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5 Lessons Travel Will Teach You

Lanterns, Kangaroo, Melbourne monument, elephant, and lanterns

You may have been wondering where I’ve been for the last couple of months. Truth be told, I was fully immersing myself in the beauty of Asia and Australia. I decided to put my routine on hold and just live the unique experience that the universe gifted me. 

I’m back to real life now. Work, sun, and more work, but that doesn’t mean I don’t find inspiration in the most unexpected places. Like what happened this morning when I had coffee with someone new.

I didn’t manage to fully document my trip, but that was because I was too busy walking my path of self-discovery. The biggest lesson I learnt is that sometimes we need to take a step back from what we think we should be doing and just let things unfold on their own. 

It was only when I realised this one day in Siem Reap that I really started to discover what was the most magical experience of my life. 

I have so much to share about my trip that I could write a book. That might be juuuust a tiny bit long for a blog post, so I decided to squeeze them into the five major lessons.

1. Find the Peace within the Chaos

Southeast Asia is full of motorbikes, people hustling and bustling around, and vendors trying to sell food, coconuts, and household items. Yet you’ll walk into markets and see people curled up and fast asleep in their stalls. You’ll also find a lot of family businesses and locals who sell their crops and handmade items. 

Life in 2023 is all about work, success, earning money, and everything else that goes with this fast-paced life we live. It’s so chaotic that we forget about the most important things in life: zen and peace within ourselves, happiness, and quality time with loved ones. 

Take the time to find the peace within the chaos, sit and admire the sunset, take a moment to meditate, and just be in the moment with the people you love.

Work is essential, I mean, none of us can live without money, but a high salary isn’t the most important thing in life.

2. Take Time to Discover Yourself

I thought I knew what I wanted. Thing is, what I wanted constantly changed. I wanted to travel, then I wanted to settle, then I wanted to try something new, and then I wanted to settle again. I couldn’t decide, but each time I had a new idea, I was sure that was what I wanted.

Until I got back to Málaga. I realised then that this is my home, at least for the time being, and I got to this point of feeling settled with my decision by going through the experience. I found my peace and my zen. I overcame fears and identity issues. Most importantly, what I truly wanted became clear to me.

I got there by putting myself out there by speaking to strangers and living the experience. Stepping out of my routine and my comfort zone taught me more about myself than the cultures I was experiencing. By travelling solo, I discovered corners of my personality and my mind that I did not know even existed. I got to know myself on a whole new level.

3. Stop to Smell the Flowers

I mean, actually, stop. Feel the texture of the leaves, take the time to smell the perfume of the flowers, and close your eyes as you do so. Vision is the most powerful of the senses, and removing that allows you to experience the other senses more intensely. 

This is something I have always done, but doing it during my travels encouraged me to do it in other scenarios. I’d sit in a restaurant and close my eyes as I listened to other people speak in different languages. I walked through fields and took in the smell of the grass, and I ran my hands over wooden bridges as I imagined what the emperors who walked across were like. 

Experiencing cultures through different senses gives you a completely different perspective on what you are seeing. Closing my eyes at the Kuang Si Falls in Luang Prabang put me right there under them – I could almost feel the water. Doing the same while in the Blue Mountains in Sydney made me appreciate silence. Close your eyes and use your other senses. I promise you’ll be amazed at what your mind creates.

4. People Don’t Bite

Someone who I hadn’t spoken to in 3 years called me this week. When I told him I’d been to Asia, his response was, “You went to Asia? But you hate being around people.” Yep.

Anyone who knew me even one year ago would be shocked that I actually went to the most populated corner of the world, but it was something I needed to do, and I realised that people don’t bite. Shocking, I know, but it’s true.

I started to relax when I was unwell in Hanoi when someone on a tour I was on took care of me. Seeing how this stranger cared for me pushed me to speak to random people on the street. The first one was tough, but then it got easier and easier. After a while, people started speaking to me. I let go and started making friends. 

Then I got to Siem Reap and the owner of the Airbnb was incredibly nice to me. He showed me the city on his motorbike, accompanied me for dinner, and introduced me to his friends. What did he want in return? Absolutely nothing. 

This was when I realised this was an experience I needed to be fully present in. I needed to live it, not document it.

Si vous lisez ceci, merci. Je suis reconnaissant.

5. Expect the Unexpected

Probably the most important lesson I learnt. Going on a hot air balloon despite my fear of heights, getting hit on while wearing travel clothes and looking my worst, speaking to strangers, and bonding with an elephant – all things that I was not expecting.

I knew where I was going, and I knew what I was going to do, but I never expected plans to change, things to happen, and people to cross my path. Guess what? I got sick, I met people, and my plans changed.

It was all part of the fun, and although I may have felt frustrated and stressed at times, these unexpected occurrences showed me how resourceful I can be when needed. I also encountered people and places that I may not have found had things gone as I expected.

I did not just meet backpackers. I met people who are now my friends, I met people who came to me with life lessons, but best of all, I met myself. 

Final Thoughts

Let’s be real, a trip like this is expensive. I’m not shy to admit that I spent all my savings, but I was prepared to start from zero when returning to Spain. This experience is something that has changed me. I’ve learnt invaluable lessons that I will carry around with me for the rest of my life. 

I needed it much more than I thought. Simply disconnecting from the real world and fully immersing oneself into a new experience, alone, is something I would recommend everyone does at some point in their life.

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