Adapted from an article: Twenty things I’ve learned from traveling. My comments are in italics.
1. The trip from hell makes an interesting story.
Travel has taught me that when things go wrong, don’t panic — just remember the details. The worse things become, the better the story. Also, things seem more traumatic when they’re happening, but as time passes, things may not have been as bad as they seemed. I may even be able to laugh about the incident. The same holds true for life: time always passes and changes perspective. In Africa, Mike and I encountered the family from hell. They appeared to be a very short French couple, with two very short children. But the worst part, besides traveling on a similar itinerary, was their constant and irritating overly nasal French bickering and barking!!!
2. The world is small.
You can get on a plane this afternoon and wake up in Rio. I still do not think the world is small. And the jury is out on whether globalization is a good thing for Third and Fourth World countries.
3. The world is large.
There are just too many places to see in a lifetime. I am particular about where I go. My motto is “just go”, because it beats going to Vegas once a year!
4. I’m grateful for what I have.
Traveling has taught me, among other lessons, that I am fortunate. I have a comfortable place to live, the natural beauty of lakes and mountains surrounding me, and the slower pace of small town life (but with great air service). No matter where I go in this world, it is a joy to come home. By traveling, I can appreciate it so much more than if I had never left. Funny, I did not need to travel to find out I am grateful for my parents, my childhood, my education, my family, and my friends.
5. You can’t trust everyone.
Growing up in a small town, our homes were left unlocked. The car keys were always left in the ignition and neighbors offered to help each other. It never occurred to me then that people could be untrustworthy. While I still believe that people are good by default, I’ve learned that there are people struggling to survive in the world and they will do so at your expense. For this reason, I’m fairly cautious when I travel. However, I do think seasoned travelers are quite trustworthy, give good advice, and make for interesting conversation and future friendships.
6. I enjoy traveling alone, but travel is better with friends.
I am very particular who I travel with. My friend Mike has been the best friend and travel mate over several decades now. Some trips are better alone, like the trek across Siberia on the Trans Siberian Railway. It makes the adventure more interesting when you enlist the help and conversation of others.
7. If you want to travel badly enough, you can make it happen.
You still need both time and money in most cases. When you are younger, you are raising a family. When you are older, you become more particular about where to spend your time and money. Hopefully, you can find a balance that fits you. Don’t fall for the scams that “pay” you to travel! Another lesson, that when you are working and earning a salary, travel seems almost limitless. Once you are retired, you do think twice about big travel plans!
8. There are good airplane meals, comfortable long-haul flights and friendly flight attendants.
This is indeed, rare. I can count the good meals on one hand. As for flight attendants, do you ever notice, other than Southworst, how old the “flying mamas” really are? But some can be nice, keep your champagne glass full, and tell some really good stories.
9. Family and friends are important and no matter how much I love traveling, I need to make time for the people in my life who matter most.
I believe this has a way of finding its own equilibrium. When I traveled on business, wearing a suit all the time, it became tedious. Wearing sneakers and Bermuda shorts on a flight from Kathmandu to Penang is an entirely different experience. I have gone out of my way to visit the friends that I make while traveling. But home and family are always best.
10. Travel pushes me beyond everyday boundaries.
I will push myself when I’m traveling. When I’m at home, I may find a reason not to ride my bicycle because I have laundry, an appointment or work to accomplish. But when I’m traveling, I might walk a dozen miles in one day. I may climb a mountain, snorkel or try a new exotic food.
11. People throughout the world are more alike than they are different.
I struggle with this concept. Every time I think we are alike, something bad happens, like a terrorist attack, or mass shooting at a college. You cannot convince me that I am just like them!
12. The more I travel, the more I want to travel.
I felt this way when I was younger. Now that I have done most of my long distance and adventurous travel, I am more selective.
13. Not everything always goes as planned, but travel teaches me to remember to relax because the alternative may have a better outcome.
This is another 50-50 proposition. It may be better or it may be worse! Believe me, it was not a good feeling when I learned my Father had passed away while I was on a 6 to 12 month trip to Europe. I was only 24 years old at the time.
14. I don’t function well in excessive heat and humidity.
Certainly, us Californians do not. But Midwesterners and east coasters are fully accustomed to the two H’s. And do you ever notice the beautiful complexions of the women who live in the two H’s?
15. I can get by with less.
I don’t need souvenirs, but it is OK to buy something functional when traveling, like a cap or batteries. I can also travel with less. I can go away for an entire week with a small carryon. It’s also acceptable to wear the same clothes two days in a row. But please change your underwear and socks!
16. People who enjoy traveling are passionate and love to talk about their journeys.
I believe that travel makes you more interesting than you would be if you didn’t travel. It’s a joy to meet with others who enjoy traveling and hear about their trips. It’s also exciting to learn how they make it happen with little money. Just having traveled offers membership in this exclusive club.
17. Travel has taught me to anticipate wondrous things, but also to embrace the actual magic of the moment regardless of how it measures up to my expectations.
Much like a fisherman or a golfer, the story or the experience gets better with time. But with some famous places, like Machu Picchu, or Stonehenge, the magic has yet to happen!
18. There is something interesting at every destination. An exception to this is Dublin. You have to drink to find something interesting about Dublin.
Actually, this is true for many places and cities. Costa Rica comes to mind.
19. Travel has taught me the limits of my comfort zone, exposed my weaknesses, and let my strengths occasionally shine through.
This kind of overstates the meaning of travel. It is not rocket science. Just go and enjoy yourself, not every trip is great, nor is every tourist site or famous landmark.
20. I would spend my last dollars/miles/points on a plane ticket.
Well, what happened to sex, drugs, rock and roll? Yes, as far as miles and points. No, when it comes to money. I would rather help somebody less fortunate, if I can.
The United States passport allows us to enter 147 countries without a visa. That is tied with England for the best in the world. I guess the real issue today, is who can enter the U.S.