1. Distance defines who is worth keeping and who is worth letting go
We’ve all been there. We moved away from home for university or embarked on a gap year, only to return home and realise that nothing has really changed. Some of your life long school friends are occupied with the material pursuit and you begin to realise that you just don’t have as much in common as you used to. Some of them may even be a little bitter towards your decision to ‘leave them behind.’ Then there’s the besties – those friends that travelled to a country on the complete opposite side of the world as you, the friends that tagged along for the ride, the friends you met along the way, or the damn right awesome ‘stay at home’ besties that cannot wait to hear your stories and love you for your gypsy self. Time bares no constraint on your relationship.
In the end? You realise that it’s OK to grow apart from people and as time is of the essence – to love those that love you back.
2. How to take things with a grain of salt
Life on the road is faster than the normal 9 to 5. Within a 24 hour window you may find yourself visiting more than one country, hearing 5 different languages, meeting 20 new people (each from a different country) and finding yourself ticking off 3 bucket list items quicker than it would take you to respond to a Facebook message. You become so busy and engulfed by everything amazing happening around you that you become oblivious to the little things that used to bug you – a need for better clothes, an Iphone upgrade and the meaningless bickering sessions at work.
The result? You learn to not worry too much about the little things that have no meaning in your life.
3. Although we each have our differences, we’ve all got something positive to give
Travel opens you to an entire world of individuals. Different cultures. Different languages. Different religions. You used to be a little sceptical of the unknown and would never bother spending time with people that annoyed you. But as you find yourself in the middle of Delhi – scared and alone – you have no choice. You approach the travelling couple in the bar and make conversation. At first, you find them a little overbearing, but then you realise that you would MUCH rather spend time with your new friends than alone!
What happens next? Naturally you begin to open up to different types of people, overlook the things that annoy you and appreciate the positive effect they have on your backpacking adventure.
4. Technology is not the answer to everything
Parting from the ‘real world’ will usually result in a little detox from the internet. At first, you feel lost. Your google maps is not working and you cannot remember how to get back to the hostel. You approach a fellow traveller who has absolutely no idea! So you decide to ask the local shop owner on the corner of the street. She has a map! A Map? Gee whiz! You haven’t seen one of these old things since you were learning to how to spell. The friendly shop owner tells you which way is North – this is the way you need to go. Ok… you’ve got this! She lends you the map. You make your way ‘north’ and… prepare to be mind blown… you approach a street. You look at the name of the street on the sign. You look back down at the map. The names match! It’s a miracle!
Lesson learnt? You learn that the human brain is VERY powerful and that common sense and intuition can replace Google maps.
5. You are responsible for your own life
Travel is liberating. It makes us feel free, strong, confident and indestructible. We learn what we really want to achieve in life. We realise that to make our life count – we must WORK. Not for the dollar. Not for the man. Not for anyone but ourselves (and maybe our future family). We realise that happiness is found through overcoming challenges, achieving a goal we set for ourselves and excelling in that ‘thing’ that makes you YOU.
And then? We return from our journey motivated, in tune with ourselves and ready to take on the world!