4 + 1 lessons I learnt by travelling the world and not in school

You always have to be able to reroute 

You sit at home, spending hours planning your next trip but when the day comes it turns out that the flight is delayed or half of the city is closed due to construction work (my last trip to Paris was the life adaptation of a board game where your way somehow always gets blocked) and now your perfectly planned holiday is ruined. Unfortunately, most of the time what you learn in school is how to resolve a problem in a particular way, if you do not get it right you are told to sit down or practice until you get the answer right. Well, that is not the case in life. You plan, life comes in and you have to come up with a different solution. What also nobody tells you is that rerouting is not a bad thing, at all. It teaches you how to be a better problem solver, and that is, in my opinion, a thousand times more useful in life than knowing everything about Napoleon’s battles. 

You are not missing out

Early into my travels I remember feeling guilty for missing my Dad’s 50th birthday. I was spending the summer travelling Italy’s breath-taking coastlines creating some of the best memories of my life, when the fear of missing out on important family moments suddenly hit me. It took me a while to realise that the value of relationships is not tied to calendar days or special occasions. Yes, you might not be there with your loved ones on birthdays, engagement parties or christenings, but when you are reunited you will appreciate the time spent even more. The best part? Exploring the world changes you for the better step by step. So, every time you return from travelling people will receive a better version of you. 

There is no right or wrong answer 

 Everyone like to think they know things best and they are always right. I can clearly remember my 17 years old self, going solo on her first ever overseas trip to the U.S. thinking that I knew life so well. It still makes me laugh thinking how wrong I was. In reality my journey to be a better and educated human being only just started. That was the point when I fell in love with travelling. I realised that with its beauties and flaws travelling will make me a better person. But to be that better person I need to observe, listen and learn endlessly. In school you are told what is wrong and what is right, like life was that simple (only if…). Travelling can change this approach. It will teach you that everyone is doing their best and my right might be your wrong and vice versa. In life most of the time there are no right or wrong answers, but only answers. Once you realise that you will be relieved, because only then you will understand that you don’t have to compare your journey to anybody else’s. Don’t assume your life approach will help others too, everyone needs to find their own right answers in life. 

Kindness will always find you 

I will forever be grateful for the receptionist who helped me when I lost my sister in a town in the middle of the Vietnamese mountains. I randomly walked into the hotel he was working at to ask for help, and he didn’t hesitate to help me to make phone calls, even though he did not speak fluent English (I am not even sure he completely understood my problem). He was kind when I felt so hopeless. Sadly, I never heard in school any of my teachers telling me to be kind (maybe I went to the wrong schools?), but always prepared us for the worst like life was a constant competition. I believe it is only a competition if you make it one. What I noticed through travelling is how much a kind gesture or act can change my experience. On many occasions people who I have never met before were generous and kind to me out of interest and when you are alone on the other side of the globe, it really makes a difference. Cliché but it does not cost anything to be kind and often I find that people who have very little have the biggest heart. So, don’t be afraid, life is not a competition and there will always be kind people. Always. If you don’t believe me go, travel and you will see it for yourself. 

+ 1: Ice-cream always helps. 

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