Many great things are said about travel – and most of them are true. Travel opens your eyes, broadens your horizons and makes you a wonderful storyteller. Sometimes it’s unexpected and sometimes it can be frustrating, but travel is always interesting. So, if you’re planning to go travelling in 2019 – amazing! Here are five things you should know before you set out on the adventure of a lifetime.
- The world is far more kind-hearted than the news wants us to believe.
Sometimes the news would have us believing that the world outside our front doors is a terrifying place. Perhaps you’ve already encountered someone who is immediately worried when you tell them that you are planning to go travelling. However, every experienced traveller will tell you that the world is far kinder than we are led to believe. Those who have visited countries around the world will always have a bunch of great stories about how kind and hospitable people are, from being offered homecooked meals to helped when they are lost.
Don’t believe the hype – when you travel, people are far, far more likely to be helpful and kind than to try to take advantage. Of course, it’s still a good idea to be aware of your surroundings, but don’t let fear or distrust stop you from experiencing the kindness and beauty of the world.
2. If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.
This quote from the late, great Nelson Mandela is not only beautiful, but also incredibly true. You can get around most countries with English and a smile (plus a few hand signals if times get tough), however learning just a few words of the local dialect will be so appreciated.
Even if it is just the most basic greetings, speaking in a person’s mother tongue immediately shows that you are making the effort and showing respect, as is sure to be well received. Don’t worry if your pronunciation is terrible – it will immediately draw a smile or laugh and break the ice!
3. Things not going to plan often ends up making the best memories of all.
No matter how well you prepare when you are planning to go travelling, chances are something will go awry on your trip. Perhaps you’ll miss a bus, or take a wrong turn and end up unable to find the little lunch place you’d heard about on Instagram. Don’t worry! Often these ‘disasters’ lead to the best travel memories of all; for example, the cute hidden café you end up dining at instead, or the conversation you have with a local while waiting for the next bus. Even the most seasoned of travellers have things go wrong on their trips – and they know there can always be a silver lining!
4. A little perspective – and space – goes a long way in deciding what you want from life.
We’ve all heard the stories about people returning from their travels, selling everything they own and doing a 180 in their life. Now, not everybody’s travel experience will have quite as dramatic of an impact, however it is certainly not unusual for people to do some reflection while abroad, which often leads to life changes of varying degrees.
One of the best things about travel is it gives you some distance from your everyday life, giving you a chance to slow down and really think about what you want. It could well be that on reflection you realise how happy you are with your life, or perhaps you develop some new goals, or even decide on a whole new path. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to use travel as an opportunity to really listen to yourself.
5. You are braver and more capable than you probably know.
We often underestimate ourselves. In academia, careers and everyday life, ‘the imposter syndrome’ is real – that’s the little voice in your head that squeaks ‘I can’t do this and it’s only a matter of time before everyone finds out!’ Travel is great for helping you to ignore that little voice, and also have some rebuttal for it next time it starts up.
Once you have navigated through a foreign country with only a few words of the local tongue and a big smile, acing that Monday morning presentation suddenly seems like child’s play. Often, we don’t realise how brave and capable we are until it’s actually tested through a new experience such as travel. The feeling of knowing that you jumped into the deep end and truly thrived is a serious confidence booster that lingers long after the holiday tan has faded.
There you have it – five things you should know if you are planning to go travelling in 2019, to make sure that you create amazing, lifelong memories abroad.