Advertising
Advertising

31 Lessons I Learned Travelling The World Alone

31 Lessons I Learned Travelling The World Alone
Over the past 18 months, I’ve travelled around the world to different cities and countries, including Paris, France; Munich, Germany; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Cusco, Peru; Medellin, Colombia; NYC, USA; and more.

All of these trips have been with me, myself, and I.

People talk about how great travelling alone is and why you need to try it. So, I finally mustered up the courage and set out to venture on my own.

Let me be upfront by telling you that travelling alone is not for everyone. For those brave enough to take on the challenge, the lessons learnt can be life changing. They were for me so far, and the journey has only just begun.

Here are 31 lessons you will learn while travelling alone.

1. You Hate Being Alone.

You step out of that airport and can’t help but feel nervous, lonely, and doubtful. This is how everyone feels at the beginning of their adventure — and only at the beginning.

0-UfUCYB6wro49Ajzm

    2. You Love Being Alone.

    Being alone becomes a way of living and you have complete freedom to do what you want, when you want.

    0-oLUeDm6FeAdeJN6u

      3. Experiences > Materials.

      The transition from living with a car, a home, and your own TV to a backpack makes you realize how much your possessions owned you. Experiences are life-lasting. Materials give you nothing but a bill.

      0-PvdRtqDHsN9XSYIl

        4. Quality Beats Quantity.

        We live in a quantified world where the higher the number, the more it’s attributed to success — followers, bank accounts, houses. For some, this also applies to the number of places visited. However, it’s far better to spend 3 months in a city learning its culture, language, and creating lasting relationships than trying to hit 10 cities in 3 months.

        0-nddgzZcD-9h4U7tv

          5. Learn A New Language.

          It’s only when you travel to a foreign country that you realize how big the world truly is and how much of a bubble you’ve been living in.

          For example, if English is the only language you can understand, you’re only able to communicate with 12% of the world. The best way to understand the rest of the world and the amazing cultures out there is to learn a new language. Just by learning a popular language like Spanish or Mandarin, your reach and understanding of the world doubles.

          In the Internet era we live in today, there’s no excuse not to know another language. Take advantage of websites like Rype that provide unlimited one-on-one Spanish lessons online with a private teacher, anytime, anywhere.

          We’re entering a Multilingual era, and it’s up to you to take advantage of it.

          1-BDdV-OyKTCT8XinaNgx6bw

            6. You Learn To Love Yourself.

            Travelling alone gets lonely — there’s no doubt about it. Facing your inner thoughts and being comfortable and happy with who you are as a person will be one of the most valuable lessons you’ll learn.

            0-E4hw8SJkcKnM7Abq

              7. You Stop Caring What Others Think About You

              There’s a big difference between outer confidence and inner confidence. Outer confidence can be faked and is hard to sustain. Inner confidence is being 100% comfortable in your own skin. Stop caring what other people think and have the confidence to do what you want, when you want.

              1-4QwS8u_cfgaGLzNfVbMW1A

                8. Own Up To Your Success And Mistakes.

                When you’re travelling alone, there’s no one else that is there to help you make a decision. However that decision turns out, you need to own up to it.

                0-QFS-MIfzYUs81DO4

                  9. Trust Your Intuition.

                  Every day, you’re making small and big decisions. There will never be enough information to make the perfect decision, and the ability to trust your intuition is the key to survival.

                  0-9_KvtKJydEvU5kFA

                    10. Home Is Where You Are.

                    Home starts to follow you wherever you go, with everything you own on your back.

                    0-78zBioXkQH2e7N3V

                      11. Blend Into The City.

                      If you’ve come all this way to visit a city, then be in it 100%. Speak the language, hang out with the locals, eat the food. Don’t be that person who clings to other foreigners.

                      1-b3p_sb5GyhSbqWVqp9y1Zg

                        12. What’s Important In Your Life.

                        You hear the most fascinating life stories from people you meet. From rags to riches, near-death experiences, parents with cancer, the list goes on.

                        0-FK4zoDTrFBfDN5Fe

                          13. Who’s Important In Your Life.

                          Being away for a period of time across the world makes you realize who the important people are in your life. We’re “burdened” by proximity throughout our lives, which makes it easy to develop artificial relationships solely from frequent interactions. Your real relationships are put to the test.

                          0-kSgFO09DaDgZ5LIw

                            14. Don’t Allow Your Phone To Bring You Back.

                            There’s something magical about travelling and being in a completely different city. You become more open-minded, your mindset shifts, and you can create the most meaningful relationships. Don’t allow your phone to take that away from you. Put it away.

                            0-z_k_i42zORtq5pLW

                              15. Be Weird.

                              Life is way too short to live in the confined limits of how society expects you to act in public. Embrace your natural weird side, because each of us has it. Take the risk.

                              0-c8N8-dimOx_GGiZz

                                16. Don’t Delay Your Happiness.

                                There’s a difference between fulfillment and happiness. Fulfillment may be a life-long investment to master and earn, but you can choose to be happy here and now. Smile.

                                1-51EB6GdQENeqTJ82K7jD2A

                                  17. There’s So Much To Learn.

                                  There’s so much we don’t know about the world and the people that live here  —  culture, food, language. The list goes on. The truth is that most of us have been confined by the same part of the world, with the same mindset, for all our lives.

                                  As the saying goes, the more you know, the less you know.

                                  1-_9SDjff_XSe6Kl_LSJrsKg

                                    18. Execution Beats All.

                                    You can talk all day about doing something, but without taking any action, it’s just talk. There are people in the world working 10x harder than we are at our normal jobs and getting paid 1/100th of our normal pay. Most of us don’t know what hard work means.

                                    0-dLAYIJQZIGt4JP5e

                                      19. There’s No Such Thing As A Stranger.

                                      There’s something about meeting with a fellow traveller that immediately connects you with them. If anyone has stayed at an hostel, then you can relate to this.

                                      1-7FUFkHEYQOq6hERrJdd7_g

                                        20. Vulnerability Is Sexy.

                                        This took me a while to realize, but vulnerability is the sexiest thing a human being can show. Last week, I had a 3-hour non-stop conversation on my flight to Colombia, and the conversation got so intense she ended up tearing up. It was one of the most real moments I’ve experienced in a long time.

                                        It takes a next level of confidence to put yourself on the line for rejection or failure. Embrace humility.

                                        1-LP1wfJgtYngDpkfzW453rQ

                                          21. See People For Who They Are.

                                          One of my favorite things about travelling is how people’s normal societal layers are uncovered physically and mentally. Everyone is dressed similarly, without the mask of a three-piece suit, and you’re judged solely on who you are as a person  —  nothing else.

                                          0-9XybR8XCBEv-tZxe

                                            22. Kill Them With Kindness.

                                            It’s easier to react with frustration than respond with kindness. Choose the latter, you won’t regret it.

                                            0-M48KyR1yYX9NMoTY

                                              23. Bring Books.

                                              Enhancing your already-open mind with books will do wonders for your creativity. With the amount of layovers, flights, transportation, and unwinding time you’ll have , you can easily read 1 book a week. Check out our top 10 books to read recommended by Barack Obama and Steve Jobs.

                                               
                                              0-9kSd8NRYdqBZ-L4k

                                                24. Spontaneity Becomes A Way Of Living.

                                                Unexpected moments will arise during your travels, and your spontaneity muscles will grow.

                                                0--7NLztQUszaS1cfa

                                                  25. Alone Isn’t The Answer.

                                                  If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

                                                  0-7Br1-PU6OsB8QwWR

                                                    26. Live For Random Acts Of Kindness.

                                                    It’s the easiest, yet most powerful way to make the world smile.

                                                    0-ZHq0PYwH0ey0aAaO

                                                      27. You Cringe At #Firstworldproblems.

                                                      It’s hard to empathize with people complaining about losing their restaurant reservations or getting a middle seat on a plane when you meet people who are making less than $5/day while supporting their families.

                                                      0--DZ7VrYv3jbIz35c

                                                        28. Invest In Yourself.

                                                        Travelling alone is one of the few times in your life where your number one goal is to take care of yourself. Be OK with that because you won’t get this moment back.

                                                        1-awWPGkLJWMEYhS0KjB2h8Q

                                                          29. Have A Purpose.

                                                          Have a purpose bigger than yourself and your personal goals in life. It’s purpose that empowers us to get through the grind and the obstacles that come our way. The realization that you’re not doing this for yourself, that there are others counting on you, will drive you.

                                                          0-aMqiIVBeobR3Szgu

                                                            30. Stand For Something, Or Stand For Nothing.

                                                            Be bold enough to stand up for what you believe in, but have the humility to know that you don’t have all the answers.

                                                            0-uR7ovahcFZ0kr52W

                                                              31. We’re All Human.

                                                              The irony of travelling is that we set out to explore different cultures, different foods, different people, yet what we come back to realize is that we’re all just the same.

                                                              Poor, rich, famous, Asian, Black, White, Latino  —  we’re all playing the same game of life. At the end of the day, we all want love, validation, respect, and security for our future.

                                                              1-WH7_l25ZJkIBObdirrMcDQ

                                                                More by this author

                                                                8 Life-Changing Skills You Can Learn in Less Than 6 Months 10 Websites To Learn Something New In 30 Minutes A Day 17 Free Websites That Will Improve the Quality of Your Life Today You Don’t Need Extremely High IQ to Be Successful, You Need Self-Control 5 Essential Activities That Will Make Your Brain Healthier

                                                                Trending in 20-Something

                                                                1 One Solid Practice for Tackling Low Self-Esteem 2 If You Want To Get Help From Others Easily, Remember To Avoid This Mistake 3 7 Tools to Optimize Your Next Long-Term Traveling Experience 4 What GoT Would Be Like if the Characters Used Social Media 5 How To Go Through College And Stay Sane

                                                                Read Next

                                                                Advertising
                                                                Advertising
                                                                Advertising

                                                                Last Updated on March 14, 2019

                                                                7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

                                                                7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

                                                                Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

                                                                For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

                                                                Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

                                                                1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

                                                                A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

                                                                It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

                                                                It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

                                                                How it helps you:

                                                                If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

                                                                Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

                                                                2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

                                                                Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

                                                                Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

                                                                Advertising

                                                                How it helps you:

                                                                Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

                                                                Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

                                                                If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

                                                                Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

                                                                3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

                                                                Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

                                                                Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

                                                                How it helps you:

                                                                This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

                                                                For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

                                                                Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

                                                                Advertising

                                                                A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

                                                                4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

                                                                To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

                                                                A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

                                                                How it helps you:

                                                                One word: hierarchy.

                                                                All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

                                                                In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

                                                                If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

                                                                5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

                                                                Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

                                                                Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

                                                                How it helps you:

                                                                Advertising

                                                                Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

                                                                If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

                                                                This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

                                                                6. What do you like about working here?

                                                                This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

                                                                Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

                                                                How it helps you:

                                                                You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

                                                                Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

                                                                Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

                                                                7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

                                                                What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

                                                                As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

                                                                Advertising

                                                                How it helps you:

                                                                What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

                                                                First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

                                                                Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

                                                                Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

                                                                Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

                                                                Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

                                                                Making Your Interview Work for You

                                                                Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

                                                                Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

                                                                More Resources About Job Interviews

                                                                Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

                                                                Read Next