7 Things You Learn Travelling That You Can’t Any Other Way

Nothing is more humbling.

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Travelling isn’t just about adventure or checking out of your real life to relax for a little while. It is those things, but it’s so much more; it opens our minds up to life lessons we can’t learn any other way.

Here’s what a plane ticket, a backpack and a guidebook gives you that no other experience can.

#1 Asking  For Things With Nothing But Your Hands

Only travelling will give you the ability to communicate with nothing but the look in your eye and a few hand gestures. When we’re at home, we never give a second thought to how easy holding a conversation is.

It teaches you that no matter what cultural or language barrier gets in the way, a smile is always well received.

#2 Currency Conversion At The Speed Of Light

Travel lessons

When you’re at home, you can hardly do simple maths without a calculator. Once you’re overseas, you’re figuring out complicated conversions almost to the cent. What can we say? Travelling makes us really smart.

#3 Talking To Complete Strangers

Striking up conversation with complete strangers just isn’t something we’d do at home. It’s too scary! Yet when we’re travelling, it’s pretty much necessary. Social anxiety be damned, we jump in head first.

Down the line, we’ll realise our confidence at work, speaking to new friends and delivering presentations comes from our nights spent at bars in Madrid.

#4 Being Humble

With our wardrobe filled to the brim with clothes, endless meals at our fingertips, running water and a usable car, we’ve got it pretty good. When we travel, it’s a whole other story. We have only a limited number of clothes to live on and we have to make do in hostels and campsites. We feel dirty all the time, we carry everything we own on our backs and we shower with thongs on.

We’re not interested in the latest sale at Zara or how new our car is because at the end of the day, that shit just doesn’t matter. The experiences do. It’s something you can only realise once you hit the road and break the bubble you’re in.

#5 How Terrible Australian Public Transport Is

Look, this isn’t a hard and fast rule – there are some cities where the public transport is worse than ours. But if you’ve ever been to Germany or Singapore or London, you’ll learn just how behind our public transport system really is. Yes, it’s a national shame. Yes, it probably has something to do with our “laid back” culture. Oh well, right?

#6 Your True Strengths (And Weaknesses)

It’s a total cliche to talk about how travelling is the key to finding yourself yourself but as David Foster Wallace said, “Cliches earned their status as cliches because they’re so obviously true”. Travelling puts a microscope to our fears, desires, strengths and weaknesses like no other activity does.

You’ll learn if you’re a people person or an introvert or if you can trick yourself to like beer or genuinely can’t the stuff. You’ll find out  how patient you are when standing in an endless queue for the catacombs. You’ll meet tonnes of people, many of whom you’ll bash heads with, and you’ll find yourself asking why.

#7 A True Sense Of History

It’s no secret that us Australians are a young bunch. Compared to the rest of the world, we’re mere infants to their wise, grandfatherly presence.

We can learn about the past in a history book but it’s not until you witness the enormity of it right in front of you that you’ll truly get it. Pompeii, the Great Wall, Machu Picchu – they need to be seen to be believed.