There are many things that allow people to travel: passion, privilege, education, time. I was fortunate to have had all of those things throughout the latter part of my life so far. Many of us have had the same opportunities and I’m sure similar experiences. To remind everyone why the world is such a beautiful place and why we should be thankful to have had those experiences, I have made this compilation of 15 defining realizations from my trips abroad that have shaped me as a person.
1. If you’re from the states or a fairly newer country, you travel to a different country and experience the incredible awe of roaming the halls of a castle that is centuries old. And it makes you appreciate history.
2. You realize how important communication is and how any interaction can change your opinion of someone or some place.
3. Being comfortable isn’t really that important. Once you realize that so many things change for the better.
4. Colors are different. The color of the green cliffs of Ireland is worlds away from the green of the finely kept grass you see on a U.S. golf course.
5. Hotels are overrated and you experience more when you stay with the locals.
6. Food is not just food. Please, do I even have to explain that?
7. Sitting awake for 10 hours straight on a red-eye, next to the other sleeping passengers will make you question your sanity, but if you can conquer that then anything is possible.
8. When someone speaks to you like you are a part of their culture and are “one of them” you have reached the peak of your trip.
10. Journaling is a burden at the time, and lifesaving afterwards.
11. Going to the grocery store is a chore in the U.S. but in most places around the world it’s a cultural experience.
12. When you become an expert on the local transportation, you CAN do anything.
13. You might not understand a place’s cultural values but experiencing them makes you that much more aware of who you are.
14. Postcards are cheap and are way better pictures than you can take with your phone but pictures you take communicate your experiences and emotions. Keep both.
15. There hasn’t been a day that goes by where I don’t think about the places I’ve been, and the places I dream about going to. This has pushed me to work hard, be more aware, and develop goals important to me. My travel experience is one of the things in my life I cherish the most.