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What Traveling Has Taught Me

Listen While Reading:  I Can Change // LCD Soundsystem.

“It is not better, it is not wore, it is different and different is good.” 

The greatest experience happened my senior year of high school when I traveled to Asia for the first time on a one month trip to Vietnam and China. It was an every-day learning adventure that I am grateful for.

Traveling is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself or others. At the age of 20, I already visited 20 different countries. For some people that may seem like a lot and for some it may seem like a little but for me, it’s just enough. Enough to know that there is so much more in the world to see and experience. Each place had its own glory in its own way and that’s what made them different from each other.

The places I went to were all amazing places. They were also the most eye-opening places I’ve ever been to. The people were so nice and the food was amazing. When you visit places that are completely different from everything you’re used to, it gives you some kind of perspective.

“New places, new people; new perspective.” 

One of the things this trip taught me was that life is about so much more than money. I already knew this but it didn’t really hit me until I experienced it first hand. You feel both happy and sad for the people you meet in a way that cannot be explained unless you experienced it yourself. The way they make the most out of everything they have is something we all could learn from. Watching kids play with nothing but a football and with smiles on their faces or watching the joy in strangers eyes when you smiled at them.

1. Traveling makes you slow down and just be present. I recall several times during my trip that I had to stop everything I was doing and just have a moment to breathe and let it all in. The surroundings and the people and the noises and the smells and everything in-between.

2. Traveling teaches you to be spontaneous. I am not the most spontaneous person and I like it when I have a schedule I can follow to know exactly what I am doing. When you’re away you never know what you’ll find down the road and learn to live in the now. When you travel you are in unfamiliar territory and therefore you can never expect what will happen next. Enjoy it and let go of control.

3. A break from social media. When you’re traveling you can never count on Internet and WiFi. When you spend your days off the phone you slowly realize that you don’t really need it and you just get used to it.

4. Traveling makes you step out of your comfort zone. Traveling definitely forces you to think outside the box. Whether you have to deal with delayed flights, or you were left stranded at the airport overnight, staying in a hotel room with no hot water and plenty of bugs, trying to explain something to someone who speaks in a language completely foreign to you – with other words, traveling can be challenging… but challenging is great for the mind and it helps you grow! Traveling will make you step out of your comfort zone and force you to get used to different tastes, people, and situations that would usually make you cringe back home.

5. Appreciate what you have. There are so many people who have so much less than you. The next time you complain about your dinner or not getting it your way, just remember you are privileged to have a roof over your head and food on the table every day.

6. Get to know the locals. Talk to strangers and you will find yourself in the middle of a great conversation.

Sometimes you need to get out of your comfort zone and give yourself the opportunity to grow. Grow with every challenge, lesson, and choice that will follow yours. Give yourself the gift to grow.


 Words by Pernille Raven // Photography by Grecia Villa.

© 2016 Reef Magazine


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