I’ve been very fortunate to have traveled a lot the last six years and recently, I stepped foot in my 50th country.
It’s been an interesting and entertaining journey that I’ve shared with people from all over the world (both online and in person). There have been more highs than lows (thankfully!) and to celebrate this little achievement, I’ve summarized more than three years of travel into 50 things I’ve learned travelling to 50 countries.
1. I’ve learned to purposely make choices that truly make me happy.
2. Things don’t always work out how I’d like, but those are often the best stories.
3. I’ve learned Spanish (enough to get by at least).
4. There are so many incredible people to fall in love with around the world.
5. Long airplane flights are the best places to catch up on work, catch up on sleep or catch up on movies.
6. You can get sick anywhere in the world, not just in developing countries.
7. People are the same all over the world. Everyone wants to be happy, have good health, and to love and be loved.
8. There are more good people in this world than there are bad people. And more than likely they’ll be willing to help when it’s needed.
9. You don’t need to speak the same language to communicate.
10. I’ve learned to try everything.
11. There’s nothing wrong with being a tourist – it’s still learning and experiencing something new. But it’s also important to be open to other experiences off the ‘tourist trail’ as well.
12. Saying yes to every opportunity guarantees a learning experience or a great story to tell.
13. Regardless of what society (and clever marketing) says, happiness isn’t always found in material goods. Experiences, however, are worth every penny in terms of happiness.
14. Often it’s the people who have very little that are the most generous.
15. Travel has taught me so much about myself and what I am capable of.
16. Street food is often the tastiest as well as the cheapest.
17. It’s okay to be scared and nervous when trying something new – travelling is the perfect excuse to try it for the first time.
18. Even though I usually travel solo, I am rarely alone. Traveling solo has allowed me to meet and learn from the most interesting individuals around the world.
19. The sun really is stronger in New Zealand
20. I never need as many clothes as I pack. I usually cycle through the same few outfits because they’re the comfiest.
21. Planning ahead on short term trips really is less stressful.
22. Not planning too much ahead on long term trips is the best way to travel. Spontaneous decisions always are the happiest.
23. Home really is where the heart is so it’s okay to leave it in different places around the world.
24. Hang on to luggage tags.
25. Big Macs really do taste the same everywhere in the world.
26. It’s good to do things you don’t always want to do.
27. Leaving is never easy.
28. Carry bandaids.
29. Always take a sweater on buses, planes or trains.
30. Don’t believe the media reports about a place – instead, go there to experience it firsthand.
31. When arriving into a new country, pick up water and some snacks to carry as site-seeing will always take longer than expected.
32. Paper maps are always better than digital.
33. I’ve been humbled at how I learn multiple new things every day – whether it’s about a different culture or how to use a city’s public transportation
34. Technology will always break. So back it up. Then back it up again.
35. I’ve learned that I really love nature and the outdoors.
36. Everyone throughout history is just like we are today.
37. The unknown is always scary.
38. It’s okay to cry in train stations, bus stations and airports.
39. I’ve learned that I’m a serial overpacker.
40. Road trips with a good friend are one of my favourite ways to travel.
41. Make friends with people of all ages – older, younger, the same age – they all have something unique to contribute.
42. A little bit of tourism is a good thing but too much changes the people and the culture of the area and consequently, part of what made the place so special in the first place.
43. It’s not about the places you see or the things you do, it’s about who you share those moments with.
44. Opportunities are created.
45. I’ve learned to go with the flow and shrug things off.
46. I’ve learned to always trust my gut instinct.
47. Visa can get you a card anywhere in the world in a reasonable amount of time.
48. I’ve learned what my comfort zone is and that it’s always hard to step outside it. But it’s also always worth it.
49. I’ve learned to always double check behind myself when I stand up and leave where I was sitting (especially in cabs).
50. If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel
51. That the world offers so much to see, do and experience. And every experience makes you a better person.