I’m a big believer that travelling really broadens the mind and teaches us things about ourselves that we wouldn’t have necessarily found out sitting behind a desk all day. I also think I have changed a lot because of my experiences while travelling. I know this sounds cliche but ask any traveller and I bet they’ll tell you the same thing.
10. To accept all cultures. I have to admit that I’ve been a little ignorant in the past when it came to stereotyping certain cultures. By visiting these countries, it has shown me that what we perceive as rude, dirty or aggressive in Australia, is really not that at all.
9. Patience. While I think I’ve always had pretty good patience, nothing tests it quite like travelling does. I’ve also learned there are a lot of people who have none. The way I see it, you’ll get on your flight, you’ll get to the front of the line, and yelling at people isn’t going to make it happen any faster. So just chill out.
8. Trust. Not everyone is out to rob you. One of the best nights I’ve ever had in Texas involved a random stranger offering to drive a group of us home in the back of his ute (or pick up truck for you American folk). He didn’t kill us, we didn’t crash. He just dropped us home like he said he would. You can be sensible and be smart, but if you let your guard down just a little, it’s amazing the people you can meet.
7. To take what you can get. I’ve been to some of the most disgusting, filthy, what-the-hell-is-that squat toilets around the world. Once you have experienced that, nothing shocks you. You can take on anything.
6. To play the waiting game. In airports, on planes, at train stations, at bus terminals. Nothing puts a damper on travel quite like long stop overs and late public transport. I imagine I am now one of the worlds best time killers. Now, standing in line at the post office is cake.
5. To be brave. I can and have been put in some really scary situations and have dealt with it without crying or chucking a tanty. In fact, I’ve learnt that I can actually be quite calm and deal with the situation.
4. That people are awesome. No matter the language barrier, for the most part, people are friendly, happy and willing to help you. I made great friends with two Chinese women who worked in the corner store near my hotel. They didn’t speak a word of English, nor I Chinese, and we still managed to laugh (probably at each other) and ‘chat’ each morning.
3. To take risks. As any great travel guide will tell you, avoid eating food from street carts and stalls. That’s just CRAP. I listened to this for all of 2 seconds and have since eaten some of the best food I’ve ever tasted. Could I have tasted something similar in a restaurant, probably, but where’s the fun in that. (Don’t drink the water though, there’s no fun in that)
2. It’s a jungle out there. There are so many incredible, amazing, eye opening places, things, food, cultures, people and experiences out there. And to miss out on that is such a waste. Yes Australia is beautiful, but prostitutes standing in shop fronts like store dummies in Amsterdam, that’s just cool.
1. That I’m blessed. I’ve learned that I am incredibly lucky and blessed to be born in such an amazing country, and even luckier to be born into an amazing, supportive, loving family. Others are not so lucky and I thank the gods everyday for what I have.