What are the best lessons you've learned from traveling the world? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Answer by Lanie Bakeberg:
I am an avid traveler. All of my spare time is dedicated to planning trips, preparing for trips, and actually going on trips. From my trips, I've learned a lot about myself.
1) Adventure Seeking
I moved around a lot as a kid. Never anywhere exciting, but in many different states. Because we were never near family, my childhood vacations consisted of going to visit grandparents or cousins--FYI, they live in the ever-exciting Kansas. Growing up in suburbia, I never stepped outside of my comfort zone. I never went out of my way looking for excitement. I was content with my life.
My first trip outside of the country wasn't until college. I studied abroad in Australia and fell in love. I went from a timid girl who was afraid of swimming in the lake to a young lady who was scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef. The first words out of my mouth when I popped out of the water were, "Let's go skydiving." Facing my fears and experiencing something truly incredible changed me as a person. I don't see limits like I used to. I now seek out adventure. And I have a fuller life because of it.
Coming from a girl who ate McDonald's chicken nuggets religiously for the first twelve years of life, traveling opens your eyes to new, interesting foods. Some that will keep you drooling for more. Visiting new places and eating what the locals eat broadens your horizons. You will taste what ethnic foods are supposed to taste like. My first bite of pad thai in Thailand let me know what I was missing in America. Needless to say--pasta in Italy? It is a game changer.
Eating while in different countries introduces new flavours, ingredients, and dishes. It also gives you confidence to try new foods in your own neighbourhood.
3) Eyes Open
This is a big one for me. While growing up in a variety of small suburbs, my life and my family were the only things on my mind. I had no idea the world did not revolve around me. This way of life continued until I finally was out of my comfort zone. Out of my small town. Where I had to play charades rather than speak. Where I was alone with my thoughts 30 feet underwater. Where I stared, mouth wide open, at wonders of the world. While traveling, you realise how many people there actually are on this planet. How many things there are to see. And all of a sudden, you realise you are a lot smaller than you thought you were. Traveling gives life context.
4) Goal Oriented
Traveling has transformed me into a goal-oriented person. My goals that surround travel are usually financial and health-related, but working towards these goals makes me a more disciplined person in all aspects of life.
I have saving goals for each month and a separate account for travel. I want to be able to afford to go to all of the places on my list and to do all of the activities I want to do. Whenever I am shopping, I ask myself, do I like this better than lying on an exotic beach? Or do I like this better than skiing the Alps? Putting it into perspective this way makes being frugal easier.
Likewise, I always want to be physically fit before I go on a trip. I want to be able to swim, hike, run, climb, ride, carry, or walk as much as necessary. When I am tired after work and the last thing I want to do is go to the gym, I remember my goals like hiking the Great Wall of China or zip lining through the rainforest in Costa Rica. Not to mention the little extra motivation to shed that holiday weight to look great in my bikini in Hawaii.
5) Partners in Crime
With all of my travels, my favourite things are the memories I share with loved ones. Traveling has brought me closer to many. Traveling with friends or family bonds you on a different level. Once you experience plane trips, mysterious foods, breathtaking views, and captivating cultures together, you share so much more than before. They are now not only your loved one, but they are your partners in crime. Go see the world with the people you love. You won't regret it.
Much like any aspect of your life, the more you do it, the better you become. Practice makes perfect, right? With traveling, the more you travel the better you become at it. You learn hacks and tricks to make the process smoother. You learn how to find cheap flights and how to take trains. You learn to have no fear. All awhile, you learn about yourself.
Travel changes you for the better. Go for it.