Traveling makes you feel alive in so many ways. It allows you to experience new things and to break down barriers that exist in your own mind. Traveling can also teach you a lot about yourself and the world around you; things you don't learn in school or by staying in your bubble. In many parts of the world (think Australia and parts of Europe), it's common, if not almost expected, to take a year after college to travel, do some soul searching, and learn about the world. So without further ado, the top 10 things you learn traveling that they don't teach you in school.
1.) It teaches you to be unafraid of failure. Failing is a natural part of life. It's going to happen at one point or another whether you like it or not. The quickest way to getting over your fear of failing is to simply go confidently in the direction of what you truly desire. In school we usually are advised to take the safe route. The sure bet, the one with the least amount of risk associated and an almost guaranteed reward. What traveling teaches you is that there is no reason to be afraid of something going wrong (which it will), and that everything will work out the way the Universe intended it to (which it also will).
2.) It teaches you to not sweat the small stuff. Much like life, traveling is often so hectic and unpredictable that mishaps are inevitable. What traveling helps you learn is to be patient and remain calm, to learn the difference between what you can and cannot control, and to shake off the little things. Ten things can go "wrong" in a day, but that doesn't have to mean it's a bad day. Traveling teaches you to embrace the bigger picture.
3.) It teaches you to have an open mind. Sure, we learn about other cultures in school and understand that there are differences in the way that people live. But how easy is it to remain in your comfort zone and claim you have an open mind while subconsciously still passing judgment on things you know nothing about? Traveling teaches you to open your mind in a way that is impossible when you stay put. Seeing and experiencing new cultures first hand and on someone else's turf actually forces you into a new perspective. When you become an outsider, you not only open your mind to different ways of life, you learn to appreciate diversity.
4.) It teaches a minimalist way of life. Go on a few long trips and you'll quickly learn that less is more when it comes to baggage. Traveling not only forces you to learn how to minimize for trips, it also teaches you to apply that idea to the rest of your life. It teaches you that material possessions do not equal happiness, and that everything you truly need already exists inside you. The idea is that the less material things you have, the more room you create for experiences, passion, and contentment.
5.) It teaches you how to communicate with more than words. You can study language in school, but oftentimes when you visit a country where you believe you're fluent, you'll find that you don't actually understand as much as you thought you did. There's no feeling quite like not knowing the language or norms of your surroundings. You are instantly forced into the present moment and have to come up with inventive ways to communicate. Traveling teaches you how to use universal things like body language, facial expressions, tone of voice and your surroundings to connect with people to successfully get your message across.
6.) It teaches you to be independent. School may teach us how to make friends, but traveling requires you to think for yourself, find your own way, and solve your own problems. It forces you to be okay with being alone. It teaches you to tune into yourself and explore who you are as a person without all of the possessions and people you have back home.
7.) It teaches you to be grateful for what you have. Traveling puts things into perspective in a way that nothing else can. Whether you're visiting a luxurious beach or a third world country, seeing other parts of the world gives a sense of appreciation for what you have and everything that has happened in your life to get you where you are.
8.) It teaches you to be spontaneous. Whenever you travel, opportunities you never saw coming are bound to arise. Traveling teaches you to be in the moment and how to say yes to things you thought you'd never do. It teaches you that flying by the seat of your pants generally leads to more exciting experiences. After all, you didn't buy a ticket to stay in your hostel and stick to the routine!
9.) It teaches you what you are truly passionate about. The purpose of traveling (and why it is so addicting) is to experience new things. Traveling opens up doors that would otherwise stay closed and allows you to explore anything and everything that excites your spirit. The more of the world you are able to experience, the more you find out what you really like and don't like. You'll also learn that time is a precious thing, so do what ignites you.
10.) It teaches you that happiness is the only thing that really matters. We're put on this earth for a very short time, and traveling shows you that out of all the paths you can take in life, you should always choose the one that makes you happy.