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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.

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    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.

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      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.

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        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.

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          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.

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            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.

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              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.

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                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.

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                  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.

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                    10. Home Is Where You Are.

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

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                      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.

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                        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.

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                          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.

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                            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.

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                              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.

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                                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.

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                                  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.

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                                    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.

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                                      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.

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                                        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.

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                                          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.

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                                            22. Kill Them With Kindness.

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

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                                              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.

                                               
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                                                24. Spontaneity Becomes A Way Of Living.

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

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                                                  25. Alone Isn’t The Answer.

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

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                                                    26. Live For Random Acts Of Kindness.

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

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                                                      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.

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                                                        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.

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                                                          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.

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                                                            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.

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                                                              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.

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                                                                Sean Kim

                                                                Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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                                                                Last Updated on July 3, 2020

                                                                30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

                                                                30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

                                                                In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

                                                                1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

                                                                Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

                                                                2. Focus on your breath

                                                                Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

                                                                3. Get organized and purge old items

                                                                A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

                                                                4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

                                                                Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

                                                                5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

                                                                Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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                                                                6. Smile more

                                                                Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

                                                                7. Don’t worry about the future

                                                                As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

                                                                8. Eat real food

                                                                The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

                                                                9. Choose being happy over being right

                                                                Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

                                                                10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

                                                                Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

                                                                11. Make use of filtering features on social media

                                                                You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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                                                                12. Get comfortable with silence

                                                                When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

                                                                13. Listen to understand, not to respond

                                                                So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

                                                                14. Put your troubles in a bubble

                                                                Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

                                                                15. Speak more slowly

                                                                Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

                                                                16. Don’t procrastinate

                                                                Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

                                                                17. Buy a coloring book

                                                                Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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                                                                18. Prioritize yourself

                                                                You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

                                                                19. Forgive others

                                                                Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

                                                                20. Check your expectations

                                                                Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

                                                                21. Engage in active play

                                                                Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

                                                                22. Stop criticizing yourself

                                                                The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

                                                                23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

                                                                Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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                                                                24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

                                                                Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

                                                                25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

                                                                Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

                                                                26. Manage your money

                                                                Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

                                                                27. Stop trying to control everything

                                                                Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

                                                                28. Practice affirmations

                                                                Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

                                                                29. Get up before sunrise

                                                                Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

                                                                30. Be yourself

                                                                Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

                                                                Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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