They say life is amazing teacher. So is travel! So if you are feeling a bit on the dumb side perhaps consider planning a trip LOL.
Here are some life lessons I have learned through my travel experiences....
1. You can't believe everything you read.
This is true for tabloids, reviews on accommodation or travel deals, and advertisements for just about anything (and maybe even my blog posts....you never know LOL). Remember the tabloids exist for entertainment, reviews are usually only written by people with a grudge (or people who have been paid) and advertisements just want to sell you a bunch of stuff you don't need for a price you shouldn't be paying.
In life and in travel get referrals from people you know, and don't ever have too strict expectations.
2. Never trust a photo.
Two words... photo editing! Ever book accommodation with excitement, fantasizing about lazing by that pool and stretching out in that gorgeous white king size bed, only to get there and feel like you are in the wrong place? Yes, hotels do sometimes use photos that were taken 10 years ago, angles of photos are really strange ways of warping reality and the guy on that dating website your looking at? Yeah, that's actually a photo he stole off Brad Pitts Instagram account.
3. Things do not always go to plan.
In travel it's cancelled flights, lost baggage or a lion stalking your tent (yes that actually happened). In life, it's your alarm not going off for an important meeting, getting sick when you have way too many things to do or the car breaking down the same week you have to pay the rates, the electricity, the water and for boarding school after you realised having kids was harder than you thought.
4. Sleep fixes a myriad of things.
My grandmother always used to say things didn't look so bad after a good night sleep. This is true. Except when you wake up and realise your airbed is now floating on water instead of being parked securely in your tent like when you went to sleep. True story.
5. Humanity is overall, kind.
Whether it's a passer-by when your car runs out of petrol or a stranger offering you a place to stay that night, life and travel have shown me that people do tend to have kind hearts. Sure there are some not-as-nice ones out there... (like the guy who stole my mobile phone from my backpack in Egypt) but overall life can put you in contact with some pretty amazing people.
6. There are always ways to save money.
Travelling can mess up your budget when you discover tours you hadn't realised existed, food you really need to try and trinkets you can't imagine going home without. There are also great ways to save money... swapping a hotel for the night for a hostel, getting takeaway instead of going to a sit-down restaurant, or offering to wash dishes for a snack.
In life try using a less expensive face wash, having a few cash-free weekends every now and then or selling your husband's smart phone on ebay.
7. You are never too old to learn something new.
In Egypt I learned not to trust people your friend met on the internet, in Jamaica I learned that bended knee proposals were common by men you have just met and in America I learned that everything is delicious deep-fried. Take all the lessons you learn and allow them to help you be a better person. Or not. Whatever.
8. Don't allow your fears to limit you.
Sometimes there will be things in front of you that scare the pants off you. If you don't give them a chance they may always scare the pants off you or if you give them a chance you may find out that you actually love what they have to offer.
In Zimbabwe I had the opportunity of doing a gorge swing across the Zambezi near Victoria Falls. Did the thought freak me out? Sure. Did i do it anyway? Of course. Did i regret my decision? Heck yes i did! But don't learn from my experience.... go grab your own.
9. A photo can be the best souvenir you could ask for.
Although I love coming home from a trip with some exotic trinkets, the things i most treasure are the photos of the things i did, the people i met and the places i visited. Looking back on life my photos are also my favourite possessions. Nothing recreates a memory like seeing a photo of yourself feeding a rhinoceros, your face after a colour run or your friends bare naked butt after he stands while water-skiing for the first time.
10. Enjoy each moment for what it gives you.
Often we get so caught up in what we are doing that we don't stop to enjoy the moment. Whether it's savouring the taste of a new food, taking a moment to inhale the cool mountain air or laughing at yourself when you do something silly. Although your big life moments will always be a part of you its the little life moments that make you who you are (or make you swear that you will never stand that close to a cliff edge again).
11. Remember to count your blessings.
At times this list will be really huge and at other times it may take a bit more creativity to see what you have to be thankful for. There are times when i have been grateful for the awesome 5 star resort I have the pleasure of staying at, the chance to see a leopard in the wild or even that my friend still had legs after putting them in croc-infested water. What are you feeling thankful for today?
12. Don't live on credit.
Holidays are not nearly as fun when you return home and have to spend the next 3 months paying them off. Saving hard for a trip (and life) makes the trip more worthwhile and removes the stress of debt.
13. Less is more.
Statistics show that people with less material possessions are actually happier than those with more. No display home I have ever seen has been piled full of junk. Live with what you need and nothing more (and in travel, your husband will thank you for it when he isn't trying to juggle a pram, a port-a-cot, and 16 suitcases through the airport).
Which point really stuck out to you? What have learnt by travelling? Send me an email and share your stories or feel free to ask questions.