10 Lessons Travel Hasn’t Taught Me

By on Published: December 31, 2015 | Last Updated: October 27, 2021 in Travel Stories with 19 Comments

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We all know we can learn lots from travel, but what doesn’t it teach us?

Here’s 10 things I found I haven’t learnt from wandering the globe…


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#1 To Hoard Possessions

Namibia, Dune 45, Sunrise

Travel hasn’t taught me to hoard possessions, to hang on to them, to worry about them, to collect them or to store them.

Instead, travel has taught me to let go of stuff, it has forced me to live simply, frugally and to get over the stress of things being lost or damaged.

Sure there are some luxuries I miss as a budget traveller, but it’s a great feeling to know there isn’t much I can’t live without.

The less stuff I hoard, the less there is to worry about and I certainly have travel to thank for that!

 

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#2 That the World is Full of Bad People

Travel hasn’t taught me that the world is full of bad people, that negativity is a given outcome or that most individuals have malicious intentions.

Instead, time and time again, travel has actually taught me that the world is full of beautiful, helpful and generous people, willing to share their home, journey or meal with me.

Living as a budget traveller, hitching and couchsurfing frequently, this point has repeatedly been brought home to me and almost always my experiences as a traveller have led to an affirmation that most people in this world are indeed good people.

 

#3 To Be Ungrateful

Cambodia, Koh Rong, Me on Pier

Travel hasn’t taught me to take for granted what I have – be that physical capabilities, personal talents, material possessions or the blessing of good fortune.

Instead, travel has always taught me to be incredibly thankful for what I do have and to use these gifts, be they material or ethereal, to the best of my ability.

As I one of the main reasons why I’m glad I prioritised travel over career in my 20’s, I know of no better way to show my gratitude for my good fortune than by making use of it.

In this way, travel has taught me how to be grateful and how to show it!

 

#4 To Stay in the Comfort Zone

Travel hasn’t taught me to stay in the comfort zone, to shy away from risk or to take the easy option.

Instead, more often than not, travel has taught me to put myself out there, to take a chance on an opportunity, to test out my fears or resistance to stuff.

And almost always, doing this, has led to some benefit, joy or new discovery; almost as if the universe rewards those who try, who take risks and who trust.

Travel has pushed me to do this and taught me the benefits of moving beyond the safe zone.

 

#5 That Normal Exists

Laos, Luang Prabang, Child

Travel hasn’t taught me that there is such a thing as “normal”, nor that there is one mould we should all conform to.

Opening my mind, forcing me to encounter and experience different realities and ways of living, travel has instead taught me that there isn’t any set way to view the world or be in the world – there isn’t a fixed trajectory or rhythm we can all dance along to.

Letting go of that the idea and being happy that I don’t fit a “normal” in many ways, is one of the most liberating feelings in the world.

 

#6 That Friendships Take Time

Travel hasn’t taught me that friendships take time, and that relationships can only be established over a period of months or years.

Instead, travel has repeatedly showed me that friendships can actually be formed in minutes, that chance encounters on buses, in hostels or at markets can lead to lifelong friendships.

I’ve only known some of the most wonderful people I’ve met on my travels for a few weeks and yet, years later, I am still in contact with them.

When you find someone you connect with, that you share an understanding of the world with, time and distance are no obstacles. Also, facebook helps!

 

#7 That Money = Fun

seat-with-a-view

As a strict budget traveller, travel certainly hasn’t taught me that you need money in order to have a good time.

Instead, many of the most beautiful places I’ve been to and many of the most fantastic things I’ve seen, have been those that cost very little or nothing at all.

This is one of the very reasons why I love budget travel so much – very often having to make do with little or nothing can prompt some great opportunities for invention, creation and discovery.

The fact that it’s been cheap in the process then helps make the wonderful results even sweeter!

 

#8 To Ignore Intuition

Travel hasn’t taught me to ignore my intuition, to not pay attention to that gut feeling, to disregard what the voice in the back of my mind is muttering.

Intuition can show itself in all sorts of ways – be it a feeling in your heart, a sense of “just knowing”, or a feeling that, despite all the odds, something is right – but whatever it is, travel has taught me to trust it.

When you don’t know anything or anyone where you are, when you are in strange and foreign lands, intuition is often the only thing us travellers have to go on, and listening to it has proved one of the greatest assets in all my years on the road.

In fact, listening to your intuition is one of my top travel tips for hitchhiking!

 

#9 That it Matters Where You’re From

road-trip

Travel hasn’t taught me that it matters where you’re from, or where you’ve been, or what you’ve been through.

What travel has taught me is that it matters most where you are going.

 

#10 That Love is an Impossible Find

Travel hasn’t taught me that it’s impossible to find love.

You will be taken on the journey in the direction you need, so allow travel to teach you this.

Travel has taught me that love exists, it is real and it is beautiful.

 

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So those are 10 lessons travel hasn’t taught me!

What hasn’t travel taught you?

And what is the greatest thing you’ve learnt in the process?!

 

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About the Author

About the Author: Creator of Big World Small Pockets, Stephanie Parker is a budget travel addict! Originally from Jersey in the Channel Islands, Stephanie backpacks the world collecting tips, advice and stories, to share with a smile .

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There Are 19 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Great post! All the best in 2016!

  2. Nadeen says:

    This is a great post! There are so many people who still don’t get all the benefits of travel! Travel has definitely taught me that people are people no matter what race or country. We all want to live the best life possible!

    • Steph says:

      So true Nadeen and glad you agree. I always find it amazing that people can’t believe I’m not scared or that bad things haven’t really happened to me when I’m travelling, but in all truth, travel has repeatedly shown me the opposite – that most people are beautiful, happy, generous and kind – nothing to be scared of!

  3. this is really nicely written and quite inspirational I would say. Travelling on a budget isn’t my cup of tea but I love stories like yours and by story here I mean your life story 😉 I will definitely follow your blog! Good luck xx

  4. I love this on so many levels 🙂 I’m soo sharing it!

    love peace and pancakes from another super low budget traveler 🙂

  5. Such a great read, thank-you! I’ve certainly not learnt these lessons either!

  6. sabrina says:

    – Stereotypes
    – no place is like home
    – you can just feel nostalgia for your homeland (as Neruda said)
    – being solo is like being lonely
    – world is a bad place.
    This is what Traveling hasn’t taught me. GREAT POST! thank you for sharing!!!

  7. Jojo says:

    What a great way to present what travel did teach you! Travel has taught me not to believe everything about somewhere you read online but still be smart and like your said, trust your intuition.

  8. Duke Stewart says:

    This was a wonderful read, Steph. I think of all the things that travel has taught me and none of these would ever make the list, like you write. Even as my wife and I settle back home, we’re still hesitant to pick up too many things because what’s the big deal about accumulating them? That one probably stuck with me the most as I read through your awesome collection of ideas. I’m happy to find your blog and hope to stay in touch. All the best to you.

    • Steph says:

      Those are very kind words Duke and I am delighted that you enjoyed the post. Thanks for reaching out and letting me know it resonated … and good call on not accumulating too much stuff!!

  9. solosophie says:

    This is such a good idea: so many people do ‘what travel has taught me’ that it’s nice you’ve approached it from a different angle!

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