15 Life Lessons That Only Travel Can Teach Us

As stress, cares, and worries melted away during my time in Portugal this summer, I noticed how much joy and happiness travel brings. I learned valuable life lessons. I believe a lot of it is because most people live – and experience living – vastly different while they travel.
But what if we applied these same simple life lessons to our everyday life? Perhaps it would make the everyday more like a vacation. In my mind, it’s similar to applying a meditation or yoga practice to your life. Let’s apply a “travel practice” to our lives, shall we?
Looking to travel on the cheap? Read this.

Here are 15 life lessons that travel teaches us:


1. Balance: find time for activities, but make time to relax.

Sure, there’s always plenty to see and do. Whether you’re on vacation or in your hometown, you can find much enjoyment in the “doing.” Just be sure you balance the “doing” with an equal amount of relaxing. Taking time to simply “be” gives you the energy you’ll need for the activities. Find your balance.

2. Allow yourself to get lost.

Don’t follow the crowd! You never know what opportunities or adventures are waiting for you around the corner. Like the old adage: those who wander are not necessarily lost.

3. Take risks.

Risk and you shall receive. Facing adversity willingly is one of the greatest virtues, and will yield the biggest rewards.

4. Talk to people.

Listen to their story . . . tell them yours! People are amazing, inspiring, and unique. And guess what? They feel the same about you! Being open to meeting new people is a great way to learn about the world. And who knows – you might make a friend or two along the way!

5. Only acquire possessions that are truly meaningful and unique.

The baggage will weigh you down. And ain’t nobody got extra money for overweight baggage fees! And if you feel the need to show your loved ones that you were thinking about them while you were away…send a postcard. Don’t bog yourself down with unnecessary clutter. The less you have to worry about, the more spontaneous you can be! Material possessions only mean so much compared to the wealth that lies within.

6. Put your phone away.

If you’re traveling internationally it’s probably not gonna work anyway, which makes it even easier to stash it. When you travel, it becomes so apparent how much you actually don’t need to be connected ALL THE TIME. Even when you’re not traveling, challenge yourself to some phone-free time every day.

7. Treat yourself to cheese, carbs, and wine.

Based on my own extensive research, it never killed anyone. Referring back to the lesson of #1, it’s all about balance. Eating well most of the time allows you to splurge occasionally and actually enjoy it—savor it—and not feel guilty about it. Dig in!


8. Stressing out about work is a waste of time and energy.

It’s funny how much life and work can survive without you, and without all the stress you put into it. When you’re away from the hustle and bustle just living your life and giving zero f*cks, life just seems sweeter.

9. Document, document, document.

Keep a journal, take pictures, draw a picture, or write a poem. Every moment is beautiful but also fleeting, and your brain can only capture so much.

10. Pack your lunch and have a picnic.

Put value in the time you spend eating. Savor each bite against a beautiful backdrop: a local park, your own backyard, whatever your heart desires!

11. Pay attention to the details.

Architecture, smells, what the sidewalk is made of, signs in the metro, the sound an ambulance makes in another country, slight shifts in temperature…the list goes on. Whether you’re in a foreign land or driving down your own street, take time to notice, appreciate, and savor the little things!

12. Take your coffee . . . to stay.

You know how they say, “Stop to smell the roses?” Well, when was the last time you stopped to sip the coffee (or tea or whatever the heck you drink)? It’s easy to let your daily routines turn into just that: routine. So switch it up! Bonus points for being ‘green’ and saving a to-go cup.

13. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Being lost in a foreign place is not only scary, but frustrating. It’s. Ok. To. Ask. For. Directions… or how to use the ticket machine… or what the best dish is on the menu. Same in non-vacation life. When you’re a little lost, ask. Someone is bound to have some great advice.

14. Accept change, embrace differences.

What’s normal to you isn’t normal to everyone else. Step into their ‘normal’ and see how it feels. It might feel weird, but weird in a new and cool way. Change is good!

15. Take some deep breaths and take it all in.

NOW doesn’t have a ‘next time.’

Embrace These Life Lessons and Get Out There!

Here’s to feeling liberated and stress-free whether you’re traveling abroad or reading this from your living room. Those are the life lessons traveling really teaches us.

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10 Tips for Traveling on the Cheap
We know that having a great vacation for less money is ideal. Saving money while traveling reduces stress and allows you to do more, which is why we’ve compiled these 10 tips for getting the most out of your vacation, and saving money while you do it.
Read »

Andrea Palesh

Andrea Palesh is a freelance dancer and writer living in New York City. She turned to yoga as a means to become a stronger dancer, not knowing the profound effects her yoga practice would have on her entire life. A mover by nature, she embraces change, challenges routine, and rarely turns down an opportunity to bust a move on the dance floor. If she’s not dancing, you can probably find her doing one of the following things: crafting, traveling, or eating popcorn.

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