Life Lessons Learned from Travel

For the past several months, I’ve been racking up the air miles with trips to Iowa, Chicago, Colorado and Indonesia to name just a few places. With plenty of time for thinking while flying to the destinations, I realized that travel provides us with several life lessons, including:

  • Planning
  • Adaptability
  • Communications
  • Experiences

Travel provides lessons that can be applied to work and daily life. (Photo by Cynthia Price)

Planning is the simplest one. You need to know where you are going and how you are going to get there. You book your flight, hotel and ground transportation. But you also have to plan what to pack based on the weather. If you’re flying overseas, you need to research and find out if you need a visa and what is required when you go through customs. Traveling teaches us that it’s important to have a plan to succesfully arrive at your destination.

Adaptability is the norm of travel today. If your flight is cancelled or delayed, you have to adapt. When it comes to meals, you have to adapt to the food that is available. I spent a week in the Midwest, which is known for its excellent beef, but I don’t eat red meat. Baked potatoes were my go-to food. Overseas, I adjusted to different toilet styles (enough said!). The lesson is clear: If you aren’t adaptable, you aren’t going to have a successful trip.

Communications involves more than speaking with airline attendants. It’s about understanding regional dialects and accents. On a recent trip it was fun listening to a mix of Southern and Midwestern accents. It’s knowing that “pop” is the same as “soda.” Overseas I had to really listen to colleagues because English was not a first language. Despite that, we all understood each other because we took the time to really listen. If you don’t try to communication, your destination will remain unreachable.

Experiences are the best part of travel and why most people travel for leisure. It’s about the ability to get away from the every day. Travel provides opportunities to learn and explore. How open are you to the new experiences? Do you try the new foods?
If you are overseas, do you learn some of the customs? Travel enables us to try experiences outside of our comfort zone.

What lessons have you learned from travel?