3 reasons why I loved travelling abroad

* This post was written in 2017. After re-reading it this week, I thought it was worth posting. Especially in the current environment. I hope people can travel again soon, especially those in their 20s.

It wasn’t until my mid 20s that I really started ‘travelling’ in the true sense of the word.  That is, going to a completely foreign land and discovering new sites, cultures and tastes.  I loved it because it’s one of the best ways to learn about yourself and pick up some great life skills.  I know travelling abroad is expensive and becomes harder as you get older and have a family with more commitments… but I truly think that travelling is one of the best investments that you can make if you have the ability to do so.

Here are three reasons why:

  1. Travelling helps you to step outside of your comfort zone.

A comfort zone is going through the same routine of eating familiar food, seeing the same people and taking the same path to work.  Going to a foreign country is stepping outside of your comfort zone.  Eating a different cuisine or making friends with locals is stepping further outside.

From making a random friend when I travelled in Singapore on my own to trying street food at the Taiwan Night Markets, I’ve I’ve certainly had my fair share of trying new experiences.  And with each experience, I’ve grown more confident and I find myself looking for ways to step outside of my comfort zone even at home.  Like trying new classes, making new friends or stepping up to challenges at work.

  1. Travelling helps you to communicate with anyone, regardless of a cultural or language barrier.

I love how travelling reminds us that we have similar thoughts, wants and needs even if we act and look different.  That means that we should be able to communicate with each other in some way – through body language or similar words – even if we don’t speak the same language.

I remember a difficult time when I was sick while living alone in HK (I wasn’t travelling but I had just moved there so it’s a similar experience).  I lived in a local area and no one at the pharmacy could speak English.  All I wanted was to quickly tell them what I had, buy medicine and go back to bed.  But all I got was blank looks when I told them what I had.  But the kind lady tried her hardest to communicate through body language and a few English words to figure out I had a simple cold, sore throat and fever. It was hard, but it was a lovely experience for me to realize that regardless of cultural or language barrier, we can always find a way to talk to each other.

  1. Travelling helps you to realize that it’s ok if not everything goes according to plan.

These are all those little mishaps that turn out ok in the end.  For my husband and I, it was when we were given a different B&B room in rural Cuba, to the one we had seen on the Trip Advisor website.  It turned out the owner had given the lovely room upstairs to a friend and gave us a converted garage with a bed, a simple bathroom and tons of mosquitoes.  This was particularly concerning given when the dengue fever epidemic in Cuba at the time. 

We quickly changed our plans and found a new place to stay – a beautiful hotel that wasn’t much more expensive, right in the heart of town.

Being able to go with the flow – to be adaptable and flexible – is especially important in this ever changing world and dynamic workplaces.  It also helps us to not feel disappointed when things don’t go to plan.  To know that everything will be ok in the end and sometimes, something better happens!

What lessons have you learned from travelling?

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