It’s been one long ride! If you’ve been following for a while, you probably already know a bit about me. After university, I started out in the world of corporate wealth management.
I very quickly learned that it wasn’t for me. At all.
I started traveling. The more I saw, the more I wanted to see. Fast forward ten years and I now have a travel blog that I am so proud of, and a life that I am incredibly grateful to have (in case you’re curious and want to know more—check out my FAQ!).
I’ve had my eyes opened to so much magic around this beautiful planet. While I’ve learned many lessons along the way, there are a few that really stuck with me.
Here are the top 20 things I’ve learned from ten years of travel that might just help you on your own journey.
1. Make Time for Family and Friends
No matter where you are, no matter how busy life gets—always make time for the people who are the most important to you.
It’s too easy to get caught up in things that aren’t central to your life. Make sure to check in with yourself and your priorities to ensure you’re honoring the VIPs of your life.
2. You Are Responsible for Your Own Happiness
You can be your own hero. Your happiness isn’t dependent on others.
The more you can internalize that, the freer you will feel. If a relationship is no longer good for you; if you want to find a new place to call home; if you need a new job that inspires passion, go for it! You just have to take that leap. It’ll be scary but it’ll be worth it.
3. Things Don’t Always Go According to Plan, Figure It Out
Adapt and be patient. If you miss the bus, there’s always another way to get where you are going. Moreover, there is always beauty to be found along the way.
Try to push yourself away from being overly attached to any one plan. While it’s good to have a plan, it’s even more important to be ready to ditch your plan.
4. Both Life and Travel Can Sometimes Be Lonely
And that’s not a bad thing! Being alone is what fosters growth. Use it to learn about yourself as well as to push you to reach out to others. Appreciate your solo time while making those connections and fostering relationships of all kinds.
5. Slow Down
Before you go anywhere, read what I’ve learned about travel burnout. Truly, whether I am at home or abroad, I’ve found that it’s key to take it slow.
Don’t try to pack too many things in at once. Enjoy your time and simply relax. It is so much more important than you might realize.
6. Your Stuff Can Be Replaced
Things get stolen and lost. It’s just part of life and travel meltdowns won’t change anything. Get travel insurance and chill.
All you can do is try your best to be careful and cautious. Beyond that, your health and safety are what really matter.
Focus on those and the rest will just sort itself out.
7. Don’t Take Things Too Seriously
Be okay with laughing at yourself. Making mistakes is how you grow. It sounds cliche but it’s become age-old advice because it’s a universal truth.
Whether you’re learning a new language and say something completely inappropriate or get a highly unfortunate case of traveler’s diarrhea, laugh it off.
We’re all human and usually, it’ll make for a good story.
8. Volunteer Your Time
Find something you are passionate about and dedicate your time to it. Remember that not everything has to be a resume builder. Simply do it because it’s something you love and want to be involved with.
I’ve had some of my best travel experiences while volunteering abroad. Here’s how you can find your calling.
9. Being Present is More Important Than Posting Photos Right Away
I love social media as much as the next gal, but keep all things in moderation. Snap your pics then put the camera away.
I actually find it more enjoyable to revisit the memory later than post about it right away. It allows you to appreciate what’s going on around you then relive it all as you scroll through your pics to decide which to share.
10. It’s Important to Care for the Environment
Wherever you are, do your best to care for the planet.
None of us will ever be the perfect environmentalist, but we can all play a part in doing better for the environment. I repeat: we can all play a part in doing better! I’ve done a ton of research on the best ways to reduce our carbon footprint while traveling and compiled them into one easy eco-friendly travel cheat sheet.
11. Perseverance Pays Off
Figure out what your dreams and goals are and create a plan to achieve them. It is okay if things change as you go. All that matters is that you stick with it!
As long as you take steps to get there, you can do anything.
When I first started this blog, there was honestly no such thing as professional travel blogging. But here we are! I had a vision and a goal that I just kept working toward and eventually my dreams came true.
12. Break Out of Your Comfort Zone
Being comfortable is not the most important thing in life. Push yourself to go further. Remind yourself that you can do absolutely anything. Conquer those fears and just keep going.
13. You Don’t Need All That Stuff
It all starts small. You travel and slowly realize what a nightmare an overpacked suitcase can be.
As you travel a bit more, you start to feel like you probably don’t need as much stuff as you thought you did. Slowly but surely, you find yourself at home wanting to simplify and just hold onto the pieces you truly love.
Read about how to avoid overpacking for your next trip!
14. Some of the Best Foods in the World are the Ones You Don’t Expect
Traveling is about leaving those preconceived notions behind. Who wants a posh French restaurant when you could have Hungarian street food? Discover culinary treasures like octopus crudo adorned with lavender petals or colcannon in your new favorite Irish restaurant.
And…some of the worst are what you would expect—like rotten shark!
15. There Are Many Ways to Define Success and Happiness
As you explore the planet, you will see that everyone has their own little world. Different people have different ways of defining success and happiness. If the one that you had in mind isn’t working out, go on to the next one.
Be flexible to your core. Never limit yourself to one way of living. There are countless ways to make money and pursue your dreams.
16. Wake Up Early
Yep, I am a big believer that the early bird gets the worm. This is also a really good way to avoid the crowds and get flawless photos in ideal lighting…just before everyone gets there.
17. Keep an Open Mind
If you take a long, hard look at anyone, you will probably find more similarities than differences. We all have the same roots and are simply molded by different experiences and environments.
Try not to judge others too harshly. Be open to their customs and beliefs. You don’t have to adopt them. Simply take the time to hear people’s stories and find connections.
18. Not Knowing Which Direction You’re Going is Not Always a Bad Thing
In both life and travel, getting lost can be exactly what you need. Allow the road to take you to places you’ve never dreamt of. Getting lost can show you what you are really capable of and introduce you to other paths in life.
19. Treat Your Body Well
Listen to what your body is telling you. If you’re eating things that don’t make you feel your best, change that. Get enough sleep and drink lots of water.
You guys often ask me my secret to staying healthy and happy on the road. So, I’ve put together a guide of the best tips I’ve learned along the way to feeling my best while traveling.
20. Don’t Be Afraid to Say Yes or No
Be an advocate for yourself. Say yes to things you actually want to do. Don’t be afraid to say no to things that won’t serve you or you don’t have time for. Only you can make that decision. Just trust your gut and say what you feel.
What things have you learned from traveling? Please share in the comments below!
Curious about 20 things every traveler should know? Find out here!