This year has been an amazing year for me. I’ve grown tremendously, I’ve had my ups and my downs but I also found myself again. With that came numerous travels and I set a personal record of traveling seven times in one year. I visited Paris twice, Sweden three times, and I went to both Beijing and Berlin for the first time.
Now by no means was this something I had planned. Yes, some of the travels were pre-planned due to commitments such as my brother’s graduation ceremony in Beijing and my sister’s birthday trip to Berlin. However, the decision to jump on a plane and train to leave London so many times came as a surprise. This year I discovered once again just how spontaneous I am as a person, and truth be told, I love it.
These are the lessons I learned from my travels this year.
1. You can’t get enough of traveling
I love traveling. I’ve always known it and as soon as I was able to finance for my trips I brought it up a notch by visiting cities I had dreamed of visiting when I was younger. I’m attracted to the unknown, I’m curious about people and cultures and I will go far for my experiences. But once you start your travel journey it can become difficult to slow down. Instead, you constantly feel the need to go away and sometimes you may even feel like you’re running away from your home when in reality you just can’t get enough of discovering the world.
2. You appreciate your home so much more
I grew up in Stockholm but I’ve lived in London for almost five years now. It’s an amazing and charming city like no other but it can also be overwhelming at times. I learned this year that while some places will give you a culture shock like no other, you will learn to love your home more once you’re out on the road.While you embrace the journey that you’re on and the city that you live in you do start to appreciate the little things from back home.
3. You get tired of airports
Listen, as much as I love traveling I also hate flying. I’m telling you if I could snap my fingers and automatically arrive at my chosen destination I would. Having to take the journey of going to the airport, especially the same ones, can be very draining. From the environment to the passport and immigration control, to the endless hours of waiting, not to mention the fatigue that comes with it if you have an early flight – it’s a lot!
By the time I flew out to Berlin in July, I had already been on two trips prior to that all in the span of three months. That was the first time I began to feel like I needed to stay put for a couple of months and take a break from traveling.
4. It will cost you
A lot of my money goes into traveling, which is something I’m fine with as it’s a personal choice rather than something I’ve been forced to do. If you are passionate about traveling and discovering the world you will at times start questioning the amount of money that goes into it. However, what I also realised is that you can quickly get that money back which brings me to my next point.
5. Money comes and money goes
As I stated above, traveling will cost you money, however, you can get that money back as well. I don’t advise anyone to travel excessively unless you have the funds for it, but if you can afford it know that money comes and goes and you will earn it back. Ultimately you’re paying for more than just a flight ticket and accommodation. You’re paying for a once in a lifetime experience that will make you richer and fulfill you in a way that money never will.
6. It can get tiring
I know, weird right? But the truth is as fun as it is, traveling can take a toll on you as well. Take our trip to Beijing for instance. It was an amazing experience to be able to travel to Asia for the first time and experience China with my siblings. While we had a great time I came back to London feeling like I needed another vacation to rest from the vacation I just came from. Our trip to China was full on and involved a lot of activities, more than we had done before. With that, we didn’t eat as much as we usually do. Add the blazing heat of 38C degrees and lack of sleep and I was tired by the time I got back. Make no mistake, I still had that holiday glow though!
7. To leave your comfort zone
People live and move to the beat of their own drums. What might seem normal to you can be completely absurd for someone from a different country or culture. Regardless of where you’re traveling to, you need to get in the space of being open-minded and not only realise but also accept that you are a guest in someone else’s country.
8. You’ll make friends with strangers
You will meet people from all corners of the world and a simple smile goes a long way. You may find yourself interacting with people you never thought you’d engage with but that’s the beauty of it. Traveling teaches you to get to know people in a different way than you would have had you just stayed at home.
9. You learn to adjust to new settings
You become very creative when you are out of your comfort zone. Whether it’s a language barrier, lack of internet connection or different cuisines etc. you will find a way to make it work. Your ideas may not be conventional but you will learn to work with what you have to make your jorney easier.