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19 Things Nothing Else But Travelling Alone Can Teach You

19 Things Nothing Else But Travelling Alone Can Teach You

I had this longing to get away from everything and everyone for a while. I had been suffering with an illness for about four years and after continuous negative news from doctors, exhaustion got the better of me. So, I quit my job, bought a one way ticket to the other side of Australia and went travelling for six months with no plan what so ever.

Here are 19 jewels of wisdom I learnt travelling alone and now apply to my everyday life back home in Perth:

1. Depending purely on yourself 

Sometimes we don’t realise how much people can influence us in our every day life, whether it’s our family, friends, partner, collogues or social surroundings. I had been putting too much emphasis on other people’s opinions of what I should do, over listening to my own voice. Travelling on my own was the first time I can really say I truly depended on myself more then ever without feeling bad about it or having to explain myself.

2. Learning a new culture

We can become so accustom to our surroundings, home and society that we operate subconsciously without thinking about whether it’s helping us grow or not. Embracing other cultures and ways of living can broaden our lifestyle views. On the contrary, I grew a deep appreciation for what I had back home like being able to visit my family any time I wanted.

3. Making new friends outside your circle

I became one of those tourists who made sure I let shopkeepers know I wasn’t a local. Not that they asked or anything. Amazing how quickly you can make friends that way by just talking about yourself. Awkward. I was nervous checking out new places with someone I didn’t know. There is nothing like hanging out with that friend (back home) who you can be 100% percent yourself around, however it was exciting to do something I hadn’t done before. I was shown amazing sites, forests, hidden away caves and made memories for a lifetime.

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4. Freedom

The freedom was the best part of travelling alone, doing what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted. Whether we are travelling or not this is the ultimate feeling. However, once back home, our daily demands, responsibilities and the people in our lives can be the cause of freedom being a mere fantasy. The feeling of freedom when you are travelling or on holiday, I believe is something you can feel in everyday life. And it’s because of this experience that I pushed towards that belief and implemented it into my daily attitude giving myself more time to do the things I love doing. I feel I am actually living MY life now.

5. Hearing your inner voice

Being alone most of the time, you can hear your thoughts a lot more! Even though I did spend time listening to my thoughts back home, being completely alone for a while heightened them. I was able to listen a lot more and see aspects of myself that I had ignored or not even noticed. It definitely sharpened the importance of digging deeper into myself and really focusing on my inner thoughts, habits and reactions to life.

6. Re-inventing yourself or truly being yourself

No one knows you, so it’s a great opportunity to try that style you think about but haven’t had the courage to try! Or is that just something I daydreamed about? I had been in the corporate world for many years but secretly I wished I could embrace the beach hippie in me at times. Oh and I finally did. I went to the beach almost everyday, left the salty water in my hair for days, wore comfy clothes and my jingle bell anklet. I absolutely enjoyed not having to worry about how I looked for anyone or anything. It certainly made me realise how much effort I put in for people and work, a habit of which I have now definitely broken.

7. Going without make-up

For those who wear make-up everyday, this is such a great opportunity to let your skin breath. I took advantage of letting go of my ‘need’ for make-up as I wore it everyday for work for years and it became second nature. At first it was a vulnerable feeling wearing no make-up to places that I would usually wear it, but after some time I felt liberated and my need for it daily is no longer. I wear it when I want, not because I have too. And do you know how much more time you have on your hands when you don’t have to put on another face? Time gained equals more adventures.

8. Break from Facebook

I took one month off Facebook completely closing my account on my travels. Rather then upload all my adventures and check in everywhere, I wrote about it in my journal. Spending time in nature without the use of Facebook or my phone on many occasions, became a clear indication of how much I was using it mindlessly and missing out on what’s going on around me. It was liberating to disconnect for a while and be content with the moment, with the view and with my own thoughts. The mind needs to be free at times to be creative, to think clearly and to refresh.

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9. Doing all the things you have been putting off

There is more time on your hands to do some of the things you put aside due to restrictions and responsibilities at home. Depending on your interests and hobbies, this can be a great way to throw yourself into your passions using inspiration from your travels. I spent so much time reading and writing which actually assisted in my pursuing of it now.

10. Reassessing your life

I wanted to study for years and also write, but due to focusing on Real Estate, I kept postponing it. Whilst being I was away I made the decision to go after my dreams and stop waiting for the perfect moment. Re-assessing my life helped me let go of what did not serve purpose in my life anymore and having the courage to pursue what I believed did.

11. Experience and memories only you know about

We love sharing memories and experiences with others, but lets face it when we share our stories of travelling with most people they are hardly interested. Doing things that only you know about is actually a wild feeling. It’s like a friendship between you and yourself that no one understands, experiences only you feel. Keeping them close to your heart is sometimes better then sharing. I definitely built a better relationship with myself and smile at all the wonderful things I have done, on my own.

12. Trusting yourself to think and decide for yourself

I was always someone who gained advise from others who I trusted and whilst their advise wasn’t ‘wrong’, it was my need for it that kept me away from doing what was in my heart to do. I didn’t trust myself enough to follow through with ideas that I had, also leaning on my career as an excuse many times. Until I went travelling alone, I wasn’t aware of how much I relied on others rather then myself. Trusting my inner intuitions and what I think is best for me has assisted in my health, physically and mentally. The unknown doesn’t seem so scary now. Sometimes we want people to advise us because we are too fearful of taking a step out on our own, but what if what they are saying is the reason you prevent yourself from living your dreams?

13. Overcoming the fear of being alone

Doing everything by yourself for a period of time shows you how much you really can be happy, content and safe in your own company when you want to be. It breaks the tendency to just ‘hang’ with people due to not wanting to be alone. I will admit, there were periods of time where it felt awful on Saturday nights with no one but myself, however, I got through just fine and I became more engaged in my writing, reading and music. Sometimes over socialising is a distraction from doing what we really need to do on our own; self-development.

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14. Patience

From observation, in today’s world patience is a characteristic in the human being that is being very quickly replaced with the need for everything now. Whether it is success, the ‘perfect’ body, money, overcoming battles, relationships, there is urgency in our social surroundings to scrap patience and rush through life. I wasn’t working and I didn’t know what the next day would bring or whether I would have enough money to keep travelling. As I committed myself to being open to whatever happens is meant to be, patience grew. I was able to grasp the importance of patience and put it to practice.

15. People back home

Being apart from loved ones is difficult but it is also a great way to strengthen the bonds you have. It was also an eye opener to how much I gave myself to some people who took our friendship for granted. When it comes to friendships quality over quantity is best and the time away really set that in stone. I came back uninterested in friendships that were filled with neediness, control and drama. My time is precious and I finally took the courage in setting barriers against the life suckers. Amazing how time away alone can really open your eyes to unhealthy friendships that were right under your nose for a long time.

16. Gratitude

The amount of gratitude I experienced came on many levels. I really appreciated the opportunity to be able to travel as well as what I already had back home. I met a woman on my travels that really placed emphasis on the importance of taking the time to be thankful for things in your life daily and how you will receive more by doing so. Taking it on board straight away, I started voicing my thank you to life and looking for things to be thankful for. A deep appreciation for what I have each day, the people I meet and the challenges that come my way has opened my heart to the blessings that are existent every single day.

17. Time to re-focus on your health

As we are always growing and changing, so do our bodies. Different circumstance in our life may bring about better or worse health. For many years I suffered with an ongoing illness, doctors and specialists had no answers for me and I grew exhausted from the never ending bad news. I was leading a healthy life but something was missing. Part of the reason I decided to travel alone was to explore other avenues of gaining health after researching stories of people who had made amazing comebacks after serious illnesses. I spent majority of my time focusing on my health, relaxing, distressing, researching, trying out new foods, meeting people in the health industry and again being open to other ways. It was a big wake up call to stretch myself and knowledge in nutrition and the viscous poison of stress! Let’s just say I don’t suffer with illness anymore.

18. Not caring what anyone thinks

As I walking down to the beach one particular day, in short shorts and my pale white skin I felt insecurity setting in as I compared myself to the beach babes that were like…everywhere! Thankfully a wonderful and very true thought struck me, why do I care about what others think of me? And how do I even know if people think about me? I mean, conceited much? It was in that moment I made a choice to push aside those limiting thoughts and be proud of who I am, even if I have cellulite wobbling around. Beaching it on the Gold Coast daily, with that new insight made it so much more enjoyable.

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19. Going with the flow

I seriously got a really big dose of what it feels like to go with the flow. Every time I feel fear or stress creeping in, I think back to this adventure. It has become a reference point and reminder of how letting go and being open to whatever happens, can do wonders in your life.

This was a decision that changed my life for the better. Doing something completely for myself, out of my comfort zone has bought about expansion and awareness.Try it for yourself and add to the list!

Happy travels!

 

Featured photo credit: http://photopin.com/search/gold-coast

Featured photo credit: photopin via photopin.com

More by this author

Anjelica Ilovi

Anjelica writes about how to grind and unwind for increased productivity, focus and joyful living anjelicailovi.com {grind + unwind}

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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?

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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

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