9 Things to Learn When Traveling Alone
Get up and Go. Traveling and creating a journey is fun. It’s something I recommend. Many want to go on a remote island vacation or to visit an African jungle. Whatever is on your ‘Bucket list,’ whether traveling alone, on a vacation, or on a business trip, travel offers personal lessons. Here are 9 travel lessons and and my favorite travel tips.
9 Things to Learn When Traveling Alone, Travel Tips
There are tons to learn from travel. The life experiences gained from traveling that are worth more than the cost of the trip. To learn from the world around, look carefully at the obvious. Try to meet the people. People are the best part of traveling. Many people return home with photos and the memory of what they have seen, but when traveling alone, take a good look at the person on the journey. Self-learning is fun. I learn lessons about myself; these lessons are about my personal journey.
1. Stay Open
Am I, every alone? The world has over seven billion people. Most of the places I go, always have someone to connect with and help me along my way. I find that people are everywhere and eager to help. There are no barriers between one culture and another unless I put them there. However, it is wise to respect and follow cultural norms. Keep an open mind, a friendly attitude, and be grateful.
Knowing this helps my daily life, as well as when I am traveling alone or with friends.
2. Be a Continuous Learner
Travel tip 2 is I embrace that I am not alone in this big amazing world when traveling. My company is not bad and I enjoy being alone. I think about how I’m getting along with people. If I feel some adjustments are needed my attitude adjustment gear kicks in based on the situation. Learning from others feedback is an important part of traveling. Continuous learning is part of traveling.
Lots of people are better off than me, and there are people less well-off than me. See how others live, react in situations and accept help is important to observe. If things aren’t going well, ask, “what can I learn from this to improve me.” Even if someone gets upset with me, it’s a learning opportunity. Greet stressful situations with compassion, kindness and realize maybe ‘it’s their bad day’. I may be tripping their reaction, and it doesn’t make my day bad. Good or Bad, right or wrong, it is always a learning opportunity.
3. Try New Things
Perhaps, the most important lesson to learn while traveling alone is about getting out of my comfort zone. I try doing things that are new, that I haven’t done before. As I strike out on my journey, there are probably things I like and don’t like. Try not to be stuck in the way it was done before. I try new things when I am on vacation, like para-gliding even though I am afraid of heights. It’s safe to fail when I am on holiday. Falling out the sky isn’t the best experience, but, if with a professional guide this isn’t going to happen. There aren’t too many embarrassing situations that could happen. And if they do happen, after all, I may never see these people again.
I open my mind and soul, and this brings new opportunities. Sometimes the things I have never done before are the best part of the trip. Maybe being out of my comfort zone is the reason for my journey. May be it’s a new person, experience, or activity, but I try something new every trip. I do something different every time I trek out on my new adventures.
My travel tip is whether I am at home or anywhere around the world, I try new things.
4. Practice Gratitude
A lifetime of hope and gratitude serves me well. Look for the positive. My cup is full rather than half empty. My world journey is actually about the unknown and the things outside of my control.
I don’t have to control over anything; it comes as it may. Starting y trip with a date and an end date, and I generally know what I want to do. If it happens great, if not, I am ok with change.
Traveling alone helps me give up control and forces me to be ‘at the moment.’ I am grateful.
I try to stay grateful for everything. Now, I am human; sometimes I have challenges like anyone.
Therefore, all the changes, the mundane and exceptional events I accept. My experiences are meant to be. If I miss a train or plane, it’s ok with me. I wasn’t supposed to be on it. This attitude brings me more opportunities. Be grateful. My life, opportunities, and the uniqueness of my life and me are by design. Knowing and believing this frees me.
5. Mistakes Are Opportunities
If good and evil all are equal, then everything is something, and every experience benefits me and is valuable.
Mistakes are positive, and learning opportunities for me. I don’t worry about the other guy, I focus on my reaction, my breathing and slow it down. It’s about what I can do. I do care about the other person, and try to put them first, unless
Always care about the other person, I try to put them first unless it’s illegal, immoral or unethical. By controlling my reaction, and attitude I can gain from a mistake and try to turn it into a positive.
I learn opportunities come from the people I hang out with. Simply my practical advice is: don’t hang out with the wrong person or people, drink too much, spend too much, or do dangerous things. Therefore, if warning signs are ignored the best idea, is to stop and leave when every it is unsafe. But again, turning everything around into a benefit for me is how I learn from my mistakes.
6. Ask for Directions
All of us love our comfort zone. I am directionally impaired. Some people are worse with directions than me. By helping others, I improve my directional impairment. For example, my friend, who gets lost more than I do, always asks for directions from me after we take a class. I lead her to the freeway, she follows me to the freeway ramp and I feel happy to help her. By helping her, I improve.
At home, I know how to get around. When I am going to the store, dentist or shops it’s comfortable, but, when I am out traveling, I get lost. I assume I will make it to my destination even if I get lost. It may take me longer, but I will get there, eventually. Leaving a little extra time makes it less stressful.
Sometimes facing my fears is very helpful and improves my skills. If I don’t know a new location or place, this shouldn’t take me out of my comfort zone or automatically make me uncomfortable. I slow down, so I have time to think.
Embrace change, learn how to find directions and ask for help if needed. I will survive. I learn to get around as a traveler alone with the help from good people around me. Remember people want to help, it makes them feel good to be helpful. In Italy, I became better at finding my way around. Once, I learned how to ask for directions and how to follow an Italian GPS system, in Italy I seemed to be less directionally impaired. I still got lost lots of times, but, nothing dreadful, and my Italian improved.
7. Learn a Culture or a Few Foreign Words
Culture, history and a few words in a foreign language are natural and easily absorb when traveling, especially when I’m traveling alone. My personal belief is that textbook culture lessons and history in guidebooks are very useful. But, history and culture learned from real people, based on local peoples’ opinions is more valuable and teaches me life lessons.
I learned about Romanian culture talking to a person on a Romanian tour. I learned about Egypt by living with an Egyptian family and the Turkish music scene from an amazing woman in Istanbul in the music business. The people who live where I am visiting are my best teachers. The real meaning of travel, to me, is about culture, people, and their beliefs.
While I’m physically in the country, I embrace the local culture, such as eatting late, drinking or not drinking based on the culture. In conclusion, I take everything in, photograph lots of places and people, write a journal, do sketches, but, learn about my destination, from the people and experience.
8. Slow Down
I hear from friends that I go too fast. So I slow down. I have doubts, like everyone. But, when in doubt I am probably not. I follow my gut and instincts. If I can’t feel my instincts, I slow down. If I can’t hear my gut, it’s time to slow down and to think, until I can. I say to myself, hum, ‘not now let me think.’ This little phrase slows me down. It gives me time to listen and to think and reminds me not react. Slowing down gives me time to hear my thoughts and to apply what I know is true or my instincts.
9. Failure is Success
Recently, I told an embarrassing story, and my niece asked me why I shared a story that might embarrass me. We were sightseeing in Seattle, I don’t see her very often, and we chatted non-stop.
The story shared had relevance to her medical studies; I thought it might be worth repeating to her students some day. (no real names of course.) It is a story directly relevant to medical ethics. I’ve never learned from my successes, but, I learn from my failures. I have failed lots more than my successes. Embarrassed, I still shared the story because it seemed like the right thing to do. My story was one of my biggest life lessons. It taught me to take fewer risks. Wish I could say I hadn’t embarrassed myself before, but I have and will again. But, that is ok, I try never to make a mistake twice.
I learn from my failures. Sharing my failures, being vulnerable multiplies the success. So that is why shared my failure and the story. I learn from failure, by sharing hopefully my failures benefit me and someone else.
Actually, that is why I share my stories on Where in the World is Kate, I hope it helps someone else.
Travel tips: Meet someone new, embrace new locations, learn something new, about another culture, history and religion.
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