What Traveling Taught Me About Myself

Is there even a reason to bring up the obvious?

Yes, I’ve been away for a very long time. But unlike other times, I have a good excuse: graduation, job promotion, and TRAVELING.

I’ve finally got to put my passport to use and stomped around foreign land for the first time in my life. Well technically the second if you count the 6 hours I got to spend in the Bahamas while on my cruise (but I don’t count that so….)

One of the first things my brother asked me upon returning to good ‘ol America was,
                                             “So, did you have any amazing self-revelations?”

The first thing I told him was,
                                            “No, do I look some middle-aged white woman? I’m not in a movie.”

I was being dead serious because the point of my travel wasn’t to go on some life changing, self discovery adventure. I knew who I was before I left the trip, I didn’t need finding.

However, after giving it some time, I did come up with a pretty good list. Most of these things I’ve already knew or speculated about myself and the trip just confirmed it and other things I’ve actually learned.

I’m sharing these with you all to encourage you to go out and travel yourself because even though you might not get a book deal from your travels, you’ll definitely have some great memories that will influence you down the road.

10 Things Traveling Taught Me About Myself (or About Others)

1.) People Are Nicer To You If.…you know how to speak their language. 
                    The first stop on my Europe trip was Athens, Greece. Before hand I was practicing for about 2 weeks some basic Greek phrases to keep me sane while traveling. I knew I couldn’t learn the language quickly, but I figured that it would be better to know a few words rather than none at all. When landing in the country that proved very true.

Me and my friends stopped in Greece, Italy, and France and in every country people seemed to be more friendly if they could understand you. It wasn’t just their attitudes towards us but our attitudes towards them. We all seemed to be nicer to those who at least knew one English word than those who knew nothing.

 I think it boils down to the idea of familiarity….people are uncomfortable with things they aren’t familiar with.

2.) I Am A Luxury Traveler
                  My friends and I spent a month traveling around three countries. Although we didn’t really ruff it like true backpackers, we still got a little experience of living out of a suitcase for a couple of days. Although not many days and still pretty luxurious in comparison, the experience was long enough for me to know that the next time I travel I’m ditching the backpack and the tiny economy seat and putting down the extra bucks for the bigger luggage, bigger seat, and bigger bed.

However,

3.) I LOVE Traveling 
           Despite my desire to have the most luxurious traveling experience this trip did confirm that I don’t only like traveling within the states but that I love to travel and that I’ve indeed chosen the right career path (to be a travel writer).
4.) A 9 to 5 Job Is NOT For Me 
            Being able to wake up on my own schedule and do what I want to do on this trip just confirms that. I know exactly what my passions are and under what conditions I can produce my best work. If anything, I could only work a 9 to 5 job if it were a position that allowed me full creative control.
5.)  Making Friends Is Easy If You Show Yourself Friendly
         This is actually kind of taken from a Bible verse. What I really learned from this trip is to not be afraid to approach people and just be yourself. Don’t care or take offense if people don’t respond the way you’d hope they would respond to you. Some times I was afraid to ask people questions because I thought that maybe it was inappropriate to ask in their culture but really everyone likes and hates most of the same things in any country.

6.) Don’t Be Afraid To Ask 
         The art of asking is a beautiful thing. I think I’ve been raised under the “keep my mouth shut and don’t ask questions” culture. In reality asking can get you far. Ask for directions, ask for discounts, ask for help, ask for that guy’s number….remember “you have not, because you ask not”.
7.) I Need to Take Risks
         Now obviously don’t do anything stupid like cliff jumping if you can’t swim but in other scenarios take risks because you never know when the opportunity will come again. But that weird shirt with the pelican on it. Eat whatever, jump off whatever, buy whatever unless you absolutely hear God say “NO!!”.
8.) You Do NOT Have To Be Like The Rest of Them 
         You can be different and quite frankly, it’s better and more fun that way. Just because all the travel sites recommend going to the Eiffel Tower doesn’t mean you have to also. Be different. Dress different, walk different, talk different, behave differently, respond differently. Be friendly when others are being rude. Eat well even if it seems unwell. Be bold when it is a good time to be in fear.
9.) Enjoying Life Is Productive
       Some times during the trip I would sit back and start thinking about work related things. Whenever I did this I would end up a bit anxious and stressed during the middle of my VACATION. Our last stop of the trip was Paris. One of the things I immediately noticed about Paris was that the people seemed to always maintain a state of peace when there was so much going on. I could immediately tell a Parisian a part from a non-Parisian by the calmness of their face and the carelessness in their walk. They seemed to always had so much to do, but never looked anxious about it.

       Maybe it was just me imagining things but regardless this trip definitely made me realize that some days I really do need to just sit back and enjoy what I have.

      Don’t feel guilty to take a break. It’s good for your sanity.

That’s all for now….be expecting more posts on my travels.

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