There are times when travelling can really push you to your limits. Trying to research bus routes, train schedules, and find accommodations can be pretty stressful, especially when you’re trying to accomplish these tasks in a new country and a foreign language.
I’m not going to sugar coat it: there were more than a few instances on the road when I was thisclose to breaking into tears of frustration because of one setback after another. However, for all of the times that travelling has challenged me by forcing me to step out of my comfort zone, it has undoubtedly changed me for the better.
1. I LEARNED THAT I WAS STRONGER, SMARTER, AND MORE RESOURCEFUL THAN I GAVE MYSELF CREDIT FOR.
I’ve travelled to eight countries by myself and learned to tackle a whole bunch of shit on my own. From negotiating taxi fares to deciphering Asian maps to learning new languages, I had nobody to rely on but myself.
Funny enough, I’d consider one of the biggest challenges that I had to overcome was growing the balls to kill ginormous insects. I used to call my dad or husband to kill spiders and such but was put to the test one night in Nicaragua when a rainstorm brought an army of cockroaches into the halls of my guesthouse! From the hallway, they were crawling under the door into my room and I was beside myself. I allowed myself two minutes to hop on the bed and freak out (complete with panic tears and girly screams interspersed with a few “ohmygodohmygod” thrown in for good measure) until I forced myself to get down from the bed and kill those little fuckers. I squealed with disgust when I squished them (because I think we can all agree that crunchy insects are the worst) but now I can fortunately/unfortunately say that I’m able to handle killing creepy crawlies all by myself.
2. I LEARNED TO BE PRESENT.
You may have noticed that my Instagram feed doesn’t actually contain a lot of my daily life or in the moment snaps. That’s partly because I use Instagram through my iPod Touch and the camera quality is terrible (I may be one of the few people in the developed world who doesn’t have a fancy smartphone). It’s also partly because, despite having a public blog, I try to balance keeping a private life. I also detest when people live with their phone in their hand so I make a conscious effort to be present in what I’m doing and who I’m doing it with.
3. I MADE NEW FRIENDS.
This is an issue I’ve struggled with since I graduated university. Back then I made friends no problem. I’m 27 now and things have changed. Everyone seems to get settled into their routines - work, gym, shopping, church, whatever. It’s really easy to stop reaching out to new people. When you’re travelling on the road, though, everyone is new! Everyone has a story. There’s something about making new friends when travelling that just connects you in a special way. Expats will also know what I mean. These kinds of friendships have a tendency to be shorter but they’re still so meaningful.
4. I PRACTISE DAILY GRATITUDE.
When I was on my reading kick in Honduras, I became very inspired after finishing The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. One of the points that I took away from the book was developing a practice of daily gratitude. Almost every morning since January I’ve been making a list of three things I’m thankful for as soon as I wake up. In Central America I made a point of writing it down in a notebook but the faster pace of life in the States has caught up with me and I only do a mental checklist these days. Sometimes the items are serious and sometimes they’re superficial, but taking these few moments each morning while my mind is quiet and calm is a great way to remind myself that I’m very fortunate to have a beautiful life.
How has travel changed the way you live?
|Thankful for a chance to spend time with one of our best friends who was visiting from Canada (he actually introduced me and my husband)|
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