Advertising
Advertising

20 Unforgettable Lessons You Can Learn From Traveling The World

20 Unforgettable Lessons You Can Learn From Traveling The World

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.

I can add another mistake along this road. and that is:

“Not looking at what is actually in front of you”

The first is a quote from Buddha and the last is a quote from me. Both are important.

In our radio show yesterday, my co-host, Sally Nutter and I talked about how, under moments of stress or confusion, a person can make a decision about someone or something, or even a whole group of someones. These decisions stick and they may work to handle the confusion the person feels at the time, but that person then puts up this decision and looks at IT instead of the actual situation and people in the present. Therefore he is treating the present day world as one painful incident in the past.

You can tell when someone is doing this because their actions and statements don’t make sense. Examples of this are statements like “People are stupid” or “woman/men are not to be trusted.”

These decisions are the roots of prejudice.

If you follow the quotes I gave you, you will actively promote harmony and begin to end prejudice.

Travel and communication with other people is the solution to the world’s problems provided you see each new person for who they really are.

How can you dislike a person who loves his family, values his community and reaches out to visitors?

The only way to do that is to fail to see the person in front of you as a new person and only see the shadow of a past enemy instead.

Advertising

Travel and communication with live people, without prejudgement, and with understanding is the key to our survival as a human species.
That is a strong statement but it is true. The more people who travel and meet and talk to new people, the more peace we will have. It follows as naturally as the calm after the storm.

There are so many life lessons to be learned from travelling. Since I have done tons of travel and own a place in a tiny village in Southern Italy, I can tell you some of my favorites.

1. You learn a lot about life.

There is nothing like diving out of your comfort zone to make you realize that you are a newbie in life no matter what your age. There are so many things to learn such as how to get a meal in an Italian restaurant when the menus are in Italian and you don’t speak Italian. (Hint: Go to Duolingo.com and learn some of the basic menu items from where you are going. They also have lots of fun language learning games.)

2. You are never alone.

You can make friends anywhere. Be the first to smile. Make an effort to join in their celebrations or simply ask them questions about their lives. This is all it takes.

3. You meet unforgettable people.

Several years ago, I purchased a small apt in Southern Italy. It has been magical.

One of my most treasured friendships is the one I found with the lady who owns the little grocery store in Santa Domenica Talao. Her name is Nunzia and we loved each other from the moment we met.

We still struggle with the language a bit but that doesn’t seem to matter. Every time I arrive, kisses rain down on me, spontaneous hugs erupt out of nowhere and I have been pulled into the bosom of the village through her acceptance and love.

In the morning I go to her shop for coffee. I love to watch as the villagers come in for their produce (buying or selling) and an update on whatever is happening in the village or surrounding area. And every day Nunzia saves the freshest eggs for me behind her counter.

She is an amazing lady whom I adore. Who knew I would find her tending a little store, in a medieval village in Southern Italy?

4. You learn to enjoy transient relationships

On a recent trip, I ended up taking the slow train from Cremona in the North to my place down South. I spent 13 hours in a train that stopped at every station. Happily I shared a compartment with a group of people from Naples.

If you have not met folks from Naples, I can tell you that they are so much fun! The train barely started when questions were asked about me, where I was from, where I was going, and what I was interested in. Food was opened and passed around. discussions were had. The young girl next to me asked me to translate every word she could think of into English so she could wow her friends. We had a great time!

Advertising

At the end, no numbers were exchanged, just simply the promise to look for them when I visit Naples and the idea that Naples will be a perfect destination for my next trip.

5. You have to try new things.

Whether you are staring at a menu realizing you have no idea what the items are, or jumping on a bus that you hope will get you somewhere familiar, travel is exciting. You have to do new things. It is all about getting yourself into situations and turning them into amazing experiences.

6. There are no “mistakes”

Ok maybe one or two. Don’t eat anything you would not step on in your bare feet (one of my important life rules) and if the water is not good, don’t drink it or eat anything that has not been cooked.

Other than that, go and have some fun. Read up in the culture before you go and when something goes off plan, turn it into an exciting experience.

Oh and make sure you have an emergency packet of tissues as you never know about train station bathrooms!

Aragonese Castle, Pizzo, Italy

    7. You find the value in getting lost.

    Really! Get lost in a city then wander around. The great thing is there are taxis all over the place and you can always dive into one when you get tired.

    There is nothing like being lost in Rome where every street corner has another spectacular sculpture; or being lost in Brussels where every neighborhood has a cluster of bistros or bakeries.

    There is so much to see and experience that is not in the guide books. Go off plan and get lost!

    Pizzo, Italy

      8. You get out of your environment

      Every time I travel, I find that that I can view my life from the outside and find solutions or changes that I never would have seen if I had not gotten away from it all.

      As we live our lives, we keep our heads down and we keep going. Any problems we have, we are in them. When you travel, you get outside of them and can solve them.

      Advertising

      We always seem to have solutions for other people’s problems but struggle with our own. That is because we are IN our problems and it is difficult to find solutions to something you are inside of.

      9. You learn to forget the plan.

      When I travel, I make an outline but not a rigid plan. There are always things I want to see and do, but the last thing I want is to be a slave to a schedule. Make your trip elastic. See what you want to see but leave lots of time to drift.

      Visit the church you stumbled on, on your way to the Vatican or just go out and bob in the sea until dinner time.

      I am usually a type A personality but one of my favorite pastimes in Southern Italy is getting my little air mattress and bobbing in the sea. I look at the sky, watch the kids play in the water, think about dinner… I relax. The monuments will be there next time. Don’t deny yourself this luxury!

      10. You learn to talk to people

      There is nothing like struggling with another language to get you looking at people as they are. Hilarious grammer errors are made and laughs are shared. It is a golden opportunity to fall in love with people. That is one of my favorite pastimes too!

      Crypts In Rome

        11. You absorb history.

        We, in the US have history, but in Europe, they laugh. “200 years?” they say, “Why, that was just yesterday!”

        What do houses look like that have stood for over 300 years? What do churches look like? How were the villages laid out? There is so much history in the most humble village anywhere that you end up absorbing it. When you put present day in context with history, art, music and all the other cultural aspects, it is a rich tapestry indeed.

        12. You learn new cuisines

        I cannot go to a restaurant in a foreign country without mentally reverse engineering the food that I am eating. As soon as I get home I try it out. Many times your waiter will tell you the recipe!

        When you go to a store in Italy, not only do you get the ingredients you need to make a dish but you get a full description of exactly how to go home and make it.

        Last time I was there I learned how to make a perfect pasta fagiole made with pink beans that you can only find in the local markets. I also learned  to steam a perfect Filetto ( I think it was sea bass) freshly pulled from the Mediterranean that morning and purchased off the fish van that visits the village at dawn.

        13. You understand a different way of life.

        I was having dinner with my friend Nunzia and I asked her what it was like growing up in a tiny village on the top of a hill in Southern Italy. She told me that all of the people in the village were her family. Births and deaths affect everyone in the village exactly as it affects the family.

        Advertising

        I could see that everyone in the village was loved and admired. Faults were overlooked and everyone pulled together. It was a totally new look at a life I never knew existed and want to create in my area at home.

        14. You fall in love

        I don’t know why it is, but everyone I meet in my travels is a wonderful person. On occasion I have met someone gruff or even unfriendly but 99% of the people I meet are amazing.

        One day, I was walking in Diamente. As I turned a corner, a tiny little lady came out and stared at me. Immediately she called out “Aie che bella duona!” (What a beautiful lady!) and came toward me her arms outstretched. I fell into her embrace and was patted and kissed as though I was a long lost relative. How great is that? I decided at that point that I loved Diamante and always go there when I am in Italy.

        15. You learn to change quickly

        As you travel, anything can happen and you may end up in a pretty strange situation. The wily traveler learns to change quickly. Travelling is fraught with unknowns. you learn to think on your feet and solve problems efficiently.

        16. You learn other languages.

        Even if you go to many different places and even if you don’t make a huge effort to learn the languages of the people whose country you visit, simply seeing street signs and restaurant menus teaches you a part of the local language. Hearing a language spoken around you gives you a feel for the rhythm of it and you feel more at home around it.

        17. You start to understand different cultures

        There is nothing like living amongst people of other cultures to make you understand why people do what they do. Other religions came from somewhere. So did ideas, moral codes and art. Each culture has its treasures. Dig them up and enjoy them.

        18. You learn how to travel.

        Travelling itself is a skill. After carting around a giant suitcase and trying to stuff it through tiny train doors on an extended visit to Europe, you learn that there are some things you can do without. You learn to decipher railway schedules. You learn what to do when you take the wrong bus and end up God knows where. All of these skills make regular life at home so much easier.

        19. You develop confidence.

        After travelling and learning all of these new things, you start to realize how smart you are. After all, you made it to your destination, found your connecting flights, ordered food and somehow made it through a new experience. You are pretty resourceful!

        20. You find out that we are all one people.

        There is nothing like travelling to make you realize that when we talk about going to war with another country, the people that will be harmed are the people you met in the café, the children you saw on their way to school, and the families you see strolling the streets arm in arm in the evening. Suddenly it becomes personal. Suddenly, it is not ok to see them injured or killed.

        Of all of the benefits of travelling, I think that this is the most far reaching and the most important. People are our most treasured gifts here in this life. Go meet them. Develop a love for other cultures, religions and lifestyles. Let them see that we are all one too. I believe that if we do this we can change the world, One travelling peace maker at a time.

        Write me of your experiences! I would love to hear them!

        More by this author

        The Little Prince Quotes That Will Inspire You: Wit and Wisdom Explained Mastering Onstage Anxiety Can You Beat Onstage Anxiety? Travel is the Wise Man's Addiction 15 Reasons Traveling Is the Wise Man’s Addiction Be Lucky! 15 Ways to Create Your Own Luck 25 Things You Must Know by the Time You Turn 30

        Trending in Leisure

        1 The 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime 2 How to Quit Your Job and Travel the World After 40 3 The 25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are 4 25 Truly Amazing Places To Visit Before You Die 5 30 Fun Things to Do at Home

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on May 21, 2019

        13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

        13 Bad Habits You Need to Quit Right Away

        Creating your productivity ritual — a routine that helps you to maintain a peak level of energy can get you the best out of your days.

        Part of creating your productivity routine involves removing activities that drain you (what I call “kryptonites”), and that includes your bad habits.

        Like it or not, bad habits are bad for you — mentally, physically, emotionally and even socially in some cases. While some bad habits are harder to quit than others, it doesn’t change the fact that you need to get rid of them. Here are 13 bad habits to quit right away:

        1. Stress Eating

        I used to be a serious stress eater. I would eat whenever I felt unhappy, stressed, disappointed, anxious, or even… happy! My eating had nothing to do with being hungry, and everything to do with using food to fill my emotional voids.

        While eating would comfort me, this feeling was momentary and would disappear right after I was done eating. Instead, what I had left would be the same emotional void that triggered me to eat in the first place (be it unhappiness or stress), a 2,000 excess calorie intake over what I should have eaten for the day, and anger at myself for having stress ate.

        I’ve since overcome stress eating. I have healthy eating habits and a healthy relationship with food today where I no longer use food as a tool to fill my emotions.

        If you are a stress eater, don’t fret — here’s how to manage your stress better:

        How to Manage Stress (A Step-by-Step Guide to Turn Stress Into Success)

        2. Nail Biting

        Not only is nail biting unhygienic, it is also socially repelling, leads to dental problems like malocclusion of the anterior teeth,[1] potentially cause stomach problems,[2] and lead to severely deformed fingernails in the long run.

        People who bite their nails tend to have shorter nails than the average person; their nail plates also experience scarring and may eventually become absent.[3]

        Understand what triggers your nail biting behavior and replace it with another neutral to positive habit. Make habits to break habits.

        For example, if you bite your nails when you are stressed, go for a walk or listen to music instead the next time you feel stressed.

        Advertising

        3. Hanging out with Naysayers

        We all know these people — people who play devil’s advocate to every idea you have and every goal you want to pursue. We are already our greatest self-critics, so it doesn’t help when there’s someone beside us, ever ready to pounce on what we say and tear it down.

        Hang out less with these naysayers and spend more time with supportive people who share constructive feedback instead. You will be much happier this way.

        Learn how to get rid of naysayers with these 10 Ways to Ignore the Naysayers and Achieve Your Dreams.

        4. Being with People Who Don’t Appreciate You

        Haven’t all of us been in this situation before? Trying to please people who don’t appreciate us? Bending over backwards to be there for people when they are never there for us?

        While we give without expectations of return, we need to draw a line with people who don’t value us because these people damage our souls.

        Stop spending time with people who don’t appreciate you, and spend more time with people who do instead.

        Unsure who you should get rid of? Learn about it here: 5 Kinds of Toxic People That You Need to Get Rid of Now

        5. Smoking

        Smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death globally.[4]

        In just the United States alone, about 500,000 deaths are attributed to smoking-related diseases annually. A recent study estimated that as much as one-third of China’s male population will have significantly shortened life-spans due to smoking! Gender-wise, male and female smokers lose an average of 13.2 and 14.5 years of life respectively — that’s over a decade of life right there.[5]

        Not only that, smoking causes pre-mature skin aging (i.e. wrinkles), yellowing of teeth, bad breath, and worse of all — jeopardy of the health of people around you, including your loved ones. Studies have shown that non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke are at risk to many of the health problems associated with direct smoking.[6]

        Smoking risks

          6. Excessive Drinking

          All of us know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for us, but do you know how bad it really is?

          Advertising

          According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking too much — be it on a single occasion or over time — can seriously damage your health:[7]

          • Brain problems: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, making it harder to think clearly and move with coordination.
          • Heart diseases: Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle, Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat, stroke, high blood pressure
          • Liver diseases: Steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis
          • Pancreas problems: Pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion.
          • Different types of cancer: Mouth, esophagus, throat, liver, breast

          If you drink a lot, perhaps cutting it out right away will be tough. Cut down the number of glasses you drink each time, followed by the number of times you drink a week.

          If need be, seek help from an AA group — you aren’t alone in this. Change starts from today.

          7. Eating Junk Food (Including Diet Soda)

          Junk food — they are everywhere in our society today. From McDonald’s, to KFC, to Burger King, to 24-hour takeouts, junk food such as fries, highly processed burgers and sodas has become a staple in our society today.

          If you think, “Hey, but junk food is tasty!”, think again:

          A study by Paul Johnson and Paul Kenny suggests that junk food consumption alters brain activity in a way similar to addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.[8]

          “After many weeks with unlimited access to junk food, the pleasure centers of rat brains became desensitized, requiring more food for pleasure.”

          And you wonder why you seem to crave fast food when you just had some the day before?

          While it may not be possible to remove junk food completely from our diet right away, we can reduce our junk food consumption starting today. Instead of soda, opt for a fruit juice (fresh juice, not the carbonated kind) or mineral water. Instead of fries, switch to mashed potato, a salad, or rice (many food outlets allow for this today). Instead of a fried meat patty, go for a grilled one.

          Where possible, opt for healthy food joints like salad bars and delis as opposed to fast food outlets. Every little step goes a long way.

          Here’re some healthy snacks ideas for you: 15 Healthy Snacks You Should Always Have At Home

          8. Eating Too Much Red Meat

          There has been conclusive evidence that consumption of red meat increases the risk of colorectal cancer; and suggestive evidence that it increases the risk of oesophageal cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and endometrial cancer.

          Advertising

          In addition, some studies have linked consumption of large quantities of red meat with breast cancer, stomach cancer, lymphoma, bladder cancer, lung cancer and prostate cancer![9]

          Personally, I’m a vegetarian so I don’t consume red meat, but for those of you who consume red meat, do watch out and limit your intake — better still, cut it out of your diet. World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting intake of red meat to less than 300g (11 oz) cooked weight per week, “very little, if any of which to be processed.”

          Of if you’re thinking about becoming a vegetarian, check out this guide: 5 Practical Tips For Starting a Vegetarian Lifestyle

          9. Watching Too Much TV

          I stopped watching TV since eight years ago and I have never regretted it. Every once in a while I will switch on the telly to see what is on, and then I will switch it off because it’s just the same boring shtick over and over again.

          Watching TV, particularly well-written dramas, can be a good way to unwind. However, remember that TV isn’t your life.

          Spending three hours every night watching TV will not change your life for the better. Rather, using that time to reflect on your life, take stock, and take action on your goals will.

          It’s not easy to remove TV from your daily routine right away, but follow these 6 Steps To Remove TV From Your Life.

          10. Being Late

          Not only is being late being rude to others, it also means that you’re always rushing from one place to another, playing catch up in your agenda, and having to apologize to every person you meet.

          Stop being late and not being punctual, but practice being early instead. Target to arrive 15 minutes earlier before any appointment and bring along something to do in those 15 minutes (or longer if the other person turns out to be late). Then you can stop playing catch up and stay ahead in life.

          Learn more tips about how to be more punctual here: How to Be On Time Every Time

          11. Being in Bad Relationships

          Are you always dating the wrong guys/girls? Do you end up with jerks all the time? Well, you may not be able to stop yourself from meeting bad partners but you can certainly stop yourself from furthering contact with them, spending time with them, or even… entering into a relationship with them.

          I used to invest myself in this guy who was nothing but toxic for me. After a good five months of experiencing nothing but getting burned over and over again, I realized that he was a total waste of my time and I deserved better. I decided to cut him off, and it was soon after that I met my soulmate.

          Advertising

          Learn about why you shouldn’t stay in a bad relationship and how to deal with it if you’re in one: Why Trying Hard to Stay in an Unhappy Relationship Is Not Love, but Fear

          12. Leaving Things to the Last Minute

          Burning the midnight oil isn’t fun — it’s exhausting.

          Those of you who got through college by burning the midnight oil would have learned this the hard way. Not only is it damaging for your body, it is also mentally draining as you’re constantly in a hyper-tense mode, feeling anxious about whether you can finish your work on time.

          Start today on a new note. Rather than react to your deadlines, be proactive about them by planning ahead, identifying what needs to be done for the week, and getting things done in advance.

          By staying ahead of your tasks, you can also use your extra time to plan ahead in your life and get more things done.

          Take a look at this guide and learn how to stop procrastinating: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

          13. Focusing on the Negatives

          In every situation, there are two ways you can react: zoom down to the problem areas and crib about how things aren’t the way you want, or celebrate the areas that are going well and work on making everything better.

          Many of us see the importance of doing the latter but in practice, we do the former. Why though? Criticizing and focusing on the negatives is easy but it doesn’t empower nor inspire us to be better.

          Make a change — for every negative encounter you run into, I challenge you to identify three things that are good about it. Practice doing this for one week, and by the end of the week you’ll find that your first instinct is to think positive, not negative.

          And here’re even more ways to help you stay positive: 11 Tips for Maintaining your Positive Attitude

          The Bottom Line

          So here you find the 13 most common bad habits and their consequences on your mind and body. The good news’ you can quit them all.

          Just spot out your own bad habits and take my suggestions to quit them. Then you’ll find your life a lot healthier and happier!

          Need more tips to break your bad habits? Check out these articles:

          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

          Reference

          Read Next