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8 Lessons I Probably Should Have Learnt While Travelling the World

8 Lessons I Probably Should Have Learnt While Travelling the World

I’ve started feeling self conscious lately, both as a traveller and a blogger. So many others are writing about how much they’ve learnt while travelling and how much the experience has changed them. What have I learnt? Well, I did learn how to snorkel, and to explain, in Spanish, how delicious the meal I just ate was. I also learnt that Dracula probably wasn’t a real vampire and that eating pupusas (deep fried corn things) for 4 days straight will lead to sickness. These things that I’ve learnt seem shallow compared to other bloggers, so I thought I’d share some of their lessons with you and give you my take on them.

I, as a travel blogger, am basically responsible for saving the world from a (cubical) Armageddon

Superman saved the world all the time and he didn’t even blog, so it should be even easier for me. There seems to be a real backlash in the travel blogging community against the cubical lifestyle. Soul destroying is one phrase used to describe it, which is a little harsh if you’ve chosen that as your life. Is it really that bad? I’ve never worked in a cubical myself so I have no idea, but I’m sure a lot of people who work in them have functioning souls.

Further reading: 5 Reasons why You Shouldn’t Quit Your Job to Travel

It’s about the journey, not the destination

After about the 20th long distance bus ride you’ll start to realise this isn’t always true. Travel days have quickly become my version of Mondays – they are often days to dread and get through than to really enjoy.


We spent almost 2 days on this boat – our longest travel day

Everybody can (and should) travel

Try telling that to slum dwellers in Guatemala City. Travel, especially long term travel, is a luxury that so few of us will ever get the opportunity to do. In the quest to appear inspirational, a lot of travel bloggers say that everyone should travel and their lives will have no meaning unless they do.  They say that those who don’t travel are just scared or making excuses. Travel is great, but some people will never get the chance to do it, they have far more important things to spend their money on.

Further reading: What is Long-Term Travel Really Like?

Travel is about becoming a better person

Does travel really need to be about learning and becoming a better person? Can’t it just be fun? A lot of people seem to think you become better when you travel, but I think it just makes some people more arrogant. If you constantly have to tell people how much better you are now that you’re travelling it probably means the opposite.

Further reading: 7 Tips on How to Be a Real Traveller

You absolutely need travel insurance

Every time I’ve seen this on one of these lists there’s been an affiliate link attached (so if you click on it and buy something that person gets money). If I ever bother to get into affiliate links this section will change to something like “You definitely need travel insurance or your trip will end in tears so click on this link so I’ll get money” – stay tuned for that. You probably should get travel insurance though…

There is no such thing as a mistake

Well, except for that time I drunk the tap water a policeman gave me in China and got really sick while sleeping in a dorm. No good came from that.


I got sick soon after seeing this amazing place

There is beauty everywhere

People that say that clearly haven’t been to Medan, Indonesia. That definitely isn’t an attractive city. Sure, there are friendly people in Medan and I didn’t entirely hate the short amount of time I spent there, but there are better places in Indonesia to travel to. Travel writers tend to skip writing about places they didn’t like and heap praise on destinations that might not be so deserving of it. We’ll never be able to see the whole world, and skipping the dull, unattractive towns doesn’t mean you’re a bad traveller.

It’s my job to inspire you

I could do this by posting endless photos with quotes in the hope you’ll wake up from your sad existence and travel like me. Every good blogger knows it’s all about inspiration. I don’t do nearly enough in that regard, but does the world need another inspirational blogger? Aren’t people sick of being told how to live their lives? Is seeing yet another travel quote going to inspire you to do something you probably don’t really want to do anyway?

Further reading: How to Make People Jealous with Your Photos from the Road

What have you learnt while travelling? Let me know!

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who hates talking about himself in the third person and has no imagination when it comes to naming websites.


Wednesday 21st of October 2015

Totally agree. Myths are debunked endlessly every time you set off. You realise how wrong or how right you were which is completely necessary. Most important thing though, is making the good out of the bad! Nicely done post.

Jon Algie

Thursday 22nd of October 2015

Cheers Bryan, thanks for reading!

Traveling Rockhopper

Tuesday 22nd of September 2015

Very nice and positive post!

Jon Algie

Tuesday 22nd of September 2015



Sunday 20th of September 2015

I really liked this post - make a very refreshing change from the endless inspirational stories that all end up being very much the same...

Jon Algie

Monday 21st of September 2015

Cheers John!

Natasha Amar

Sunday 20th of September 2015

Love this post Jon and just how no-nonsense and no-fluff it is. You tell it like it is and not through some overly optimistic rose-colored glasses. It makes me think of this quote by Thomas Fuller- 'If an ass goes travelling, he won't come home a horse.'

Jon Algie

Monday 21st of September 2015

Cheers Natasha - that's the kind of travel quote I like!

Katrina the Two Week Traveler

Sunday 20th of September 2015

Great post. I find myself gravitating towards somewhat...cynical posts these days. I'm tired of reading why everything is awesome when we all know it's not. But cubicle life is pretty depressing. So is not having money. It's all a trade off.

Jon Algie

Sunday 20th of September 2015

Thanks Katrina, I figured the internet didn't need another "What I learnt while travelling" article!