10 lessons I've learnt from travel

Saturday, January 25, 2014

It's been quite a few years since I first left New Zealand for other shores and the travel bug firmly took hold. Since then I've managed to live in four countries and travel to over 48 (last count).

So I thought today I would share with you the top 10 lessons I've learnt from travel...

Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
On the shore of Lake Atitlán, Guatemala in 2009,
mid may through 5-months backpacking in Central America.
  1. Pack light
    No matter where you're going, don't take more than what you can personally carry on your back. Travel is so much more enjoyable and easy when you don't have to lug gear everywhere with you. If you forget something important nine times out of ten you can always buy that item wherever you're headed.

  2. But don't forget your 3 essentials - hand sanitiser, ear plugs and tissues
    These are my three travel essentials for keeping healthy, sleeping in noisy or unusual environments and going to the bathroom without worry.

  3. Always try the local coffee
    Coffee is one of those delights that every place and country has their own unique spin on - and in general it's always enjoyable. Find somewhere with a beautiful view or that's great for people watching and enjoy. I've had amazing coffee in Bali, Japan, Honduras, Italy... and so on.

  4. If a local smiles and mentions words similar to "food challenge" be scared
    This has happened to me in numerous countries and it's usually when that person wants you to eat the most disgusting thing they can find. It happened to me a lot while living in Japan - and half the time I didn't know what I was putting in my mouth, but these occasions make great travel stories later. Make sure you take photos!

  5. The world is a beautiful place
    Oh my goodness is it ever! Get out there and explore. I've seen breathtaking beauty across the globe, and in places I never would have guessed. And don't forget your camera.

  6. I was lucky to grow up in NZ
    Too often I catch myself complaining that NZ is too far away from everywhere, it has limited work opportunities, and it's too small. Maybe these things are true (in my eyes), but I was damn lucky to be born and grow up in a country where education is free, and compulsory, we have one of the least corrupt governments in the world, people can choose their own religion - or not have a religion at all, free thought and speech is encouraged, and in general the population is pretty well cared for.

  7. The less you have the happier you are
    The most content and happy people I've met during travel are the people that have very little. It's a very humbling experience.

  8. We are all essentially the same
    Everyone in the world wants the same things in life - to be happy, healthy, somewhere to sleep, enough to eat and drink. The more I've travelled the more I think the world is the same all over.

  9. Experiences make you rich, not money
    Travel doesn't have to be expensive. To get the most out of travel get off that tour bus and walk among the locals. Eat at local places. Talk to people. Try a few words in their language - you'll be amazed at the doors that will open for you.

  10. And finally, look after the planet
    Something that we hear a lot of these days, but it's important. And we can all do our part. Think more sustainable. Every little thing helps.
Want to feel inspired on this lovely Saturday? Here's one of my favourite TED talks: Boyd Varty: What I learned from Nelson Mandela. The first time I watched this it gave me goose bumps.

"In the cathedral of the wild, we get to see the best parts of ourselves reflected back to us."

Hope you're having a lovely weekend!

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  1. I especially agree with #1. Twenty years of backpacking at home taught me that. Although being able to buy everything you need I disagree with, atleast in the terms of being a Digital Nomad. Guatemala has been the hardest place to find certain things I have needed by far.

    1. Thanks for your comment Wil - just checked out your site and looks like you're having a pretty interesting adventure! I guess if you can't find it then you don't really need it?? Although, that's very easy for me to say from the comfort of London... One of the most memorable experiences my husband and I had in Guatemala (2009) was a home stay in Todos Santos. The family we stayed with for four nights actually gave up their only bed so we didn't have to sleep on the floor. Very humbling.

  2. Very well put! I agree on all accounts :)

  3. Number 4 would terrify me!

  4. So true with No. 6. And thank you for adding the video - nearly brought a tear to my eye! Very inspiring and heart felt!

  5. love this! I'm packing as we speak and packing light is SO hard for me!! Thanks for linking up :)

  6. Wow...great list. I certainly think travel is one of those things that helps you see the world differently and holds very strong memories. Thank you so much for linking up and sharing!

  7. Claire, this is an absolutely beautiful post. Thank you so much for joking our first School Of Life linkup. Looking forward to getting to know you better. Cheers!

  8. Love this! This is such a wonderful list and great life advice. I can't believe you have travelled to over 48 countries, wow! #4 is terrifying (I'm a bit of a picky eater), and #7 is something I often suspected - people around here often seem so dissatisfied, despite all the stuff they have.
    Thank you so much for linking up!