9 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 actually a vampire and that eating pupusas (deep fried corn things) for 4 days straight will lead to sickness. All these things that I’ve learnt seem so shallow compared to other bloggers though, 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 (and I’m not allergic to kryptonite, although a bullet to the face might be a different story). There seems to be a real backlash in the travel blogging community against the “cubical” lifestyle. Soul destroying is one phrase I’ve seen 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 functional 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.
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!
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.
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.
The world is full of good people
I recently read a statistic that said 37% of men in Guateng Provence, South Africa admitted to raping a woman. Are they all “good people”? A lot of travel writers paint the picture that the world is full of love and peace and everyone just wants to be happy. The whole notion of “authentic travel” and befriending locals is great, but we shouldn’t forget that there are bad people out there, and whether you’re travelling in New Zealand or Mexico, you should try and avoid them.
Further reading: The case of travel blogger Harry Devert is a good example of this.
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!