It’s said that the best way to learn about someone is to travel with them. And the best way to learn about yourself is to travel alone.
When you’re away from familiar settings, stripped of all your usual comforts and routines, you have no choice but to get comfortable with who you are.
You have to face your fears and deal with your shortcomings head-on.
You unlock secret knowledge about yourself that you could never gain any other way.
I love to travel, and whenever I visit somewhere new, I come back with more than a souvenir as a reminder of my trip.
I come back with a new understanding of myself, and I always gain new insight into who I am and what I want out of life.
In this blog post, I’ll share 5 lessons I’ve learned from traveling to help you see that travel is one of the best ways to learn about yourself.
Lesson 1. It’s Okay to be Uncomfortable and Scared
Being uncomfortable and scared is a natural part of the travel experience. When you’re in a new place, surrounded by unfamiliar faces, it’s normal to feel anxious and uneasy.
But this is exactly why travel is so valuable. It forces you out of your comfort zone to confront your fears. Depending on the situation, you won’t be able to hide or run away from them. You have to face them head-on if you want a pleasant experience.
The things you normally shy away from doing when you’re at home may be the very thing that determines the outcome of your trip.
I don’t mind spending all day at home doing something creative or lounging around. However, when I’m traveling, all thoughts of lounging inside need to be far from my mind because to fully experience a new place, I need to get out and explore it.
This can be tough for someone who’s used to staying indoors, but it’s an important part of the travel experience. It breaks up your normal mundane activities and helps you see that there’s more to life than your usual routine back home.
Traveling also helps you understand that if you don’t take the initiative, you’ll walk away from your trip with regrets.
Don’t allow the feelings of being terrified to ruin your trip and your chance to learn about yourself; being scared means that you’re trying something new, which normally leads to great stories, lessons learned, and personal growth.
Lesson 2. You Can’t Please Everyone, so Don’t Try
This is a lesson I’ve learned the hard way.
There will always be people who don’t approve of the way you travel or the decisions you make while on your trip. And that’s okay! You’re not obligated to please everyone. The only person you need to worry about is yourself.
This lesson showed up when I traveled with a group of people. Everyone naturally wants to do something different. But a decision is often not made cohesively. In these cases, it’s fine to split from the group and do what you want to do.
On my first visit to Australia, all I wanted to do was hug a koala bear, but the group I was traveling with wanted to go bar hopping through the city as soon as they woke up. We ended up going from bar to bar, and since I’m not a big alcohol drinker, I was feeling really out of place and defeated.
I was in a place that I’ve only dreamt about and watched on the Discovery channel. A place that had so many animals it was hard to believe it was real. And I was stuck indoors watching people drink alcohol when all I wanted to do was be outside and explore.
I didn’t leave the group because I was scared to go explore by myself in a new country, and one of the rules back then with that group was that I had to be with someone at all times.
So instead of doing what I wanted, I just followed along, feeling miserable the entire time.
I learned from that experience that you shouldn’t be scared to branch out and do your own thing when traveling. Do what you want; it’s your travel experience as well.
The people you travel with will not alway have the same interests as you, so don’t let them control your trip or your happiness because the only person walking away with regrets will be you.
Life is too short not to do what makes you happy.
Recommended Article: 5 Reasons You Should Do Whatever You Want
Lesson 3. You Will Make Mistakes
Travel mistakes have helped me become more flexible and understanding, two essential qualities when traveling.
When you travel, you will make mistakes. It’s inevitable.
You’ll get lost, pay more than you should, forget to pack something important, the list goes on.
The key is to not beat yourself up over it and to learn from your mistakes so you don’t make them again in the future.
I remember my first big mistake when I was a teenager traveling with my family to Disney World. We were all staying in one hotel room, and I forgot to pack pajamas.
At that time, it wasn’t common for me to sleep in pj’s because I used to sleep in just a big t-shirt. That was fine, but when you’re sharing a small room with your family, it’s not really appropriate as a teenager.
So there I was, stuck in a hotel room with three other people with no pajamas and feeling terrible.
This example may seem strange to you. But at the time, I was basically the new family member because I had migrated to the United States a few months prior, and I was still getting used to everything.
It’s safe to say that I wanted to crawl into a hole and disappear.
Now, I never travel without pajamas, especially when traveling with other people. That experience burned a hole in my memory and taught me to be more mindful of others.
Recommended Article: Top 5 Beginner Travel Mistakes (and How To Avoid Them!)
Lesson 4. Be Open to New Experiences
One of the best things about travel is that it allows you to have new experiences. It opens you up to new people, new cultures, and new ideas.
Having a close mind while traveling will only limit your experience.
While sharing travel stories with a past co-worker, I learned that he had never tried the local cuisine. He prefers to go to regular American fast-food chain restaurants in whatever country he’s visiting mostly because he fears that his body will have a negative reaction to the local spices and flavorings.
I thought this was a very limiting way to travel because one of the best ways to learn about a new place is to try the local delicacies. I’m not saying you need to go out and eat a few worms, even though that’s considered a delicacy in some parts of the world.
I’m simply saying that you should be adventurous and try new things; step out of your comfort zone a bit. You may be surprised by how much you like something that you initially thought was gross or weird.
And even if you don’t like it, at least you tried it, and that’s the basics of learning: trial and error.
You won’t know what you like if you never try something new, and honestly, eating only American fast food is super unhealthy, especially when traveling for longer periods.
Recommended Article: How To Overcome Fear Of The Unknown
Lesson 5. Slow Down
Stop and smell the roses!
We’ve become so used to doing things at a fast pace at home, mostly because of repetition and autopilot, that we don’t even realize how fast we’re going until we’re forced to slow down.
That’s exactly what travel teaches; it opens your eyes to the things you miss when you’re always in a hurry.
If you’re unaware of your surroundings, you’re likely to miss the little things that make a place unique and special.
Running from place to place to catch an overly expensive tour that finishes in thirty minutes is not the best way to travel.
It’s important to slow down, walk around, and take your time so you can enjoy the experience and create lasting memories.
Take a stroll through the local market, stop at that cute cafe for lunch, wander around aimlessly, and get lost!
These things will change the way you look at your surroundings or evaluate a situation.
On my solo trip to Mexico a few years ago, I was very concerned with signing up for as many tours as possible to make the most of my time there.
However, my goal for that trip was to relax and enjoy myself, so I set aside an entire day to do nothing but wander around the town I was staying in.
It was one of the best days of my trip because I got to see the town in a completely different light.
I chatted with locals, tried new foods, and found hidden gems that I would have missed if I had been on a tour.
As a result, I ended up having one of the best trips I’ve ever had because I could see the sights and explore the culture while also having time to rest, relax, and just be by myself.
If I had tried to cram too much, I would have been too exhausted, which would have made me feel grumpy, impatient, and would have ruined my trip.
Because I actively decided to slow down and just go with the flow, I had a much more enjoyable experience.
Travel Teaches Lessons You May Not Find Elsewhere
Travel presents new lessons and challenges at every turn, which is why it’s a great way to learn more about yourself.
You’re constantly pushed outside of your comfort zone, forced to try new things, and you never quite know what will happen next.
Something always goes wrong, it’s never a smooth ride when it comes to traveling, but that’s how we learn. If everything went according to plan, there would be zero growth.
It allows you to see the world through a different lens and appreciate things that you may have taken for granted.
So the next time you’re feeling lost, anxious, or just need a change of pace, consider taking a trip.
Whether it’s for a weekend or months at a time, travel is one of the best ways to learn about who you are and what you’re capable of.
Understand that some of these lessons may be difficult to face at the time, but they’re always worth learning in the end.
So, if you’re looking for a way to grow and develop as a person, I highly recommend giving travel a try.
It may just be the best decision you ever make.
Travel has taught me so many important lessons, both about the world and myself, and it will undoubtedly do the same for you!
What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned from traveling? Let me know in the comments below!
Questions You May Have
What can you learn about yourself from traveling?
Countless lessons can be learned from traveling, but some of the most important ones include patience, resilience, and adaptability. Travel teaches you how to handle difficult situations with ease and grace. It forces you to confront your fears head-on, and it allows you to see the world in a new light.
Do you learn more about yourself when you travel?
Absolutely! Traveling is one of the best ways to learn more about yourself and your capabilities. It allows you to see the world differently, pushes your boundaries, and try new things. It’s also a great way to develop as a person and grow in confidence.
How traveling to different places can help us to improve ourselves?
When we travel, we’re constantly pushed outside of our comfort zones. We’re forced to try new things, meet new people, and experience new cultures. This type of exposure helps us to learn and grow in ways that we could never have imagined.
Why is travel important in life experience?
While there are many important things that we can learn from books and other forms of education, there is simply no substitute for life experience. Travel is one of the best ways to gain this valuable type of experience. It allows us to feel, see, and do things beyond our normal everyday lives.