Traveling for me is always fun because I get to experience something new and meet people that opens my perspective on life. However, it isn’t always shiny and rosy.
Sometimes it can be trying and not that exciting. In the end, it is a part of character building, as from each experience there’s always a lesson to be learned.
What it comes down to is how you choose to take what you’ve learned and incorporate the skills and lessons you’ve encountered into your life.
Here are the 7 indispensable life skills you may have developed to help you grow as a person.
1. You learn to deal with change
Similar to life, there’s only so much planning you can do when it comes to traveling and sometimes, no matter how prepared you are, the unexpected happens, which can set you back.
Instead of resisting and being angry that the train strike has delayed your plans to get to Tuscany, it means you get to go back to your favorite pizza joint in Naples tonight.
You can only control what happens in your life to an extent, so focus on what it is you can do to make the situation better than they currently are. Learning to go with the flow, and see what else a negative experience might mean can help soothe you and shift your thoughts to help you deal with change with more ease.
2. You learn to be creative and think outside the box
Often when you are traveling you are forced to adapt to the situation with what you know and what is in your backpack.
So you get creative, especially if you are on a budget. When you encounter unexpected weather, you might go get yourself an umbrella or find a garbage bag and cut a hole and put it over you.
You learn to do your laundry by hand washing some key items and drying it with a hairdryer until you hit your next destination that has a washer/dryer.
When it comes to communication, you get creative with your non-verbals and often get into the game of pictionary or charades with fellow locals.
How can you re-ignite the creativity spurt you get when traveling and use it in your every day life?
3. You develop patience and tolerance
Since you are in an unfamiliar environment, you will more likely encounter situations that will test your patience and tolerance. Be it just trying to get around town or having people stare at you because you look different.
Once I had kids come up to me and made karate chop hand gestures and noises yelling out ‘Bruce Lee’ when I walked around town.
At first I was startled, then amused, and then it got annoying. Until I decided to see it as an ‘intercultural’ exchange opportunity and ask them about their stories, so that I can share mine. It was not until then did I start to appreciate the event that happened, which leads me to point number 4.
4. You learn to expand your appreciation.
From the simple pleasures of life (like clean water), to the new people you meet and the experiences you share, you learn to appreciate the present.
You learn to appreciate life is about connection and sharing our stories. As you share your stories, you learn that as human beings, we all want love, connection to feel validated and happiness in our lives.
From this open-minded and non-judgmental place, you learn to respect and appreciate being enlightened when other people share their perspectives, learning to see it from their lens, knowing you don’t necessarily have to agree with them.
5. You develop confidence and boldness.
When you travel, you have invested and committed the time to the experience.
You may have some goals in mind of what you want to see and do. You seize the opportunity to ensure what you would like to experience gets done.
Because the fact is you don’t know when you may have another opportunity to take this journey again. So whatever it is you want to do, you step up (even if it is out of your comfort zone) to do everything you can to make it happen when you are traveling.
What if you developed this attitude towards living your life? After all, you’ve only got one. Make it great.
6. You learn to let go
This ranges from saying good bye to the people we meet knowing they will forever be a part of our memories in an energetic spiritual sense, to realizing a lot of the stuff we bring and carry with us in our backpack is of little value (if any).
You learn that all good things come to an end, saying goodbye is imminent, the things you thought you need, you don’t really need it. If you were to forget something, you can easily go buy it. Yet we often overpack to give us a false sense of security, that we have it ‘just in case’.
Instead it just adds extra weight to our baggage.
So where else can you see this applicable in your life? What are you holding on to that you are afraid to let go of?
Share with me what other skills or lessons have you learned through your travels that has helped you grow?
Theresa Ho is a life coach, a blogger and the founder of Rejuvenate Your Essence. She believes life is too short to live your life based on others’ expectations and is dedicated in helping people live life on their own terms. If you like this article check out 32 powerful questions to change your life, and get her free 10 part manifesto series to live life on your own terms.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.