40 Lessons Learned in Three Years of Travel

40 Lessons Learned in Three Years of Travel

Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you have traveled.

On solo travel

You’ll never regret introducing yourself to that stranger.

In fact, making friends while traveling solo is often easier than making friends while traveling with others.

Solo travel will make you fiercely independent, even if it feels like you’re failing miserably at the time.

And you will feel like you’re failing sometimes.  Solo travel can be extremely lonely.

But you’re never really alone.

When you need to cry, let yourself.  The bad moments will always be overshadowed by the good in the end.

Solo travel is the most challenging, enriching, mind-expanding, liberating thing in the world, and everyone should do it at least once.Solo travel is something everyone should do at least once.

On traveling with others

There’s no better or faster way to get to know someone than to travel with them.

There’s also no faster way to become best friends with someone than to travel with them.

No two travelers are alike, and that’s okay.  It’s all about compromise.

And there’s no shame in going your separate ways if it’s not a good fit.  It’s better not to force it.

A friend you travel well with is worth their weight in gold, and you should hold onto that person tightly.

Traveling with friends

As good as gold!

On packing

Packing cubes.  Use them.

In fact, compartmentalize as many things as possible.  Electronics accessories, toiletries, everything.

I’d rather bulk up my biceps dragging around a rolling suitcase (or a wheeled backpack) than break my back with a backpack.

Bringing along a deck of cards (or, even better, Cards Against Humanity) will earn you instant friends.

Bringing along a corkscrew will do the same.

Shoes are space wasters.  Bring as few pairs as possible, and wear the bulkiest pair while traveling.

The best way to pack light?  Lay out everything you want to take, and then put back half.


Too many shoes, not enough packing cubes

On money and budgeting

Generally speaking, if I have it, I will spend it.  Retirement?  What’s retirement?

No matter how many countries I visit, converting currencies never gets easier.

It’s better to overestimate your budget, because emergencies WILL happen.

Cooking for yourself is not only a major money-saver, but a great way to socialize.  Hostel dinner parties are the best!

You’ll never regret splurging on a once-in-a-lifetime experience (like this, this, or this), even if it means cutting your trip a little short in the end.

On relationships

Distance makes the real relationships stronger and allows the false ones to unravel.

There’s no substitute for seeing someone’s face and hearing their voice to feel connected again.  Skype can do wonders for a relationship.

No one understands a traveler’s heart better than another traveler.

But dating while traveling can be equal parts euphoria and heartbreak.

In life, it’s not the quantity of friends you have that counts, it’s the quality.Quality of friends is more important than quantity

On food

Street food can be the best OR worst decision ever.  It’s a crapshoot, but that’s half the fun.

Travel long enough, you WILL get food poisoning.

I could easily live off of fresh fruit in the tropics.  Mango, guava, pineapple, papaya, coconut, what more do I need!?

I might be one of the only people I know who never misses foods from home.

Trying local food is an integral part of the travel experience.  Even if you think you’ll hate it, try it anyway, just once.

Trying local foods is an integral part of the travel experience

If you don’t eat the arepas, I will

On going home

Home will never feel completely like home again, because you’ll have left little pieces of your heart in so many places.

Home might even feel like a completely different place, because you will see it with new eyes and notice things you never did before.

You’ll appreciate the little things more, like how polite people are or how easy it is to find your favorite foods.

Or the fact that cars actually let you cross the street, or that you feel safe walking around at night.

You’ll spend time with friends and family more wisely, because you know that it’s limited.

The best part of a life of travel is that you develop the ability to feel at home anywhere.

40 Lessons Learned in Three Years of Travel

Home is where the pants aren’t

What lessons has travel taught you about life?

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