Having the opportunity, freedom and desire to travel has created endless opportunities for me to visit countries outside of my own, explore different cultures and meet a variety of diverse and interesting characters. Over the years I’ve lost count of the all the profound, inspirational and sometimes most basic of lessons learned from traveling, but here are some of my most memorable:
The Top 5 Lessons Learned from Traveling
- Freedom is the greatest gift in life
- Every child has a right to a childhood
- There’s a difference between being poor and living in poverty
- The most memorable moments happen when things don’t go according to plan 😉
- The single greatest enabler of change is education
On a lighter note, the Top 20 Things I’ve Learned Whilst ‘On The Road’
- There is always one annoying person in each group and if you don’t know who it is – it’s you
- It’s impossible to stay dry or clean during a Cambodian or Laotian new year celebration
- Ice cubes in beer or red wine is not only acceptable in Southeast Asia, but essential
- There’s nothing like the topic of “volunteering in developing countries” to start a heated debate with fellow travelers
- After a month of eating Burmese food, Burger King will make you sick. After two months of African camp food, McDonald’s will make you even more sick. After two weeks on a motorbike in the Vietnamese Central Highlands, YES! you guessed it — KFC will also make you sick. Eventually you realize that what you used to think was food is not actually real food.
- The Spanish word for “flea” is “pulga” and the only cure for more than five hundred infected bites is antibiotics
- An elderly woman dressed in traditional Tibetan clothing, stopping traffic in the middle of a road in Shangri La to chant whilst pointing a crooked stick at you…is not a friendly local greeting
- Sometimes ‘no toilet’ is more hygienic than the toilet provided 😂
- It’s not easy standing on the back of an elephant whilst washing him in the Mekong River, but it sure is fun
- Paying $1 for a meal cooked by locals on a street stall and sitting on a ‘too small’ plastic stool to eat with them in Myanmar is better than any 5-star restaurant in the world
- Spiders and insects cooked in garlic in Cambodia simply taste like garlic — cockroaches in Thailand do not
- The definition of international stardom is having a 76-year-old blind Malawian village chief break the news of your death to foreign travelers. RIP Michael Jackson
- Karaoke is only taken seriously in Japan and Los Angeles.
- It’s impossible to walk past Victoria Falls in Africa without getting soaked through
- “The bus is full” is not part of the Southeast Asian vocabulary 😉
- There has never been a more accurate saying than the Burmese quote of “why use ten words when you can use ten thousand”
- Be prepared to lose weight in Bhutan if you don’t like spicy food
- You can get your hair washed, scalp massaged and hair dried in Monywa, Myanmar for less than $5
- If the month of Spanish lessons you took in Bolivia doesn’t help you understand your co-workers at a village day care center, it’s possible they are speaking their own indigenous dialect of Quecha
- Altitude sickness doesn’t always prey on the weak and reward the fit — sometimes, surprisingly, it does the opposite. Like in Bolivia.
See More Bolivia Adventures
And the greatest lesson of all?
There’s no greater education than the one taught outside the classroom.
4 thoughts on “25 Lessons I’ve Learned From Traveling”
Wow, that Michael Jackson thing really drives home the point that it’s a small world!
Very true – it was so surreal. We had spent the day collecting water with the local women, cooking, eating and dancing with them in their village…and ended the day with that piece of news from the village chief!
Great top 5 Kellie I could not agree more! Sometimes people get so bogged down with life they become complacent. Its amazing how taking your self out of your environment can change so many things in such a small amount of time.
So true Jared. Getting outside of our comfort zones can be so rewarding!
Now if we could only get more people to travel! I always say when you are in an uncomfortable situation whether you have a great or horrible time you are still going to have an entertaining story.
Yes, I always remind myself some of the most memorable moments happen when things don’t go to plan!
The best things often happen when you are lost. So don’t be afraid to step off the tourist path and see what’s round a different corner. (But don’t step off the path in Cambodia – too many land mines!)