Since I was a kid, I have been excelled in school and later become a Finance Manager at the age of 26. However, the biggest life lessons that I have learnt so far is through travelling. I am lucky to have been to 30 countries spanning 5 continents. While on my travels I have learned many lessons which I am still applying for my life and my travel start-up Inspitrip. These are my top ten things that I learned while globetrotting.
1. The world is nice, always assume the best in people.
I’m not going to lie I have had some rough experiences. One the whole, however, everywhere I go, I am always treated well by the locals. Once I got stuck in a storm by myself trekking in Taiwan. Although they don’t know me, a Taiwanese family offered to help me and even took me to their local favourite restaurant to treat me. I applied the similar concept to my life, helping strangers and assuming the best in them.
2. Tough situations bring out the best in you.
As a 19 yrs old kid travelling for the first time overseas by myself, I was forced to make new friends. I was nervous but eventually got the confidence to say hello to a group of guys from Germany. I got out of my comfort zone and from that experience, I became more open which helps me a lot in my new job being an entrepreneur dealing with different difficult situations and decisions every day.
3. You are better than you think you are.
I often find myself doing things I don’t normally think I am capable of as I travel. For instance, I’ve learned that I am not a bad cook while attending a cooking class in rural Australia. When in HongKong, I also found that I am able to pronounce Cantonese just as good as the locals do. These are all things that I would not know if not travelling around.
4. Be open-minded and try to see things from different perspectives.
While travelling I saw lots of different cultures. I saw how people do and see things differently. You also learn how to respect different cultures as you move around the world. In Vietnam, you might find it uncomfortable if someone just met touches you.This may be considered rude or weird in western culture, but in Vietnam, it means someone sees you like a friend. So it’s a case of same gesture, different meaning. In life, I’ve learned how to respect other opinions. You might not see what they see, so try to be open-minded!
5. Money is not as important as experience.
When I was backpacking around Europe, I had very little money. I slept in the cheapest hostels and ate modestly sometimes just a few slices of bread per day. Not having money never bothered me, I was too happy to be seeing new cities and experiencing all the wonderful things Europe had to offer.
6. Expect the unexpected in life.
No matter how prepared you are, there are always things you can’t plan for. I’ve learned how to protect myself travelling alone, but despite all my preparation I got mugged in Denmark, one of the safest countries in the world.
7. Learning how to use money wisely will take you far.
I was often careless with money, especially when I was younger. As I travelled I suddenly found myself able to find the cheapest flight, where to eat and where the best bang for my buck was. How to budget properly is a life lesson that can be applied to your other financial decisions in life, so consider yourself lucky if you can learn this as you travel!
8. The world is unfair, try to make it a better place.
I know how lucky I am compared to others. I have been able to travel large parts of the world, which is a privilege in itself. I have also been to poorer parts of the world, places such as Cambodia with no electricity and food shortages. Travelling can really make you feel lucky to live in a world with everything you need.
9. Appreciate the moments when you are with beloved ones.
I have to admit that I do feel homesick when I travel. I often want to be back home in my comfort zone. When I do return home I appreciate more of these moments I spend with family friends and genuinely try to make.
10. Don’t be afraid of walking alone.
I love travelling with a crowd but sometimes I want to do my own thing. It’s the same in life. If you know what you want, don’t compromise! Sometimes you need to leave people behind and go for what you want. I quit my job as a high-flying job finance manager for SP 500 companies at 27 to create my own start-up, and not taking any salaries, and haven’t looked back since.