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11 things you learn while traveling

“He who returns from a journey is not the same as he who left.” – Chinese Proverb

Traveling changes lives and teaches us about ourselves and the world we live in. We become poetic and sentimental while learning about budgets, organizing, and packing. It’s one of the most exciting and fun ways to become a better person – and we have 11 reasons to prove it.

1. How to decide like a boss

At home, you know where to shop and what to order from your favorite pizza place. When you travel, you basically know nothing, and there will be an overwhelming number of decisions to make – from food to accommodation and bus schedules. It might be a little intimidating at first but deciding confidently will become easier – and being able to trust your decisions is an awesome feeling and a valuable skill.

2. How to become a budgeting expert

When you travel, you will need to make sure your money lasts for weeks or even months. Your priorities will shift – from spontaneous shopping sprees to meticulously planned purchases. At the same time, you will learn when to save and when to splurge: A week of supermarket lunches to save some extra cash to go on a snorkeling trip at the Great Barrier Reef? Yes, please.

3. How to be relaxed and flexible

It’s good to have a plan, but keep in mind that it might change along the way: Buses and trains will be late and days will be rainy. All of this is perfectly OK – don’t get stressed out by itineraries and schedules. Traveling is not about checking countries and sights off a list, it’s about having good stories to tell.

4. How to talk the talk

Having to use a foreign language to get food, go places and find accommodation – and not just to get a good grade – is one of the best ways to learn. It will help you to make new friends, explore a different culture and enjoy your trip to the fullest. So, no matter where you go, always learn a few words: Locals know the best restaurants, bars and shortcuts, after all.

5. How to be grateful

You will be in the priceless position to actually experience things again for the first time – something that gets harder the older you get. Being in a new environment lets you appreciate the little things that make life so exciting and memories so unforgettable: Traveling reminds you to walk through life not only with open eyes and ears but, most of all, with an open mind.

6. How little material things matter

When you travel the world, you’ll soon realize how little, or how few big and heavy things, you actually need to be happy – and not just because schlepping luggage is a pain in the back. Traveling is a great way to declutter your life, both mentally and physically. Fortunately, memories don’t take up a lot of space in your backpack – and you will definitely learn how to pack like a boss.

7. How to go away to arrive

A lot of life’s important questions have been answered while traveling. It’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly makes exploring the world ideal for gathering thoughts and putting things into perspective: Maybe it’s the different climate, the lack of showers or that beautiful sunset you just saw. Add the fact that you have enough physical and mental distance between you and your everyday life, and you’ll have the perfect recipe for solving all kinds of problems.

8. How to enjoy your own company

We live in a world where we’re connected with everyone at the push of a button. Being able to be alone without feeling lonely is one of the most underrated skills these days. When you travel, you’ll probably be alone at some point, and you will have to learn to enjoy your own company. Once you can feel happy and content without relying on someone else, you’ve pretty much won at life.

9. How to find friends everywhere

Once you’re on the road for a bit, you’ll start to develop a radar for people with big backpacks, comfortable clothes and a special sparkle in their eyes. The great thing about meeting fellow travelers is that you can share stories, travel together for a while or just exchange tips and tricks before parting ways. Some people just lend you a helping hand with your backpack, others become lifelong friends.

10. How to roam – the offline kind

Carpe the travel diem without worrying how it looks on Instagram or Facebook: The number of likes and shares should be the least of your concerns when watching a sunset. Traveling is a good time to unplug, both literally and figuratively. Don’t stress about staying in touch with everyone or photographing everything. Just be there, look and marvel.

11. How to try new things

Traveling is the perfect opportunity to step out of your comfort zone – motivational posters say that’s where life begins, after all. Ask for directions with your Chinese vocabulary of only five words, explore a new city without a map and eat that fried cricket for breakfast. Don’t put yourself in dangerous situations – but be adventurous and try as many new things as you can.

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