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10 Valuable Lessons I Learnt From 5 Years Of Travelling

I travel a lot.

The past 5 years I have lived in 3 different countries and experienced things I never thought I would.

To say I am a different person, to when I first left, would be an understatement.

My view of the world has changed completely since I embarked on my trip to Australia five years ago.

During that time, I have learned a lot of lessons. Some good, some bad, and some downright crazy.

But, all of it has made me a better person and changed my outlook on life.

It’s a well-trodden cliche that you find yourself when you travel. However cliche it may be, there is an element of truth to it.

You’re constantly putting yourself in uncomfortable situations. How you react to those situations, will reveal to you, the kind of person that you are.

It’s impossible not to travel and return different. You’ve been to new places, seen new things, had your central belief system challenged.

Travel is a disruptive process that shakes your beliefs to the core. Or maybe it reinforces them!

No matter what, travel will teach you. Here is what it taught me.

1. Fear Is Nothing To Be Afraid Of

I was terrified when I went to Australia. I was so frightened of being alone on the other side of the planet, I didn’t want the plane to land!

How crazy, is that!

What happened when the plane landed? I walked out of the airport and realised being alone wasn’t that scary at all.

It was empowering!

Fear becomes smaller the closer you get to it. A little fear can push you in the right direction at times. Embrace it!

2. Experiences Outweigh Possessions

We are obsessed with collecting things.

We tell ourselves we need that new iPhone. Buy that new car and I’ll be happy.

Yet, we are more miserable than ever. Why?

When you buy things, they ultimately, end up owning you. A lot of these items have no value apart from the arbitrary value we place in them ourselves.

Your money would be much better spent on experiences. Experience can bring you to your knees, teach you something new, or take you places you never thought you would go.

Experiencing a variety of cultures and countries will imbue with a fresh outlook.

Think twice before you buy that new phone!

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Tom Stevenson Instagram

3. Living Frugally Is Easy

I had to live frugally during my travels. It was thrust upon me. I had no choice.

If I didn’t, I would be back home upset and penniless. Not a good position to be in!

This meant reining in my spending and being more careful with what I did spend my money on.

Was it difficult? At first, but gradually, I began to think better than spending my money on pointless rubbish.

Spend more and go home earlier, or be careful and stay for longer.

It’s an easy choice!

4. We Are Similar

We all have hopes, we all have dreams, we all have fears.

It’s remarkable how alike we are, despite the numerous cultural, linguistic and national barriers between us.

We may be different, but we are more alike as a species than we realise.

5. No Amount Of Research Will Prepare You

You can devour the Lonely Planet guidebooks.

You can watch all the travel documentaries you can find.

You can read all the blog posts you want.

But, no amount of research will prepare you for what a place is truly like.

It’s ironic I say this as a travel blogger, but it’s true. No amount of research and preparation will prepare you for what you encounter!

There is a world out there, outside of your books and videos. Go and see it for yourself!

6. It’s A Big World

I did not truly appreciate this until I travelled to Australia. I knew it was big, I just didn’t realise how big!

Flying from Singapore, we eventually reached the Northern coast of Australia, I thought we would arrive in Sydney in an hour or two.

3 hours later, we landed!

I had grossly underestimated how big Australia was. Despite the increasingly interconnected nature of the globe, it’s still bigger than we can imagine!

7. Once You Travel, You’ll Want To Travel More

Travelling is a disease that takes hold of you and doesn’t let you go.

No matter how much you try to wrestle free of its grip, you’ll always find yourself sucked back in, yearning to travel once again.

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Tom Stevenson Instagram

8. Life Will Never Be The Same

You will never look at your friends the same way again.

You will never see your hometown the way you did before.

Travelling will give you a new perspective on life.

9. We Are Lucky

We do not realise how privileged we truly are.

We are able to go on holiday to these far-flung destinations and return home afterwards.

If you visit a poor country, you will see abject poverty all around you.

It’s an eye-opening and humbling experience.

Only then does it become apparent, just how lucky we are to come from a rich country.

10. Live Your Life Today

If you want to go on the trip of a lifetime do it.

If you want to visit that country you’ve dreamed of going to, do it.

If you want to quit your job to travel the world, do it.

Life is short, there are no guarantees. It may cost a lot of money, it may not get the approval of your friends and family.

But, it’s your life, you’re free to live it however you want.

One day, tomorrow will never come. No one wants to die old and full of regrets!

Written by

I like to write. I like to travel. https://www.thetravellingtom.com Join my email list -> https://tomstevenson.substack.com/

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