Every time that I come back from a prolonged adventure around the world, I hear the same comments “Wow, you’ve changed so much”, “You have grown up so much” and “you’re like a new woman”. The last comment offends me slightly as it makes me sound old ‘WOMAN’ I know that this is technically what I should be referred to as, however I still like to live in perpetual girlhood.
This, however is what travel has apparently done to me, I left a girl and came back a very cringe woman who can’t believe that she just used that cliché crap. How did travel do this to me? Well whilst you are dragging yourself around the world working in crazy jobs and living in even crazier places you inevitably learn some things:
I would never have described myself as introvert however travel has definitely helped me hone my social skills. Before I started traveling I saw friendships as something that where built up over years, with people who I went to school with or who I worked with and I stuck to my group always feeling vaguely uncomfortable when I was asked to meet someone new.
When you are traveling it is sink or swim! You are on your own and you can put yourself out there and make new friends or sit on your own in your hostel dormitory crying into your pillow whilst sipping from a lonely bag of wine. The second option sounds depressing so go take that bag of wine down to the common room and start a drinking game; before you know it you will have new friends and some new social skills.
How to Feel Comfortable In Your Own Skin:
Before travel I was an absolute princess, I would quite literally put on a full face of make-up, hair extensions and a new outfit to pop to the shop for a pint of milk. As a young woman feeling comfortable in your own skin is not something that comes easy and this was definitely not a change that came overnight…my travel photos are like a gradual timeline of my transformation from glamour model to Sasquatch!
This may sound like a bad thing and I’m not saying that at home we should all walk around looking like dirty scruffy hippies…but, looks are not the most important thing in the world, men will generally find you just as attractive looking natural as when you’re glammed up and this knowledge will give you so much more confidence and save you some time in the morning.
This one is a given, if you are traveling the world you will have to learn where places are. I can now name the capitals of some very obscure countries and also know things like: Laos is a country in South East Asia and not to be mistaken with a louse which is a small insect…see genius geography knowledge.
Unless your idea of travel is to sit in your hostel drinking cheap beer (actually that sounds like a great idea) you will probably be doing some sight-seeing of the huge historical landmarks and getting some practical history lessons at places like the Taj Mahal, Angkor Wat and Chichen – Itza.
Before I went traveling ‘Budget’ was not a word that was in my vocabulary. I’m not wealthy but as soon as my pay check would come in it would be gone. We all know that travel costs and unless you have some sort of trust fund you need to introduce the word budget into your vocab. When traveling you learn how to break down your money into weekly installments and to actually live off it.
When you are out of your comfort zone in a foreign country and you lose your bankcard or miss your train you find that you can become quite a problem solver. Whether it be swapping stuff from your backpack for food and accommodation or navigating your way between cities, whilst traveling you definitely learn to think outside the box.
Don’t believe what you read:
Well OK sometimes its true, but my point is that the media makes the world out to be this big scary place where people are constantly being murdered, children are being kidnapped and every white woman in India is being raped! Yes travel can be dangerous, and I’m not saying that we should all pack up our bags and set off for Somalia but don’t believe all the hype…we are told that the west is the only place that is safe and that the rest of the world will kidnap us steal our money and sexually assault us! I can tell you first hand that 99.9% of people are GOOD! Don’t be scared there have been so many friendly people who have helped me out along my travels and so long as you just keep your wits about you, you will be fine.
Travel Is Awesome:
Perhaps the most important lesson of all is that travel is just awesome, as well as learning all of these new skills you will learn how to truly have fun and live life to the fullest, whether it be a round the world adventure or a two week holiday, travel is bound to give you perspective and leave you a lot smarter than when you started.
What has travel taught you?
- You Can’t Fail At Traveling The World (wanderingearl.com)