It must be a gene.
The wanderlust, I mean. My dad has traveled the world (well, most of the world) and my mother and brother seem to have the same zest for traveling too. So naturally, that same fascination and enthusiasm for traveling has trickled down to me as well. Because let’s face it, nothing makes me happier than traveling to new, unseen destinations!
Over the years, I’ve realized that I do some of my best thinking while traveling. Away from the hustle and bustle of life back home, between checking my phone for texts and emails, I found that I could relax and philosophize best while staring at the passing scenery through a bus/train window or looking down at the clouds through the tiny window of the plane. Being in a beautiful place or experiencing something “once in a lifetime” is also a great catalyst for some deep thinking.
Whenever we visit new places, we get to meet new people and experience new cultures without any inhibitions. Travel in a way inspires us, motivates us, improves us and also provides great tales that we can share and hold in our heart for years to come. I still have a lot of countries, cities and towns to explore, but from whatever little traveling I have done so far, I realized that traveling has taught me things that I normally would not have realized or assimilated while going about my daily routine.
So when you start scratching your head and thinking about what you’ve actually picked up over your journeys, you’ll really be surprised with the final outcome. Therefore, I decided to compile a small list of things I’ve learnt during my short, beautiful sojourns and enlighten you about the same! Even if you can’t seem to relate to everything that I talk about, you can still read on and dream from your comfortable couch, and maybe you will get inspired to travel more! 😀
Essentials could mean anything from your passports, money, tickets or any other important documents or items that are required for your travel. I always find myself fruitlessly searching for things at the last minute. And since my handbag is equal to the big black hole, I never seem to find anything at the right moment. Prioritize and dedicate one particular part of your hand baggage for these essentials and don’t stuff anything else in that section even if you can’t help yourself.
I have seen that people really appreciate it when you try to speak their language, regardless of how terrible your accent may be and how many mistakes you might make. Trust me, a simple greeting in the local language has a huge impact.
Most likely it will be the most delicious thing you’ve eaten. If not, it’ll be a good story to tell.
5) Traveling with close friends and family creates the best memories!
Although it is quite exciting/eye opening when you travel alone or with people you don’t know or hardly know. A vacation is a lot more enjoyable when you travel with someone very close to you. Trust me, I have learnt this out of experience. After certain fiascos, I have decided never to travel with people I hardly know or probably know through someone else. I have realized that traveling is more about people. My most memorable experiences while traveling were not shaped by sights or things but by the people I have traveled with!
Put your smartphone, tablet or even camera aside at least for sometime and soak in the impressions of the new place you are visiting. It’s no fun if your memory of a place is only through a camera lens and not through your own eyes!
7) Interact with locals
Instead of checking out the internet for places to see, ask the locals or other travelers about places worth visiting. Trust me, this way you’ll get to know about a lot more unknown and beautiful places than the internet.
8) Treat your body well.
We need a lot more energy while traveling than usual. So it’s absolutely mandatory to get enough sleep, eat healthy and keep ourselves hydrated.
9) Wear Sunscreen
Ugghh! I have always been very careless when it comes to taking care of myself while traveling. Laziness always takes center stage! 😐 I have come back from numerous trips with terrible sunburns and tans, and most of those sun burns have happened on the mountains! Yup! Always, always, always wear sunscreen. It doesn’t matter if you are on the beach or on top of a mountain that’s completely covered in snow. You will be exposed to the harsh rays of the sun where ever you go. It’s better to be prepared.
10) If someone offers to carry your bag, be prepared to pay them.
I have seen this happen numerous times, where random people come and start carrying your luggage to the nearest taxi or other local transport without even asking you. I normally don’t let go of my luggage, but I have seen this happening to a couple of other people around me. If you think they are just being helpful, you are sadly mistaken.
11) There is no right time to travel.
There is never a ‘right time to travel’. Just book your tickets and get going. Too much planning sometimes ruins the fun.
12) Take as many pictures as possible.
As much as I said that we should keep our phones and cameras aside while enjoying a beautiful place, we should also try and take as many pictures as we can when we do pick it up. Life is all about memories!
13) Homesickness can strike anytime!
It can happen during the day or even in the middle of the night (like in my case! 😛 )
14) The excitement you feel when you first step off the plane onto new soil is unmatched!
There’s no greater joy than the joy I feel when I first step off the bus/plane onto new soil for the first time. The expectations and enthusiasm for the days ahead and the excitement I feel before exploring a new city or country is hard to match!
15) Sometimes you don’t realize how great a moment is until it becomes a memory!
I have felt this time and again! Whenever you are in a beautiful place, you’ll have so many emotions and thoughts going through you that it is hard to get it all together at that particular time. It is best to just let go of everything and soak in each and every moment as best as you can!
16) Traveling makes you fiercely independent!
Even through a small task like getting to the airport, finding a place to eat or trying to find your way back to your hotel, you learn to traverse on your own and become independent. At times, complications will arise. But when such things happen, you learn how to plan and execute these tasks very quickly by yourself. Of course, it is never a bad thing to ask for help, but knowing you can work through problems on your own is invaluable.
Do you want to learn non-verbal communication? Then head to a non-english speaking country or city.
You will definitely master the skill in a couple of days. In a couple of places I have visited, I’ve done everything from showing hand signs to playing charades, to making ridiculous faces to get my point across!
Sometimes it is slow. Sometimes it is frustrating. But we have always ended up having a good laugh in the end.
18) Travel teaches Money Management.
I have never been good at money management. Keeping track of my expenses has always been overwhelming. But while traveling, you quickly learn how to manage your money efficiently in the fastest possible time!
19) Cherish the small moments.
Whether it was while sipping a cup of tea with a local or while relishing a hot bowl of maggi on a mountain top, the small and seemingly insignificant moments are the best and most priceless experiences in my opinion!
20) Make the Most of Each Moment.
Life is short and the older I get the more I realize how short it really is. Each day is a new beginning, a fresh awakening, a beautiful opportunity for something wonderful to happen. And each day comes with a choice.
How are we going to spend it? Too often, we get lost in the rut of everyday life, wasting away precious minutes. Traveling makes us aware of the fact that there is so much more to see, learn, and experience in life!
Yes, travel does change you. It will stretch your limits, open your eyes, and blow your mind. It will cause you to deal with things that most people put off all their lives and it will allow you to explore beyond your dreams. I firmly believe that it is truly beneficial to those who embrace it. No matter what stage of life you are currently in, do consider making travel a big part of it. Because traveling is addictive! And once you start, you can’t stop anymore (at least I can’t). And since life is short, we should do what makes us happy!
Go on now, start planning and preparing for your next big adventure! Because, chances are that you’ll meet the most incredible people, see the most impressive sights and create memories that will stay with you forever, and trust me, that will be the best decision you will ever make!