This ‘Travel Lessons and the Goodbyes’ article is the continuation to Travel – Chasing the Dream or a Run Away?, one of my deepest articles yet (click here for The Travel Bible link).
Travel is the best education for our souls
I believe in that statement 100%. Actually, hell no. I believe it 1,00000%.
Travel has actually been a ‘thing’ for a bit now, it’s seen as something cool to do and I’m truly happy with that. Although, sometimes it makes me slightly worried that people see it just as cool, without realising the true importance of it.
But anyway, here we go. It’s not just cool.
In fact, it’s the biggest life lesson that many of us will go through.
Just to clarify – when saying travel, I mean completely losing yourself in the experiences.
Not a planned 2 week holiday with your best mate. Of course, I don’t have anything against the second way of adventuring, but that’s not the one I’m referring to in this article.
‘Don’t tell me how educated you are. Tell me how much you have travelled.’
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you will most likely recognise this quote by now. I’ve been mentioning it in my articles, on Instagram, Facebook and so on.
I’m obsessed with how true it is.
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So what are the Travel Lessons?
First of all, travel doesn’t just teach you how to have fun abroad.
It literally teaches you hundreds or thousands of different lessons, from the variety of people that are out there and how kind they can really be, to how completely brainwashed our society is with all the propaganda back in our comfy homes – talking about how dangerous it is to go here or there.
It teaches you that some of the poorest people you’ll meet along the way are the happiest people you’ll ever see, that those are the ones who offer the most, whether it’s inviting you for a tea or for a few days stay. Because it makes them happy to spend time with someone from a different ‘world’.
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Travel Lessons on the tough times
Saying that you will also go through some of the most difficult times in your life, because let’s face it – you’re in a different part of the world, whether travelling or settling down, with probably zero family around. Sometimes things can get tough and there is no home safety blanket.
But those are the times that will make the future shi**y times a piece of cake. Trust me.
Because you’ll always go back to that time when you were alone in a different country and got through it. You became SO MUCH STRONGER.
You will learn about the generosity of people, you’ll find out about the different cultures, the world in general and SO MUCH MORE. And even if you don’t feel like it’s happening at the time, you will learn an unbelievable amount about yourself.
It will hit you sooner or later – how much you have changed, or maybe change is the wrong word. You will realise that you are finally becoming yourself, with none of the bulls*it you’ve been putting on without even realising, due to the socially required acceptable behaviours.
You will realise how much you’ve grown as a person.
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Travel Lessons on kindness
and that it’s an actual thing
The biggest realisation for me personally, was the fact that I CAN BE KIND. Yes, you read that right.
I don’t have to put this brave face 24/7 to ‘not let people walk over me’ or trying not to show that ‘I’m too nice because I will be taken advantage of”.
NO – I’ve learned all over again about the importance of being kind. Right from scratch.
The people I have met along my travels were some of the happiest and kindest people that I have ever met. And they are literally bursting with what simply feels like love – as cheesy as it may sound. And trust me, a year ago I would think ‘what the actual heck is this girl talking about..’
But that thought soon disappears and I remember thinking:
I want to be like them. I want to make people smile just like they make me smile.
And then slowly I’ve started hearing that about myself “Eli, you’re always so happy. Eli, you’re so kind and generous. Eli your smile is so bright that it inspires others.”
When I finally started listening to it and I guess believing it.. I realised how happy I truly was at those times and how easy and absolutely amazing it is to make others smile.
Those were the moments when I couldn’t wipe the massive grin off my face and when I realised, how much I’ve grown as a person. Or in other words: how much boloney I managed to get off my shoulders.
How I finally became who I wanted to be, or who I really was deep down but always felt the need to camouflage it with strength and confusion.
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Travel Lessons on the failures
Being on the road will also teach you about the failures, making you realise there’s no point to plan too much. That going with the flow will bring the most incredible experiences and events, which you never expected to occur.
After that, you will realise that having a plan will most likely ruin the fun and minimise the feeling of freedom.
You will know to maybe have a hostel booked for the first night when arriving in a new country, but then just let it be. Maybe you’ll fall in love with a place so much that you’ll want to stay for a few weeks or even months! Or maybe you’ll meet a group of new friends who are heading in a completely different direction than the one you’ve been planning to go in.. but hold on – you’ve made all the bookings and cannot join them.. not planning too much ahead will allow you to do whatever you want.
All of these experiences together are the biggest lesson. They are what education cannot quite offer.
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Travel Lessons on the goodbyes..
I don’t necessarily mean the everyday goodbyes that you go through when backpacking from place to place. As much as you get along with the people, it’s not as difficult to go your separate ways as it is when staying in a place for a longer period of time.
This one right there is the bugger.
And the worst thing? You don’t see it coming until the departure date is approaching like a ticking bomb.
Put it this way, you start getting used to the place, of course, you work a bit whether it’s online or whatever fun job it is that you’re doing – coz let’s face it – working abroad is usually a lot more fun than working back home.
You make a lot of friends and start feeling comfortable.
You start taking things for granted. Even if you know you are, you can’t help it. But don’t get me wrong – you’re still loving it.
But the time finally approaches and you feel like maybe it’s time to go visit home for a bit. Because let’s face it, you need to one day and you do miss your family and friends. Even if you’re not too keen on visiting your home town/city.
So you book that ticket, usually when you’re on some kind of a downer (yes, you do get downers even when travelling). You’re starting to look forward to that date, let’s say the flight is in just over a month. Plenty of time.
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Travel Lessons on the preparation
You bought a one-way ticket as you’re not sure what will happen. But all the previous experiences taught you that too much planning isn’t doing much good remember? So getting a return would be slightly stupid.
But then you start to question that decision and the more you think about it – the more nervous you get. In fact, you get so nervous that you start going slightly crazy.
“What if I get sucked into the monotony back again?”
“I don’t want to be back in the position where I was before leaving. I don’t know whether I can have that much courage again, to leave.”
What if I don’t come back..?
But then your friend comes with the reminder – it’s all up to you.
If you don’t want to stay – don’t.
But of course, you still worry like crazy.
“Do I pack all my stuff? Or do I leave some things behind?”
“Do I say real goodbyes? Or ‘see you soon’s?”
“What do I answer to all the ‘when will you come back’ questions that make me so nervous?”
Then the last month approaches – you realise there’s about 3/4 weeks left. There is so much to do, and so little time. Whether it’s exploring the country you’re in, seeing friends, or whatever it is that you want to do.
You literally start going slightly loca.
Travel Lessons on
becoming the YES person
So your mind becomes a lot more open to everything. You become a YES person and say yes to more things, plus come up with crazy ideas because this might be it. In case you don’t come back, remember?
You go on crazy adventures, explore different events whether it’s parties or exploring. You are doing everything because you’re running out of time.
And then it hits you – you’re falling in love with the place, the people and the experiences all over again. But this time – the feeling is much stronger.
All of the things you’ve been experiencing in such a short period of time, it’s all one big and insane roller coaster, which brought you even closer to the people you knew before and people that you just crossed paths with.
Oh and that taking things for granted thing? Is long gone now and you appreciate every single thing, every single minute and every single person.
YOU DON’T WANT TO LEAVE.
Travel Lessons on
Appreciating every single second
“What am I doing?!”
“How am I going to leave?
You’ve been saying goodbyes for the past month because you’re surrounded by travellers, people leave for short or long trips. You think what you’re feeling is already bad. But then the last week comes, the last weekend, the last day and the last night.
Those last hours and minutes with the old and new friends that you became so much closer to.. those moments make you so incredibly happy thanks to the souls that create them.
Your heart is slowly shattering…
..because you’re having the most incredible times.. times that of course, will not occur again because it’s impossible to go through exactly the same experiences – twice.
You think to yourself: “As hard as it usually is to say goodbye when travelling, it’s never been this hard..”
“Why now? Why this time?”
That’s exactly how I felt.
Travel Lessons on finally
Realising the changes within you
Then a few hours before my flight, my friend and I were laying on the grass like starfishes in our local park, listening to the most beautiful music, looking at the nearly full moon and I asked the question “Why is it so difficult now, why is it that I started becoming so much closer to certain people right before leaving?”
That’s when he gave me the answer. The answer that couldn’t be more on point and one that I will never forget.
At a place and time that made it as memorable as it can be.
“Because it takes time to find your way, it takes time to find the people you feel comfortable with, the people that are truly the ones (friend wise, or not). It took me over 6 months to find that right balance.”
And it hit me. Exactly what he said – those things started happening to me after I was in Taiwan for over 6 months.. I’ve started becoming my true, happy self. That opened the door for the right people, who make me realise who I want to be and how.
I’ve started letting go of any unwelcomed emotions. And it’s the most beautiful feeling ever.
Travel Lessons on..
the absolute confusion
Then you get on the plane and go through thousands of emotions.
Sleep deprived, emotionally unstable – one minute you cry because you’ve had the most incredible moments during the past year and a half travelling around, plus living in places you never thought your foot would step in.
The next minute tears start falling down your cheeks when realising how incredibly lucky but also sad you are. How happy you are to see your family in less than a day, to jump in your cosy bed and oh how much you’ve missed all the delicious food and all the other home comforts.
You try to calm down, distract yourself with the little TV screen in front of you or listen to the strange music it has to offer because you’ve probably lost your iPod somewhere in the world..
You’re tired but you can’t sleep, you’re so sad but you don’t want to cry. You seriously try hard not to worry about going back and fitting into the society, because let’s face it – you don’t want to go back to your old self. But can’t help but worry. All this fighting with your emotions all of a sudden leaves you completely lost and speechless.
You just stare into space and hope to fall asleep.
(Obviously, that isn’t working.)
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You watch the plane land, you walk through the customs dragging your ridiculously oversized hand luggage packed with all the presents. You’re happy, or at least you want to be happy, because you’re home!
You know your close ones are waiting just minutes away and you are, you really are happy to see them. But there’s this feeling that you cannot get rid of. Yout don’t exactly know what it is and why it’s there.
You’re walking like an emotionless robot.
Then the familiar faces appear plus the smile big on your face, you’re so happy to see them.
But the strange feeling doesn’t disappear for days, and you almost go in a bit of a shock – the jet lag, the emotions and everything together is so incredibly overwhelming that you just want to stay at home for a bit and understand what’s going on.
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And the Travel Lessons on acceptance
So why is it?
What is the strange feeling?
That feeling, is knowing deep down.. that those people you met and became so incredibly close with during your time away? The experiences you’ve had?
Even when you go back to exactly the same place – they most likely will not be there anymore.
But the days you give yourself to get back to normality will make you realise that this trip home is happening for a reason, and as long as you’ll believe in the positive outcome – it will be exactly what is needed, whether it’s for you, your family or other reasons.
You realise that as long as you are truly happy with yourself – no matter where you’ll be in the world, beautiful experiences and incredible people will come.
You just need to be the YES person, remember the lessons you’ve learned and not forget about any of it whether you’re at home or somewhere new.
Hope you enjoyed this article on the biggest Travel Lessons for me.
I also hope it can make you feel at ease knowing you’re not the only one feeling like this <3
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