A list of thoughts after returning from almost 1.5 years of travel.
1) When you can live on a 12kg backpack’s worth of stuff, you realise you don’t really need much. No fancy cars, no second property, no expensive brands.
2) When you meet different people who dress in different ways, and have different taboos, and things that may be wrong here, are perfectly alright elsewhere, you learn not to judge someone based on where they come from, how they look, speak or how much they own.
3) When you realise that when different people from different parts of the world from all walks of life can make the effort to do what’s required as part of the religion (like praying 5 times a day, albeit with many different variations, but the intent is the same), you realise that you should follow suit.
4) When you look at the horizon from the peak of a snow-capped mountain, dive amongst schools of fishes, or even trying to survive the night while stranded outdoors in the Alborz mountains of Iran, you realise that in the scheme of things, you are very small.
5) When you end up in a situation that requires you to put your emotions aside because you need to plan your next course of action. You realise that you have no time (and no point) to be angry, or sad or disappointed, because no one cares anyway. You learn to quickly pick yourself up, be objective and move on. Change course and move on.
6) When you travel to Country A and everyone there tells you that people from Country B are all vile, nasty inbreds, and then you travel to Country B and you realise that they are in fact all very pleasant and friendly. But then Country B tells you that people from Country A are all evil, baby-eating monsters. You learn to take what people tell you with a pinch of salt. You also learn that people’s perceptions are based on past history, from a generation ago and it is better to form your own point of views, rather than just agreeing.
7)You realise that sometimes, it is better to listen, gather information, process it yet keep the opinions to yourself. Because not everyone is interested in what you have to say. And some people will not agree to what you say. Forget trying to change their minds, it’s not worth the effort.
8) You get lonely if you keep to yourself for too long. Everyone needs friends. If you are travelling alone, go out and make some. If you are at home, catch up with old friends.
9) A little bit of stress, and regular exercise (in this case lots of walking) keeps you fit and healthy.
10) This last one is a bit tough for me to learn, still getting there: Don’t be so uptight. Planning is good, keeping to a schedule is good and to keep moving is good. But take some time to look up and enjoy the travel.
For more bits of wisdom, check out this list after I returned from travelling 4 months in Africa. http://www.thefuriouspanda.com/2010/03/96-bits-of-travel-wisdom/