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Top Lessons From 9 Months of Travel

Updated on July 13, 2017

Points of Adventure

Washington, DC, USA:
Washington, DC, USA

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New York, NY, USA:
New York, NY, USA

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Panama City, Panama:
Panama City, Panama

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Bogotá, Bogota, Colombia:
Bogotá, Bogota, Colombia

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Cusco, Peru:
Cusco, Peru

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Buenos Aires:
Buenos Aires, Argentina

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El Nido, Palawan, Philippines:
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines

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Phnom Penh:
Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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Chiang Mai:
Chiang Mai, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai, Thailand

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Bali, Indonesia

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1) Nothing Goes As Planned

Learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable- because 90% of the time, you will be uncomfortable. Unless you have the budget to pay for 5 star hotels, first class airplane seats, and an unlimited supply of all inclusive resorts, you'll be bumped around a few time- or many.

Inconveniences might include-

  • Dropping your phone while zip-lining through a Filipino lagoon
  • Watching your GoPro get knocked out of your hand by a huge whale shark
  • Getting a concussion after falling off of a Peruvian bar
  • Stepping in a huge puddle of urine in Angkor Wat
  • Having your credit card hacked while sitting in an airplane terminal to Panama
  • Accidentally throwing your keys into a huge crowd at the Thai Full Moon Party

Did I lose my wallet? Twice. Did I cry? Oh, hell yes. Was I OK in the end? Of course.

There's a lot of crap that happens in between leaving home and coming home- a lot of it completely and utterly sucks- but it wouldn't be the same journey without a few bumps, and no story's ever been fun without a few scrapes.

2) You Will Never See People Again

Sure, there's Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter nowadays, but once someone is gone, you might just have to accept the fact that they're gone forever. And that's OK.

"The greatest victories are the people we meet along the way."

Over time, people seem like a distant dream. Did I really meet that cute Italian guy while waiting for my connection to Cusco? Am I ever going to see that funny Irish lad who I karaoke'd with ever again? Will they even remember who I am, if I ever run into them one day?

People come and go, and a lot of the time, they're not meant to stay in your life- and the earlier you accept that, the faster you can get to your next adventure. What's important is that you realize who you want to keep in your life- and when you figure that out, you need to make a conscious effort to have them stick around.

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3) Slow Down

A new place can be exciting- so exciting, in fact, that it's easy to cram everything into a short amount of time. Take it from one of the most fast-paced people in the world, traveling is better when taken one step at a time.

The world is great, I get it. But what's even more great is taking a whole day just to do yoga under an El Nido palm tree. Sure, tourists snapping their cameras and hustling along with their tour guide might seem tempting, but taking a few extra minutes to take in the serenity of an Amsterdam canal is worth it.

The world isn't going anywhere, so there's no need to rush the beauty of it.

4) Nothing Is as Serious as It Seems

Whether it's at a bar, at work, at home- it's not really a big deal.

Take it from the girl who used to cry from not getting enough attention from my friends, nothing except family, friends, and health is important when jet-setting over the world for 9 months.

It may seem like a huge thing in the moment, but once you take a step back and take a deep breath, it really won't. I promise you, once you learn to completely let go of all the little things, life will flow so much better than you could have ever imagined.

5) You Will Never Be the Same

Travel, my friend. Don't think too much into it- most of the time, your passport and suitcases are just waiting for you to hop on a plane. It doesn't have to be a huge adventure- it can be a little day trip to the nearest mountain, or a new restaurant in the next town over.

You will collect moments- laughing with new friends under a Thai sunset, diving off of a cliff hand-in-hand with a stranger, and hiking up a colossal mountain with a llama on one end and your roommate on the other. These moments are yours, and yours only. You will hold on to these moments while sitting in your bed, writing about your travels.

If there's one thing I tell people about what I've learned from my trips, it's that life is one big adventure. It will be confusing, bumpy, and gross at times, but we are meant to explore this vast world we live in- all we need to do it go.


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