21 things travelling has taught me

I’ve been on the road now for just about eight months. I’ve visited two continents, taken 12 flights, reversed my round-the-world ticket back to South America, lost track of the number of bus journeys I’ve taken, crossed borders on foot in the middle of the night, got told off for trying to climb a glacier at 5,200m and met too many people to keep count.

And, despite this not being a ‘find-myself’ trip, I’ve realised a few things along the way.

  1. A light backpack has everything to do with happiness. It took me six months to figure out what I did and didn’t need but I think I’m now on the right track.
  2. Leaving stuff in hostels is great when going off on tours or treks; giving stuff away is even better because it makes someone else happy too.
  3. Quinoa is magical food. I am in love with quinoa and vegetable soup.
  4. Whilst we’re on food, I don’t crave chocolate in hot climates as much as I do in the UK.
  5. The quickest way to cool down is to take off your hiking shoes or trainers. Others might not thank you for it but it works.
  6. Saying yes to new experiences can make you happy and proud or in some cases, sick and ill
  7. I can do all sorts of stuff by myself and I like my own company.
  8. But! I need social contact and travelling solo does get lonely at times. There’s so much joy in sharing travelling moments when you’re with the right person or people. I’m now ready to travel with some other people.
  9. I’ve become less tolerant of people who annoy me, particularly rude travellers.
  10. Age is just a number; attitude and experience are so much more important. I’ve met some annoying older and younger travellers, and some awesome ones too. Age irrelevant.
  11. Hitchhiking is a great way to get around but don’t do it alone, especially not as a female. But I did do it, and I got lucky, and I actually met some good, good people as a result.
  12. Solo travel opens up many more random opportunities and experiences.
  13. I love to dance and laugh, and I don’t do it nearly enough. I think I’m still a bit inhibited. Trying to belly dance in New Zealand was fun and started to loosen me up a little.
  14. A spare camera battery is a must. In Bolivia I was on a bus ride with the most amazing scenery and my camera died. Where I stayed that night had no electricity to recharge. Be prepared!
  15. The main awkwardness of dining alone is other people’s awkwardness.
  16. If I wasn’t writing about my travels, I would probably get pretty lost, like many other travellers I’ve met. I think that there needs to be a point, a purpose to one’s travels beyond the three month mark.
  17. Wear sunscreen! Needs no further explanation!
  18. I haven’t really missed my job or professional identity. This is different to not wanting to work. I have worked and volunteered and it felt good on so many levels.
  19. Since my Peru accident, I’ll always wear a bike helmet. In Byron Bay in Australia, people cruise around topless and sans-helmet. I looked less cool, but I didn’t care.
  20. Facebook and Skype have stopped being my enemies. On the road, I understand their value. I talk to my family, send photos through to my friends, keep up to date with what’s going on outside of my little world.
  21. Travelling indefinitely is maybe not the ideal after all. I realise I need to settle in places for a little while every now and then.


Filed under australia, bolivia, brazil, culture, dancing, ecuador, health, new zealand, peru, random, solo travel, south america, travel

17 responses to “21 things travelling has taught me

  1. Great list. It’s nice to come across a list that really represents what I thought 2. I completely agree with the need for purpose and really wish when I travelled I got myself a netbook and thought to blog about it. Would have given life some direction and made things seem less aimless. And I couldn’t agree with number 21 enough, I spent 8 weeks in phnom penh once and the reason it was the best place I have ever been is because I ‘lived’ it rather than just saw it. I really experienced it to a greater extent. Moving around constantly is so exciting for the first couple of months.. but ur right .. post 3 months, I started to take it for granted, which is sad.

    • Yep, I’ve chatted to a lot of people who seem to just be going through the motions and are a bit bored by what would otherwise be amazing experiences. A bit of settling and reflection can never be a bad thing I realise. Thanks for your comment and feedback!

  2. I’m with you in 5, 7 and 12 – these happen to me a lot but all the others make a lot of sense, of course.

  3. Good lessons to learn. You’ve inspired me! One day soon I’ll post my own list of things I’ve learned while abroad.

  4. Perfect. Age – right on. Batteries – oh, yeah! Job – oh, well. Solo traveling AND dining alone – fantastic. And in a bit of whimsy, to quote Dougas Adams, “Always bring a towel.” Great post.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post. I still haven’t read the Hitchhikers Guide… trying to get through a few cult classics on my travels so maybe now would be a good time… thanks for the reminder!

  5. liz

    i reaaaaaly want to travel like you. fabulous post!

  6. I am absolutely with you on most of the list, just need to try Quinoa. So many similar thoughts and experiences, just a different continent! Great list. I have been putting my own similar one together over the past few weeks, now I’ve passed the 3 month point & travelling alone. Much love from Vietnam x

    • Eating quinoa soup as I reply to this! Unfortunately just found a stone in it (at least it wasn’t a broken tooth!) so my first disappointment… but still tastes great and is full of goodness.

  7. I’m enjoying your blog! I’m also jealous that you’re on such a nice long trip- I’m booked for only 4 months, and am one month in, enjoying the relative comforts of Australia before continuing on to SE Asia. Have you been there yet? 🙂

    • Thanks for popping by and commenting! Four months is a good time for a trip – enough to get into it but knowing you can return to the comforts and familiarity of home before too long. I´ve been to Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia in SE Asia but don´t feel like I´ve seen nearly enough of the place and would love to go back… and I´d love to go to Vietnam. I´m sure you´ll love it! I will check your blog for updates. Enjoy your travels.

  8. Thanks for popping by my blog. I am setting off on my trip next week so I do hope you will follow my blog to hear more. I love your travel tips and will definately be following for updates.

  9. Pingback: Sign up now: quest for blog success | travelola

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