If you’ve often heard many say that traveling widens your view of the world, they are absolutely correct. But what comes with this life-changing concept are a number of challenges and lessons that you don’t realize you needed until after you’re home. Read on to find out the three (of many) powerful life lessons I’ve learned on my travels!
Letting go of the need to be in control
Airports are messy. Flying is messy. Most importantly, losing time and money is messy. I can easily say and most would agree that these two concepts of life are ones we *hate* experiencing in any scenario.
I very quickly found out after experiencing plane malfunctions, missed connections, delayed flights, canceled itineraries, and lost baggages (for only a day thank goodness) how important it was to keep an open mind while traveling.
In July I was country-hopping for 12 days and before I left, everything that was causing me anxiety was revolving around my travel route. Thoughts such as “what if I miss my flight” and countless other scenarios kept popping up in my head. How many of these things could I truly control while flying though?
While coming back home from that trip, it turned out that the airline I was taking canceled my return flight because I missed a connection on the way there, though it wasn’t my fault. Fuming with anger, frustration, and what became a 2 hour chaotic check-in process, they thankfully got me back on this overbooked flight. However, as a result of their mistake, I lost my paid aisle seat and ended up being stuck in the middle for 10 hours.
Was I upset? Absolutely. But I looked at the bright side: at least I was able to get back on this flight. And I won’t lie, the reason it was easier for me to look on the bright side was that my thoughts were filled with worse what-ifs.
If you are as prepared as you can be, the rest you can do is hope for the best because no amount of arguing or anger will turn things around. But what will help is keeping an open mind and realizing that sometimes you’ll have to go with the flow.
Ask yourself: what can I do that’s in MY control to fix the situation?
I still struggle with this on a daily basis. I want to control the outcomes of all the decisions I make. I want to make sure that the if I choose that flight, it WILL land on time. I want to make sure that if I pay for that service, it WILL deliver.
Good outcomes aren’t guaranteed. Nothing in life is guaranteed actually. It’s something I’m still learning and reminding myself daily.
Taking the plunge
Isn’t it so easy to talk yourself into doing something tomorrow? We’re always waiting for the right time to make a choice or decision. During my travels, I didn’t have time to ponder about second-guessing whether I wanted to do something or not.
These opportunities won’t come back, so it’s now or never.
In 2010, I went to an island in Malaysia called Langkawi. That summer was a busy one for me particularly because I went to a three-week camp before the trip that taught me many lessons and one of them was having the courage to break boundaries.
Keeping all the lessons I learned in mind, I had the opportunity to go parasailing on this trip. Absolutely terrified of heights, I decided to do it. I decided to step out of my comfort zone, face my fear, and fly into the sky, because who knows if and when I would ever be able to come back and have this opportunity again.
If you want to do something but you’re scared, do it anyway.
Better safe than sorry
If you are the kind of person who tends to help strangers in need, this one is a hard pill to swallow. When someone who doesn’t even look remotely dangerous approaches you for a request, the normal response is to help them as you can. Sadly, this makes people like us an easy target for individuals with malicious intents.
Unfortunately the world isn’t fair or kind, even if you are.
After countless people telling me to make sure my bag is always around my body in Rome, getting pulled into a scam in Berlin, and being lost at 2am in Barcelona, becoming extra cautious came easier. Even the smartest and bravest people can get caught in a deceitful trick, don’t underestimate strangers.
It’s difficult to walk away to avoid being rude or giving off an unfriendly vibe but in these cases being selfless could cause harm to yourself.
Look at your surroundings and listen to what your intuition is telling you.
Experiencing situations that put these lessons into perspective stick with you forever. There’s a story behind every lesson that you can look back to, I promise.