“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
― Augustine of Hippo
During my three-month trip, here are the five lessons I was constantly reminded of.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
– Neale Donald Walsch
For my vacation, the only arrangements I made was booking my airfare ticket and the first two nights at a local hostel.
My primary goal was to have a spontaneous trip by asking other travelers for recommendations.
This allowed the opportunity to travel freely without restrictions.
For example, if I found a city I was particularly fond of, I have the option to extend my stay. This wouldn’t be likely if I had already preplanned all my accommodations in advance.
By exploring this way, I increased my probability of achieving my second objective – forcing myself to talk to others and make friends. Going by myself, I created more chances to meet new people. If I traveled with a friend, I wouldn’t feel the necessity to initiate conversation with others.
The curiosity of meeting interesting people was exciting since they tend to have fascinating stories to tell. And on my trip, I met countless people from all over the world which included the following countries:
We created lasting memories and have taken joyful and unforgettable pictures together. Because of their contribution, my journey was that much more meaningful and eventful.
Since they are now part of my network, I reach out to them regularly to further deepen our relationship.
Having complete trust in myself and abilities, I knew I can overcome any challenges which may arise. By willing to face uncomfortable situations, I experienced growth.
And reflecting back, my trip went better than I could have ever planned for.
Often times, life throws unexpected obstacles at us. They are there to strengthen our character.
Don’t run away from them. But rather confront those hurdles. Where there is the largest difficulty, face it head-on to gain the biggest development.
Through that process, you’ll evolve and transcend into a stronger man.
Keep an Open Mind
“When the student is ready the teacher will appear.”
To enjoy my trip to the fullest, I had to be willing to learn.
I followed my interest and adopted the beginner’s mindset.
Being in new countries, I wasn’t familiar with their culture and way of thinking. To adapt, I had to watch the locals carefully in how they live.
With that open perspective, I was able to take full advantage of my travels by doing the following:
Learning new customs
Eating delicious and exotic cuisines
Engaging in exciting and daring activities
Meeting locals and understanding their way of living and being
As a result, I gained new knowledge and experiences.
There were times when I knew a great deal on something. But with humility and eagerness to learn, I kept quiet and listened to others.
They may hold wisdom I’m not aware of.
This way, I create space in my internal cup to gather more information.
To grow, you must be willing to learn from all that’s around you. That’s because life is always teaching you.
Realize no one in this world knows everything. Leave room in your mind to adopt new mindsets and beliefs.
This line of thinking will accelerate your personal development.
You Are Never Alone
“What one man can do another man can do.”
– Charles Morse
Navigating my way around the complex cities in Southeast Asia, I learned to maintain perspective.
Even though I was traveling alone most of the time, I constantly reminded myself of how connected I really was.
Getting on the local bus, I instantly noticed other travelers.
Despite the language and cultural barrier, they were also able to communicate and get around.
Because of that commonality, we were able to bond effortlessly.
We naturally smiled at each other and introduced ourselves. There’s nothing awkward about the interaction at all.
However, in times of hardship, it’s easy to lose that insight and instead think I’m alone on the journey.
But whenever I encountered a new problem, I remind myself I’m not the first person to experience this.
Others have been in my exact situation before.
Despite their unique background and circumstances, they were able to overcome it.
This gives me hope and inspiration.
That’s because what one person can do, another can as well, and much more.
To have perspective means not falling into the victim mentality – blaming yourself, others, or the current situation. This allows you to take charge of your life and directly face your challenges.
Understand others have been in your shoes before and have conquered those same obstacles.
This doesn’t just apply to the valleys in life, but also the peaks.
Life is filled with both, giving you the grand opportunity to undergo the entire human experience spectrum.
Appreciate the Simple Things
“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it.”
– George Moore
During my trip, I had the opportunity to visit the countrysides.
Hiking through the mountains and seeing the endless fields of chili pepper, rice, and bamboo, I was amazed at how beautiful the small rural villages are.
They sparked my childhood memories of the simplistic lifestyle in southern China. Engaging with the locals brought back reminiscence of living with the bare necessities.
To western society, they would be considered “poor.” But to me, they were “rich” beyond their wildest dreams.
Despite having so little, they were completely content and satisfied. It also helps with the ignorance of technological advancements in the western world.
They utilized everything they needed to live a happy and fulfilled life.
Focusing on the essentials such as family and health, those villagers lived their definition of a meaningful life.
In terms of relationships, they take ownership and priority in taking care of those who are close and important to them.
As for food, they grew their own fruits and vegetables and raised animals such as cows, chickens, and pigs.
There’s no such thing as organic or processed food. To them, it’s just simply food.
By living in a community, they traded for goods with a barter system rather than with money.
And for exercise, there’s no need for a gym membership. Men and women partake in labor by working in the fields. They start at dawn with needed breaks throughout the day.
As a result, they are in great physical shape.
This type of lifestyles creates a sense of simplicity and urgency.
Their drive for work is survival.
And that is based on how efficient they perform independently of mother nature.
It all comes down to the level of resourcefulness they get.
They learn to rely on themselves and the support of their community.
Stop Holding Yourself Back
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
– Mark Twain
Before deciding to go on a long trip, I constrained myself with collateral thoughts. They included the following consequences:
Having a significant gap in between my career/business
Losing the consistent income
Not building the necessary skills to advance my professional development
Neglecting my existing customers
Not growing my venture
Spending time away from family and friends
But to mitigate some of those effects, I engaged in activities that allowed me to serve my clients despite my absence.
In addition, I practiced the essential skills (sales, marketing, leadership, etc.) which make me more valuable in the workforce.
Contrary to the possible repercussions, there are numerous benefits such as:
Having the freedom to pursue my deepest desires
Working on fun and exciting projects
Traveling to new and interesting places
Meeting people outside of my normal social circle
Learning more about myself – wants, dislikes, and beliefs
No matter where you are in life, realize this important fact:
You will never be as less responsible as you are right now.
As you progress in life, you’ll gain more obligations and tasks. Your expenses will most likely increase because of your lifestyle and codependents.
Don’t wait until you’re “retired” to do what you want. That time may never come.
And if it does, you probably won’t have the youth to engage in some of those activities. Or worse yet, you may lack the drive to execute those endeavors because you have postponed them for so long.
Instead, you can take mini-retirements in between your career and/or business to enjoy life now.
When we are too focused on our goals and ambitions, we can lose sight of our deepest desires.
We have the tendency to put off things we truly want to do.
It’s necessary to stay grounded and remind ourselves of the following:
“What’s most important to me in life?”
“Why did I start in the first place?”
“What am I working so hard for?”
Answering these questions will help you bring back awareness and focus on the essentials that will give you meaning and fulfillment.
Traveling may be the activity you need to discover your unique lessons.
You can start by visiting a nearby city you have not been to.
This will allow you to look at it with fresh eyes. Be a beginner again. Learn all that life is teaching you.
It’s great to achieve and strive for more. However, don’t get caught up in the daily grind and lose perspective on what living means to you.
Life is limited.
Today, you are the youngest you’ll ever be and the oldest you have ever been.
Take full advantage of the precious gift you call life.
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