7 months ago l hopped on a plane seeking adventure out of the norm of my everyday life. Every single day thus far has been a new adventure in itself, experiencing and learning new things daily.
Now that it’s roughly the half way point on this #gap✈year adventure, here’s 4 main things I have learnt from being on the road for an extended period.
1) You learn who your ‘real’ friends are
This one has probably been the hardest lessons personally to accept. I used to put alot of time and effort trying to stay in contact with people and it hurt when they don’t really care. But now I’ve learnt the ones who really care will make an effort to be in your life, and I’m learning to accept that. In losing some friends, I’ve also built closer friendships with old friends and have made many new friendships with people all over the world; new friends you immediately connect with through a passion for travelling, with different interests and backgrounds that inspire you to be better.
2) Travelling is not all smiles
Alot of people have said to me they are very jealous of what I’m doing and how lucky I am to be on essentially a year+ long holiday.
I am very fortunate to be in the position I am today through alot of hard work and savings to be able to do this trip. However, I do not see this trip as a ‘holiday’. In fact, nothing about it has been relaxing!
I see it as an opportunity to grow personally, engage with different cultures and learn about the world we live in rather than being behind a computer all day. As they say, travel is the best education in life.
But sometimes there’s a different story behind that smile in a photo. Things like travellers depression for routine and normal life, missing family and friends and stresses of organising on the go all can affect your time. But you have to not let it get to you and live in the moment – who knows when you’ll have this opportunity again!
3) You need to be flexible & go in with an open mind
Sometimes you may rock up to a city not having a place to sleep that night or you may miss a flight. Everything doesn’t go to plan.
Travelling long-term involves constant organising, but sometimes things do not work out the ideal way you’d like it to. It’s best to plan as you go and be very flexible so you are not disappointed if things don’t work out. Have plan B, C and D ready because you’ll probably need them. I’m the type of person who prefers everything planned out in advance but through this journey so far I’ve learnt to be more flexible – dont worry, be happy!
4) Travelling will not solve your life problems
I left home as I felt it was the right time in my life to go on this journey. I was in a position where I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I was working in a job related to my degree but I wasn’t sure if it was for me.
I thought travelling for an extended period will help me figure it all out. So far 7 months in, I still have no idea what I want. I have learnt more about what I like and dislike in life but I’ve now realised finding ‘it’ doesn’t happen in 7 months or 1 year. Some people spend their whole life trying to find their purpose.
Throughout this journey, I’ve been trying to push myself and not be scared. A former colleague mentor of mine taught me it doesn’t matter if you suck at things, as long as you have a go which is what I’ve been trying to live by.
“We travel because we need to, because distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything.” ~ Jonah Lehrer