As I inch closer to the one-year mark for time spent traveling, I’ve found myself in an interesting place. While the list of destinations I want to visit has grown immensely, the desire to settle down and try something new has also begun to fester. While the former still heavily outweighs the latter, I’ve felt more inclined, in recent days, to revisit lessons I’ve learned over the last few months. Here are the most important lessons I’ve learned while on the road.
Make a decision: While one of the most important parts of traveling is being able to be flexible, I’ve truly become aware of how important it is to make a decision. Though I love being spontaneous, the more I see, the more I realize that so much of human frustration comes from decisions. Though it may be scary to take a leap of faith, the funny little secret is that there is seemingly no wrong, or for that matter completely right, decision one can make. You just choose one and ride out the path which has been laid out before you.
Patience: While I still cringe when thinking about my Dad spouting, “Patience is a virtue,” every time I complained as a kid, I’ve realized he is on to something. If you have backpacked in the developing world before, you will know that you better learn patience real quick, or else you are going to lose your mind. Patience is one of the most important skills one can gain from exploring the world.
Faith: While I’ve been blessed to experience, enjoy and partake in activities and events from religions all around the world, this lesson of faith does not actually have to do with a theology. The lesson of faith is simply the idea that things will work out in the end. It is trusting that even when times get tough, or the road is dark, that your path will still lead you to safety. Believing in and full trusting your friends, family, loved ones and travel companions isn’t a bad use of the lesson either.
Face your demons daily: While many people believe that travel is a way to run from your problems, I firmly disagree with this idea. It CAN be a way to try to escape, but people who get the most out of travel realize it is the exact opposite. Life doesn’t have a pause button. It keeps occurring whether you like it or not. Your demons, vices and problems will follow you everywhere you go, but as you learn about faith during travel, you also learn all these setbacks are not impassable. All it takes is being able to confront them when the time comes.