Each and every single one of our lives have changed this year, and each of us has adapted to living through a pandemic and trying to make peace with the unpredictable. By my own doing, I find myself subjected to my fourth lockdown in eight months in three different countries, twice in England. The situation here is serious and will remain serious for some time, but it is not without humour nor hope. I am not shy about my love for travel, because travelling is a huge part of my life, and that is something that I don’t see changing. I have made use of my time during this lockdown to look back on my adventures, and the things travel has taught me. Setting aside the beauty of the destinations themselves, and in no particular order, here is what my untamed travels have really taught me over the years and why what I’ve learned over time, is priceless.
Experiences are more valuable
Even though I have always leaned towards this approach to life, travel has taught me that I don’t need many possessions. I like things, nice things, but I’ve learned that I don’t need them. Believe it or not, you can survive with very, very little and get by perfectly fine - most people around the world do. Travelling forces you to pack very lightly, and being exposed to other cultures where people own far less, I sometimes found myself horrified at all the unnecessary things I own. Now I’m not denying that some possessions enhance your life (my penchant is technology) but if at the end of the day I had to choose, I would always choose to travel.
It’s never too late for anyone to change
Travel is all about change and it changes everyone, in one way or the other. It is a deeply introspective process that forces you to reflect on your life. Being away from home continuously allows me to think about my life in a more objective way and consider what I’d like to do differently when I get back. I don’t think anyone ever looks at life the same way again after travelling. Travel is transformational and it will change who you are to your very core. I know I’m biased because of the fact I write about travel, but my experience meeting others has shown me that travel changes you for the better.
To always be grateful
I grew up in a stereotypical Namibian household and the importance of manners were instilled into me from a young age. To be kind and to be grateful are hugely important and they’re also very good indicators to me if other people and I will be immediate friends. Some of the most wonderful places I have travelled to are engrained in my memory for the welcomes I received, the people I met and the experiences I had. It’s realising the effort that others put in and recognising when people have warm hearts, that makes me particularly grateful for my travels over the years.
Everyone around the world is tremendously different from one another. We all lead our own lives, have our own opinions, our own family, etc. We also tend not to interact with people of other cultures or people outside of our social circles. I’ve learned that the more I speak to people around the world on my travels, the more I see that we are all incredibly alike where it matters. We all just want love, security, validation, happiness and all that jazz. We obviously approach working towards those things in different ways but at the end of the day, we all have the same basic desires. Travel has taught me that I can relate to most people I meet along the way when I look past the superficial things that separate us.
Travel excites me more than I could ever say. It gives me the opportunity to learn new things, explore beautiful places and to embrace other cultures. I have found it impossible to embrace all that a place has to offer, but I can embrace the cultures of the people who call that place home. Travel is the world’s best teacher and time after time, it has shown me that with an open mind, a touch of serendipity, and a healthy supply of laughter - dramatically improves the quality of my life.