Six months of travel in one go is a long time, however it has flown by! Six months since I last saw my friends and family. Six months since I last worked. Six months since I slept in my own bed. Wow.
As I come towards the end of my travels, I’ve looked back at all the amazing days we’ve had whilst away, and realised we have learnt so much! I’m pretty sure anyone who has travelled for a long period of time can relate to some or most of these…
• Strangers are more likely to help you than hurt you. I’m not saying to forget the whole ‘stranger danger’ that you’re taught as a child. But, the dreaded feeling of ‘i’m in danger here’, hasn’t hit us once while travelling. In fact, whilst in Fiji recently, Steve and I were looking for the local town, a local called Tom approached us in the street, asked us where we were from and where we were heading. He then proceeded to walk us to our destination, ensuring that we were looked after once we arrived, not once was he worried about the fact he could be late for work! Many people will stop to help, or chat, as opposed to mugging you.
• Too many people take what they have for granted. I’ve always been grateful for what I have to my name, however after visiting countries such as South East Asia and Fiji, it makes you appreciate it so much more. Even a one-bedroom house is a mansion for some who live in shacks or out on the streets. In Fiji, we met a lady who was peeling fruit with a sharp tin can. Simple things such as a potato peeler, are overlooked at home, and the thought of it breaking is horrifying to some!
• We are rich. Some may disagree, some may say the rich are those with mansions, yachts and rolexs. However we are rich in wages, rich in life and rich in options. Speaking to Opal, our hostel receptionist in Thailand, she advised us she earns a grand total of £300 a month. And on top of that, she was forced to leave her last job as her boss was asking for ‘extra requirements’ – disgusting!
• People will do anything to provide for their family. Even if that means selling their body. In Thailand, Pattaya to be exact, we saw woman after woman, some looked young enough to still be in school, patrolling the streets looking for ‘work’. The prostitution industry is upsettingly huge in Asia, but with wages low, and tourists willing to pay high prices, many Asians feel they have no other option.
• You’ll never get bored of watching sunrises / sunsets. It doesn’t seem to matter whether you’ve seen one, or a hundred sunrises or sunsets. There’s an unexplainable feeling about sitting on the beach, as one day ends or another begins.
• Family are everything. At the end of the day, the one group of people who will be there for you no matter what, are family. If you’ve had a good or even bad day, there’s no one better to tell all about it. They are your continuous support network, no matter where in the world you may be. Appreciate them, and make sure they know it.
• You realise who you need in your life. Time goes fast, and it’s sometimes hard to fit in a skype conversation or two. But a message takes second. People will surprise you, who you think would make the effort to stay in contact, doesn’t. And who you don’t expect to hear from, will send you a message every week.
• Normal life is revolved around ‘things’. Have you ever done the whole, ‘i need to buy this!!’ And never used it. And all of a sudden you have loads of ‘things’ that are untouched in your house. Travel teaches you to live stripped back to basics. Goodbye to your expensive hairdryer and straighteners, hello french plaits and wet hair. When you are on the road, it’s not practical to carry everything you own with you, but you soon realise, you don’t need it!
• Everyone is human, no matter their background / race or culture. There is SO much hate in the world these days. Too many people putting others down to make themselves feel better. Travel teaches you to appreciate everyone around you, no matter where they come from. Some of the most ‘perculiar’ looking people, are also some of the friendliest!
• There are some BEAUTIFUL places in the world. Wow. Just wow. We have seen some amazing places, from waterfalls in Asia to the Blue Mountains in Australia to Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo in New Zealand. There are so many absolutely amazing places in the world, and without travel, they wouldn’t be seen!
• Life goes on. You may think your world is crashing down around you. But travel teaches you, life goes on! When I was stuck in hospital in Thailand with DVT, I didn’t cry about it, I sucked it up and carried on. Things happen, life doesn’t always work out the way we intend it to. But that’s what makes it so interesting!
• The best way to ‘learn’ is to travel. I think i’ve consumed more world knowledge in the last 6 months than I ever did in school. I could tell you all about Cambodias genocide war and killing fields, I could tell you loads of information about elephants, about the tourist trade in Asia. Sometimes when Steve asks me questions, I surprise myself! ‘How did I even know that?’. It’s alot easier to absorb information, when you are doing it yourself!
What has travel taught you?