One of my biggest pet peeves – closely followed by a lack of spatial awareness, slow walkers, and dolphin lovers – are people who think they have nothing left to learn. If you don’t think you can grow anymore or improve as a human, then you might as well lie down and die. Harsh? Definitely, but what can I say, Mercury is in retrograde and I’m feeling kind of savage.
Mark Manson is the author of “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck” – a sort-of self-help book which asserts that happiness is the pursuit of the ideal self. This suggests that happiness is NOT achieving what one desires but the act of chasing it. Unless you’re perfect (or delusional) improvement is necessary to becoming the “ideal self.”
Every day, argument, hardship, and experience is an opportunity to learn and but travel provides the prime conditions to accelerate growth. This is not only because we are forced out of our comfort zone but it is the perfect storm of new and exciting, scary and intimidating that inspires us to rise up to be out best selves.
‘Lessons I Learned Along The Way’ is a post series where I share the pearls of wisdom that I’ve managed to garner from my travels abroad. This post is the first in the series!
I appreciate the structure that routine provides my life but it’s not exactly conducive to feeling inspired but the chaotic pace of the bustling streets of Marrakech shook me from my walking sleep. Standing in the crisp air on the road to the Saharan Desert with the Atlas Mountains providing an unbelievably picturesque and awe-inspiring backdrop. It was so magical and surreal that it seemed like a dream but I was awake and I couldn’t believe how this was reality.
Lesson Learned: Magic exists in the every day, we just have to take time to notice it the way we would when we’re abroad.
Prior to my trip to Costa Rica, I was still living at home and had never travelled solo so naturally the universe decided this was the perfect time to test my resilience. I endured a delayed flight, an overnight at a seedy Miami hotel, lost luggage, arranging transportation between 4 separate locations, and somehow managing the language barrier with only knowing how to say “red” and “cheese” in Spanish. I persevered and climbed a volcano, ziplined through misty cloud forests, relaxed in hot springs, waded through flooded canyons, surfed (very poorly), avoided hitting cows as I commandeered an ATV along the Nicoya coast….so I did some stuff.
Lesson Learned: You have to believe in your own abilities, especially in the face of adversity because you’re capable of so much more greatness than you think.
This was the trip where I lost my immigration card, got caught in a hail storm IN THE MIDDLE OF MAY on the way to replace it, spent the rest of the trip with stinky, wet shoes that then got stolen by a wild dog when I was trying to dry them outside of a café the day before I was going to climb Machu Picchu. Oh, and I got altitude sickness – like, really really bad altitude sickness – despite having taken pills to prevent getting it.
Lesson Learned: No matter how prepared you are, sometimes shit fucking happens and you can't control it. You can only control how you react to it so just go pet a llama.
I was fresh out of an 8 year, partially long distance relationship, a large chunk of it being long distance, when the opportunity came up to visit a friend in Dublin. However, my ex was going to be in town in that time and I almost passed it up so I could spend time with him instead. I ended up going and having an AMAZING trip, made tons of new friends and stories, and my friend and I still reminisce about the time she sold me out for a tumbler of whisky and roll ice cream.
Lesson Learned: It’s great to be kind and considerate but not when that compromises your well-being. Sometimes you need to prioritize yourself, especially when no one else is.
Sitting in a financial planning class, we were set with the task of compiling a list of goals that we wanted to accomplish over the next 4 years and one of mine was to travel to Thailand for Yi Peng, the Festival of Lights. I never thought it would happen because of limited vacation time, distance, money, etc… but somehow within a couple months of writing my hopes, they manifested and I was standing in a great, open space with hundreds of people, releasing giant lanterns in to the air and watching them glitter into the dark, night sky.
Lesson Learned: Everything seems impossible – especially the things you want the most – until you do them. Just be bold enough to make it happen.