… the ones we learned the hard way.
Travel can be a great teacher. We learn so much about each other, other cultures and experiences, but we can also get an education about ourselves along the way. In our travels across the globe, these are a few things we picked up along the way and wish we’d learned sooner.
Leave what’s heavy behind.
We’re not talking about luggage here, though that’s good advice. You know all that stuff you worry about when you’re at home? Your best friend’s weirdo boyfriend, that embarrassing moment from 9th grade you can’t seem to forget, whether you should change jobs — leave all the heavy stuff at home. Travel is, quite literally, escapism. Don’t bring your (mental) baggage with you.
Have no fear.
It’s rare that a person looks back on their life and says, “I wish I hadn’t jumped off that waterfall in Costa Rica.” More often, you’ll find regrets revolve around the opportunities that we let pass us by. Experiencing the extraordinary is the essence of travel. So if something scares the bejeezus out of you — it’s a good sign you should probably do it.
It’s so easy to come to new experiences with expectations. So often, we come prepared with a checklist of things we want to see or do along the way. But if we’re so focused on checking off our list, we can miss out on some amazing things. Listen to the locals, talk to your concierge, get their advice. And when a local invites you for a drink or to show you a favorite lookout spot — go! (But bring a friend — don’t be dumb about your safety.)
Our vacations can be so short-lived and infrequent that we sometimes get wrapped up in trying to squeeze everything into our itineraries or documenting every moment on social media — lest we forget. Being in the moment allows you to create a sense of calm in an otherwise fast-moving world. Focusing on the here and the now forces you to let go of the pain of past and the anxiety of the unknown tomorrow. Soak in your surroundings and you’ll create richer more meaningful memories.
Let it go.
The transient nature of travel can leave you feeling as though you’re grasping at grains of sand as they slip through your fingers. As you encounter people, places and moments you find they can flow out your life as quickly as they arrived. Fleeting sunsets remind us not to lament loss but to enjoy things for what they are — even if they only last a moment.
No one cares.
We’ve met some amazingly caring people who have helped us along our respective journeys. But we’ve come to know, the things we think people care about really don’t matter. Do I look like a tourist? Did anyone see me stumble over that curb? Is this outfit fashionable enough? No one gives a sh*t. So dance like no one’s looking — they aren’t.
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This piece was originally published August 2016