In honor of reaching the 2nd anniversary of the existence of this blog, I want to share 24 things I’ve learned over the past two years of travel blogging. Travel blogging has not only affected my travel style, but it has also changed the way I see life and the world. Here’s what I’ve learned through my travels and travel blogging:
1. Less is more
The famous Mies Van Der Rohe (architect) quote fits in every aspect of life. A less cluttered life gives more space to breathe and to actually live and feel free to do what you love. Invest in life experiences also, not just in material things.
2. Having a positive attitude makes everything easier and much better
It’s a simple truth of physics. Every action has a reaction. A positive action will mostly generate a positive reaction back to you.
3. Getting mad will only delay things
Like the inverse of the previous point; having a negative attitude attracts negative things. This is what we do when we get mad about things not going our way, and chances are, our madness is just a selfish reaction. Just get over it, and act proactively to get things rolling.
4. When traveling, full planning and control can be overrated… Why not just go with the flow of the destination?
Sometimes trying to control everything ends up hurting or delaying us from what we want to achieve. Learning to delegate and trust (or leaps of faith) can take us further than what we could imagine or do by ourselves.
5. Sometimes expectations are the traveler’s worst enemy
It’s not the destination’s fault you arrived there with a misconstrued idea of what the place must have been, based on images and tales from others. The place is what it is, and it is us who have to be open minded to enjoy it or not based on its real current characteristics.
6. There’s no right or wrong way to travel
It’s been always debated what’s the best way to travel. I say, travel the way that makes you happy and enjoy the place the most.
7. Settling on the status quo doesn’t necessarily help you progress… challenge it
Just settling on things and doing them because it’s convention and socially accepted will only keep you swimming in the same water as the masses. Take the chance in life and don’t be afraid of change.
“One of the most difficult things is not to change society – but to change yourself.” – Nelson Mandela
8. Being alone is not that bad
I’ve been asked frequently during my RTW if I get bored when I’m on my own. Sometimes I do, but other times being alone helps me achieve and see things I wouldn’t do otherwise. Loneliness can be a creative catalyst. It makes you more aware of things and to appreciate them more.
9. Patience IS a virtue
Patience, my friends, is a quality you master while traveling (especially in Africa). When you realize that not everything is under your control (see #4) and that the world has its own pace, then you’ll learn to accept things as they come, easier.
10. The world is the best university you can ever find
Life and the world have better ways of teaching than any university. I’ve learned more about culture, architecture, geography, and many other things in these seven months of round the world travel (to this day), than in years of college.
11. You don’t need a guidebook to experience the best in a country… Just ask a local
Local knowledge is richer than any well-researched guidebook. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, tips, or to just set a conversation with a local. Picking their brain will teach you a lot about their customs, culture, and more. Plus, it can be a genuine local experience.
12. When you truly love something, sometimes getting away from it gets you closer to it
When you’re passionate about something, no matter what you do, you’ll always find a way to keep your heart close to it. This I’ve just experienced with architecture. I thought quitting my job to do a RTW would separate me from my profession, but now I’m more active, more related, more thoughtful, and more passionate about it than I had even been while working at an office.
13. Sometimes the things you dread the most, are the ones that make you grow the most
We grow from the challenges undertaken, not from the easy walks of life. Don’t be afraid to get out of the comfort zone.
14. It’s ok to be afraid, but it’s not ok to let fear stop you from doing what you love
Like they say, courage is not the absence of fear, but the acknowledgement of it and taking over it. Don’t let fear keep you from achieving awesomeness. Take risks, challenge things, and learn from your experiences.
15. Some things you can just photograph with your mind… just enjoy them
There are moments when you just need to forget about the camera and absorb the moment naturally, as it is. When doing a safari Uganda, a hippo walked next to my tent at 1:00am and started eating grass literally 2 feet away from me. Had I worried about taking a picture, I would have missed the moment, and ended up with crappy pictures. Now, the image is vivid in my head, since I focused in enjoying the moment.
16. A smile, and saying “hello” in the other person’s language can go a long way
A smile is a universal welcome and people appreciate when they see an effort on your part of accepting their customs.
17. The best way to move forward and succeed is by believing that everything is possible and by believing in yourself
Don’t expect anyone to believe you if you’re not the first one believing in yourself. Just by believing that even the craziest ideas are possible, you’ve paved an easier path to achieving that specific goal. This is a world of possibilities.
18. Likeminded people are always the greatest source of inspiration
Bad food gives you tummy aches, right? Then why feed the mind and soul with negative thoughts from others? Positive people attract positive people and inspire each other to achieve greatness.
19. Taking risks brings more opportunities than failure
Being passive wont get you anything. The more chances you take, the more opportunities you can gain. Failure does happen, but just learn from it and move forward to new opportunities.
20. Happiness can’t be measured but in your own terms
If you measure happiness on other’s terms, you’re only following what happiness means to them. Be yourself, make your own rules and be happy on your own terms.
21. The first step of a journey is the hardest and the most important one
This is commonly said, but it is true. When starting my RTW, one of the first critical steps was getting rid of everything I had and quitting my job. It was really hard to do, and I even cried one night a week before my trip because I felt I had nothing with me. Now, I’m more than grateful for having taken that hard step to live my dream.
22. Street smart is just as important as book smart
The way I see it is simple. Book smart teaches you how to think, but street smart teaches you how to act. Take the best of both worlds and be a better self. Learn from life too, not just from books.
23. Learning about the world helps you learn about yourself
The world is all different and relative, but it’s that difference that helps us see how unique and equally interesting we all are. I’ve learned so much about my character and individuality by picturing myself in relationship to other people from around the world.
24. Patient guidance is key to understanding
Not everyone will understand you at first when you try to do something different in life. People closest to you might not understand your decisions, but it is your duty to help and guide them to understand why you want to do this. Take them slowly, step by step. At some point the y will get used to the idea, understand it, and possibly cheer you up.
In my case, my family didn’t understand my RTW idea at first, but now they are my biggest support, cheering me all the way. Thank you!
What have you learned in these past two years?
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