Installed: 20.2.2023 |: February 20, 2023
Traveling the world is like being a kid again. You don’t know what to do, where to go or how to act.
How do you stay safe?
How do you get around?
How do you communicate?
What are the cultural norms you should follow?
At each destination, you start from scratch and must relearn how to perform the most basic life skills.
You have to rely on the kindness of strangers. Without them to guide and teach you, you would be lost. From locals who give you rides, to people who help you when you’re hurt, to those who simply tell you where to go or invite you into their home, you need their guidance and help just like a child. needs an adult.
Every day on the road you learn what to do for the first time and how to rely on other people like a child.
Of course, this constant retraining is one of the tiring aspects of travel. It’s a lot of mental work, constantly figuring out who to trust, how to act, and how to get around. This is why long-distance travelers always slow down eventually (and why people who travel too fast burn out). After a while, you just can’t do it every day. Are you running out of mental energy? The brain burns.
But it is through this process that you really grow. You understand the world as you grew up in your hometown.
First, you need to learn how different countries operate. As the Henry Rawlings quote goes, “The best way to learn about your country is to leave it.” By repeatedly seeing how other places operate, you understand what your home country is doing right and wrong.
It also gives you endless opportunities to improve yourself and how you do things.
We live most of our lives on autopilot. We get up, go to work, run errands, watch Netflix, and the next day we do it all over again. We know where to eat, where to shop, how to get around and what places to avoid. We know the exact route to get to the grocery store, and we’ve done it so many times that we can just kind of zone out on the way there as we think about the million other things we have to do.
In our daily lives, we follow routines. Our minds don’t have to constantly do the “work” to figure out how to live.
And any book on psychology will tell you how important it is to act as an adult. We need a routine because we have so much bandwidth to make decisions in a day. Routine allows our brain to work better and focus on more important tasks. We couldn’t function without autopilot.
But on the road you don’t have routines. Every place and situation is new. Everything you do requires active decision making.
Consider just finding a place to eat. In a new destination, if and when you find a restaurant, you don’t know what to order, what’s good, what’s bad. It’s all a mystery. Every time you want to eat, you have to decide. Will I like the food?
But learning how to decide where to eat over and over again helps you improve those processes. In this case, you get to know the universal tips about what makes a good restaurant. You learn to eat alone. You study what you like.
Whether it’s finding something to eat, how to get around, figuring out how to find information, or learning to trust people, I think because we travelers have to do it so much, we develop so many different mental pathways, that we are better at making decisions. generally than most people. We just have more experience.
The same goes for relationships with people. Because language isn’t universal, I have to figure out every day how to communicate with people who don’t understand me (and vice versa).
But having done it so many times, I’ve gotten a better read on people than I would have if I only ever met those who live in my hometown. That constant, taxing work that is consumed pays dividends over a lifetime by better communicating, communicating and understanding different people.
And in the end, all this work makes you a more independent, confident and mature person. You grow up with a better understanding of who you are, what you want, and how the world works.
Traveling can be a lot of work. It can be mentally taxing. And it can make you feel like you’ve regressed as an adult as you wander helplessly from destination to destination. But ultimately, all that transformation makes you a better person.
Book your trip. logistics tips and tricks
Book your flight
Find a cheap flight using Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines worldwide, so you always know that no stone is left unturned.
Book your accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as it consistently returns the cheapest prices for guesthouses and hotels.
Don’t forget about travel insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft and cancellation. It’s comprehensive protection should something go wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I have had to use it many times before. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
Want to travel for free?
Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodations. They are the ones who make me travel so little. Check out my guide to choosing the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.
Ready to book your trip?
Check out my resources page for the best companies to use when traveling. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.