1. Have a little Faith
Being in a unfamiliar land with only your backpack, maybe a map and a handful of broken words in the local language catapults you to put a certain amount of faith in yourself.The beauty of this is that you’ll endure more than you would have thought possible, whilst experiencing some of the greatest adventures of your entire life. Any doubts you have about what you can achieve will disappear, because you’ll be collecting phenomenal experiences no matter what happens. If you’re having issues getting along with yourself, travelling will force you to face them, and it will make you blossom. So just trust yourself and let the spirit of adventure guide you.
2. Great things come out of Patience
There will come a time when you will have been stuck on a bus for 8 hours longer than planned, there isn’t a fan and nobody knows where you are or how far away you are from where you want to be. Something will start to change within you and for some reason you suddenly realise you are not frustrated, you are happy to get to your destination whenever you get there. For example in some, tropical Asian destinations like Thailand, everything runs on ‘Thai Time’ not clockwork, so if you had been expecting to arrive at the arrival time stated on your ticket, then you my friend are mistaken. There is a heart-warming, laid back approach to time in Thailand, so that’s probably why your trip went so quickly because you were enjoying every moment for what it is. You weren’t waiting for the weekend or for the next big event to happen, you were just living. Before you know it, you’ll be forgetting to check your watch and you’ll be happy you made it to your destination of choice in one piece. Let’s just hope it’s something you can keep up when you head back to the Motherland. Patience is a virtue.
3. Everything has Beauty
There will be a beautiful moment when you start to understand the beauty of being lost, the beauty of untouched nature, and the beauty of your own being. The layers of modern societal conditioning of how you should present yourself, whether you may be judged or not depending on how much makeup you wear or what clothes you have, are no longer relevant to you. Locals and other travellers will accept you just as you are because you are being unapologetically yourself. You will start to love your imperfections and realise how wonderful you are. The smallest glimpse of beauty will spark a feeling of awe from within, even from seeing a wild bird or cheeky grin from a young child. The world is beautiful, but sometimes you will have to leave the comfort of your own home to see it.
4. Fear is not your friend
What’s stopped you in the past from acting upon that chance, taking that one big step?
It is a fear of the unknown. The possibility that things may not work out how you had planned or even not at all. That crippling fear is all in your head, your ego is desperately trying to find some way to gain control, so all it does is create fictitious fears and projects them into the future. You may find some people close to you telling you not to take the trip because “something bad might happen.” But what if it doesn’t? What if all your wildest dreams came true? What if the most incredible things that you never would have been able to jumble together in one mere thought, where to happen? It is not easy letting go of fear but when that ‘sinking feeling strikes’, take a deep breath and keep going. Tap into that other voice inside your head; your intuition, otherwise known as your gut feeling. Open your heart to change, to new cultures, and to taking new leaps; you’ll have a spectacular time doing so. Our comfort zones can be great, but nothing new ever grows there.
5. You will appreciate where you are from
A great traveller never forgets where they are from and always appreciates where they started. Even if it’s a little town with just a pub and a charity shop, your desire to get out of that town is what has propelled you to explore all the corners of this planet in the first place. You had realised the tiny pocket of the world where you’d inhabited needed expanding and you decided it was time to spread those wings. The area you grew up in helped shaped you, helped you decide to take this nomadic path. Returning home can also invoke waves of appreciation that you never would have thought about before. It’ll seem so fresh and new, yet so similar at the same time. Maybe you’ll realise how lucky you were to live there in the first place. It’s not the city/town/village that’s changed, it’s you.
6. Anything is possible
After learning to love yourself, embracing being patient, and shedding your sense of fear; you’ll soon understand that your life is in your hands. It is your choice to be happy, not anyone else’s. You’ll realise that nobody can take away that happiness, unless you give them that power. There has been an influx of realisation that the possibilities in your life are endless. The adventures you’ve been on across foreign lands have helped shape the understanding that there is so much out there, so much opportunity. Your deepest and darkest fears, that once seemed so broad faded away once you had awoken your capability to steer life in the direction you wanted. Maybe the tales of your escapades will inspire others to set out on their own adventures. Make your dreams your reality, you’ve already started.
7. You’ll learn how to budget
This point may not seem as so exciting as the other points made in this article but it’s a clear cut lesson for all travellers to learn. There is nothing more infuriating than tirelessly saving up for a trip, only to blow all your savings after one wild night out. Working out a budget can help you stay a float during the longer trips abroad. Sometimes arriving at a new place with hundreds of expensive tourist attractions, may conjure up feeling of jealousy toward all the tourists that happily parting ways with wads of cash, but a budget will help you pick what to do when, and wisely. You’ll also understand when you’ve struck a real bargain. Besides there’s always ways to do things that suit a shoe-string budget if not there will be plenty of fun things to do for free. You don’t need to experience every tourist trap to feel as if you’ve really ‘travelled’. There will also come a time when you cannot fit in any more newly purchased clothes or souvenirs into your backpack, save your cash and bag space.
8. Passport Privilege
Ok, this one is important.You’ve been on the road for a couple of months and you’ve had great fun interacting with locals and telling them all your stories from other countries, and the response you’ve received has been one of shock or potentially even envy. There can be many reasons for someone not to be able to leave their home due to money, poverty, or economic reasons but you’ll develop an understanding that a lot of people you meet will not be able to travel, sometimes ever. We’ve all been unwittingly born in the passport lottery of privilege or non privilege. Some countries, like the Philippines for example, ask residents to prove that they will be returning to the country before they are allowed to leave, and for some that can be nearly impossible to prove. For most travellers, especially those from Western countries, will never have had such a struggle to leave their homeland. Another point is that depending on what passport you have will determine whether a country will permit you to enter,even if you’ve paid the visa fees. Sometimes a country is completely off limits to certain nationalities. Also quite a few backpackers will never have been relentless questioned at borders as to why you are entering the country and when you are definitely leaving. Don’t feel that this should deter you from travelling, but just be grateful and understanding of other people’s plights when it comes to travel. It’s a slightly sadder realisation that comes out of travelling but it’s good to be open minded and to have enough awareness that not everybody will be able to go to the places you’ve been to. Be respectful of the limitations others may have with travel and with anything else in their lives, travel is not a bragging right. Let it be a humbling lesson to you so that you can reflect on your life with the same awareness in regards to your own limitations. We all have them.
Is there anything else you would add to this list? Feel free to add your comments below!
Peace + plane tickets ✈