. This feeling of entering an unversed land, uncovering it, and making it feel versed is something that I find extremely joyous. I honestly can never get enough of it!
So yes, all these experiences that I have had because of traveling have somehow shaped how I learn things at home too. I find myself feeling more curious than ever before, and for that I entirely thank traveling.
23. Other languages
Having spent most of my life knowing only the languages that were commonly spoken by people around me in India, I felt vastly fascinated when I first moved to Europe and travelled around a little bit.
From reading books and guides before visiting a new country, to picking words up along the way; I admire how traveling paves a way for us to learn other languages and get acquainted with traditions beyond our own.
24. That kindness is universal
Sometimes due to media and preconceived notions, people may grow up putting others in a box depending on their ethnicity, culture and/or demographic. But when you travel with an open mind and truthfully interact with a diverse group of humans, you realise how everyone is equivalently kind.
In fact, kindness itself is an emotion that most of us can relate to and find a common ground on. From smiling at a stranger in line, to making an effort to learn someone else’s language a little bit and greeting them in it, to stopping on your way to work and helping out a confused tourist standing on a crossroad; the majority of us have grown up knowing some acts of kindness.
25. That there is always more to learn
Traveling is a process of discovering. You are always learning something as you go from Point A to B and back. Regardless of how many times I visit the same city or re-read the same story even, traveling has shown me that there is always another lesson waiting to be learned.
You may revisit the same museum and notice artworks that might have been overshadowed before. Or, go back to your favorite restaurant and have an entirely different experience depending on whom you interact with this time.
Traveling has not only taught me all the aforementioned points, but it has also shown that there is always room for more. More learnings and more growth!
I hope you liked reading about these 25 things that I have learned from traveling the world. I, for one, definitely loved sharing them with you. Have you learned some other things from traveling as well? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below and talk more about the joys of travel!
Want to keep reading? You might like “Flying In A Hot Air Balloon in Bagan, Myanmar” and “Staying at Kumarakom Lake Resort in Kerala“ too.
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This Post Has 40 Comments
Oh Charu I can soooo relate to so many things you mentioned! Thanks to travelling, I became way more open-minded, self-confident and aware of our planet’s beauty. I also appreciate the fact we are so lucky that we’re able to travel so much whereas the majority of people can’t do that. Such a great post!
Thank you, Lina! I am 100% with you on that, we really are very, very lucky. You have learned some wonderful things about travel yourself, and I always enjoy following your journey. Being aware of our planet’s beauty and learning to take care of it is my absolute favorite lesson!
Absolutely agree with all the points! This made me miss traveling so much, can´t wait for the day we can go exploring and be curious again, lovely post x
Writing this made me miss traveling as well! I too hope that we are able to get out there really soon. Thank you for your lovely comment, Katja 💗
I absolutely loved reading you post. All of them are very true, and it made me reflect on my travels and my life overseas. I am humbled to have met so many different people who have taught me so much in many ways.
Living overseas is such an incredible experience, I am glad to know that you are currently doing that. My life in Europe definitely taught me a lot as well, and I will forever be grateful for it. Thank you for your kind comment, Patri. I hope that our path cross somewhere in this beautiful world one day!
What a gorgeous post! I can really identify with all of these. 2020 brought all of these more to light too and made me appreciate everything a lot more. Perfect!
That is so true, Sarah! 2020 definitely gave us all a chance to reflect on the years gone by. Thank you for my reading my article, I hope you are staying safe.
Beautiful post! And all so true! I’ve definitely come to appreciate history more and have become more accepting of people.
If I were to add one it would be “to see beauty everywhere”, as I’ve definitely come to appreciate the beauty of my local area since travelling. Also, for me, I haven’t learnt to talk to people more easily, but that’s because me and the other half have an agreement that he deals with the people and I deal with the animals!
I love that one! Thank you so much for sharing, Nat. I always find it interesting how getting away for a while makes us realise and appreciate what we already had near us. Also, dealing with animals sounds just about right. I think if I were traveling with a partner or a friend, then I too, would be less likely to have learned to talk to people more easily. Solo traveling and living overseas alone are two experiences that majorly helped change that for me.
Beautiful post and pictures darling! Such important life lessons and how lucky we are to learn them all via seeing the world !
We are lucky indeed! Thank you so much, Tia. I hope you are doing well 💛
Love this post! I completely agree with you 🙂 travel is amazing!
It most definitely is! Thank you very much, Rachel 😊
Some real life lessons here. I agree that travel makes the world seem smaller and people less different as well as less remote culturally. I understand and pay more attention to the News when I’ve visited the country in question. Travelling solo can also give you the confidence to take on more in life.
You are so right. I am always intrigued to pay more attention to the news of places I have been to. On more occasions than one, I have left pieces of my heart in countries that I have visited, which in turn has made them feel less foreign in a way.
Amen, sister. 2020 really has put a lot of this in perspective for us wanderers and it’s always great to take the time to reflect. Also couldn’t agree with you more that travel doesn’t have to be expensive– you just have to be creative!
Definitely! I think once you find something that you love as much as we do travel, and are passionate about it, then you can come up with creative ways in which you could make it happen for yourself. 2020 has indeed put these lessons (and more) into perspective.
This is so great! I love that you’ve expressed so much about what travel means to so many of us!
Thank you so much, Alexandra! Travel is such a meaningful and liberating experience, I am glad that my words resonated with you.
This is a beautiful read! I can’t agree with you more. Traveling is the answer to banality of the mundane.
Thank you, Chirasree. I am happy to read that you agree with my words!
This is amazing Charu and I could relate to so much of this from my own travel experiences. Travel really changed my life over the past five years. I’ve become more confident, independent and open minded. I can’t wait to see more of this beautiful world in the future. 🙂
Thank you, Taylor. I really love how traveling has shaped our life for the better. It has been so nice to follow you on socials and witness all of this happening. I am super excited to find out what the future holds for us when we are allowed to travel again!
These are all so incredible and I agree! Traveling really opens your eyes to so much and makes you so appreciative of every little thing.
It definitely does! I am so glad that you too feel that way about traveling, Alanna. Thank you for reading my blogpost and sharing your feedback, it honestly means so much 😊
This post is so relatable and so so true! I love that places truly can heal a person. Travel certainly heals me. 🙂 Thank you for sharing this!
Thank you for your comment, Lisa. I am happy that travel heals you too. It definitely has been one of my favorite stress busters in life.
I love and agree with ever single one of these reasons. Especially to be more patient, take more time to enjoy and to talk with people. I love connecting with locals whenever I travel. A smile and a hello goes a long way even if you don’t speak the same language
That is so true, Emma! Locals are what make the experience worth remembering for me. I love having conversations with people about their culture, tradition, and food. No books or blogs can tell us what they can!
Charu, this is a great post! I love how you have reflected on your trips and come up with all of these learnings 🙂 I have learnt many of these too, and I especially like to remind myself of no taking things for granted.
That is such an important one, Cristina! Also, 2020 definitely pushed me to think more about not taking things for granted. Thank you so much for reading this post, I am so glad that you loved these learnings.
These are some beautiful lessons learned for travel. I completely agree that is teaches us to leave our comfort zones and say yes to new adventures! That’s definitely one of my favourite lessons from travelling. It’s funny but I hadn’t really considered how travel teaches us practical skills around budgeting and being resourceful. When I first started travelling, I didn’t have a credit card so the only money I had to last the trip was the cash I took with me. I didn’t think about it at the time but this absolutely taught me the importance of budgeting in ways we don’t consider when we’re at home. Thanks for this inspiring list, I hope we can all travel again soon and continue learning!
Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Hannah! I fully agree with you on not knowing/considering how much travel would teach me about things like budgeting. But every long trip that I have taken has shown me how I can make my money last for longer, and yet live a fulfiled life. Isn’t it wonderful how we are able to learn such important lessons and values while doing what we love the most?
There’s more to learn, a perfect ending or what I can say a perfect starting for looking positively way ahead.
So true, Vansh! There is always more to learn in life 🙂
Fantastic learnings Charu and very well summarised in this post. I think getting out of one’s comfort zone is the biggest obstacle in traveling and that is the biggest challenge to overcome!!
So so true! I think these challenges and learnings are what makes traveling so fulfiling, it is never just about physically going to another place and returning.
Hi Charu, definitely one of the best things that I have learned is the ability to talk to new people/strangers. Earlier, I genuinely feel awkward starting a conversation with strangers but soon as I started traveling solo, the awkwardness and shyness went away quite a lot. Another important thing, solo traveling makes you self dependant and more mature. The pictures here are eye-soothing.
Hi Vansh, thank you for sharing that with me. I completely agree that traveling allows us to be more confident in approaching strangers and make friends on the road. I have met some of the closest people in my life because of traveling, and will always be grateful to it for that (and much more).