9 Things I learned from Long-Term Travel
I spent the last 3 weeks traveling on my third long term vacation trip, and I strongly believe that I have become a better person thanks to my explorer nature. I did not travel much as a child, as I grew up in a low income, strict household, but started traveling a lot more in school funded activities in college. Short-term study abroad, conferences, interviews, leadership programs, conventions and more! I quickly discovered that that’s all I looked forward to and that it was my goal to do more of it. As I advanced in my college career, I sought to do long term travel (I consider a long term vacation anything more than one week) because I knew things would become more difficult as I acquired a full time job. Now that I recently completed my two year anniversary, turns out I can still do it :D (shoutout to working in the Tech industry, more on this later). My latest trip was composed of Mexico City, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca (pictured below) and Tulum, Quintana Ro. Long term travel takes a lot of planning, intentionality, and learning to let go of things you cannot control. It highlights living in the moment as every day is a new experience, motivating you for full attention to these new activities, places, people and food. Being out of your comfort zone is a true test to all the things you have been working on in your personal growth.
As anyone being part of a self-discovery and self-love journey, I highly encourage you to travel! Road trips nearby, big cities, towns, other countries. The world has so much to offer and if you only stay in your home town it's like staying in a small room when there is a whole mansion to explore. I explored my root country, where I have gained most of my beliefs and cultural teachings from, but still had an immense amount of learnings to walk away with.
The Benefits of Traveling:
1. Living in a State of Gratefulness
Although the united states (my home country) has so many faults that it is currently enduring, going to another country and noticing things like slow vaccine rollout, living conditions, salaries, lifestyle, makes you appreciate your own blessings. I saw so many people earning their living working more than 40 hours a week for a less than livable wage, only living room to live paycheck to paycheck. As a daughter of immigrants, I am so grateful for the sacrifices being done for me to be in a another country, as I can clearly see the struggles that are being endured in others.
2. You become more Culturally Literate and Aware
Being in an environment where people have different beliefs and values helps you become more self-aware of how your upbringing has shaped your view of life and how they shape others. Also, if you explore deep enough, you can immerse yourself in authentic history, as told by the people who have experienced it and now live the aftereffects of it. What I enjoyed the most is learning how me being a tourist contributed to the local economy and all the work behind the scenes that was needed by the locals to even do that type of work. Locals are very aware of the economy of their regions and how money flows. In Oaxaca for example it is: cheese, chocolate, Mezcal and turtle rescues :D
3. Deepen your sense of Empathy
As you form relationships with your local store owner, tour guide or taxi driver, you start to challenge and question stereotypes you have believed in the past. It gently pushes you to respect others lifestyles, even if you don’t agree with them. I took a 2 hour horse ride with local farmers, where I relied on them to guide me on the correct path and trusted their abilities to direct our horses.
4. Helps you practice Vulnerability
Traveling may seem all fun in games, but truth is that you are out of your comfort zone most of the time. You're in an unknown territory in all senses, and chances are you will have to ask for help, get lost, or not understand what is happening. Being in a new environment humbles you because you don’t know anything in this new area. Knowing that you don’t know anything can lead you to be a learn-it-all and not a know-it-all.
5. Develop Patience and Letting Go- Adapting to change becomes Easier
You may plan endlessly, but there will always be a time where things don’t turn out the way you expect. Learning to let go of what was planned and adapt to a new activity may happen fairly often. This also helps you open your mind that there is world out there and not drown in a glass of water
6. Learn new Skills
I, for example, grew up in a desert, so I have no idea how to do most water activities. Traveling to the ocean or lakes has exposed me to kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing, swimming, snorkeling and more. Trying these new things forces your full attention to live in the moment and to try things you never knew you could do (or maybe fail like me in surfing). Pero quien me quita las fotos cute :p
7. Helps you open to receiving greater experiences
You don't know what's possible until you see it done by someone else or experience it yourself. Being at home in a stable location may not yield for stimulating, new experiences. Who would have thought that I would take apart in furthering the turtle species or swim in a bioluminescent lagoon where every time I moved I sparkled underwater.
8. Improves Communication
You might need to practice a new language, but more than anything learn to portray your ideas to someone that has no idea of the context you are asking them in.
9. Become more Confident
You need courage to leave what you know and explore things that you may not even like. You get to know yourself more, push your limits, know what you’re capable of and form new relationships. I believe confidence is how much you trust yourself and the more you push yourself and support yourself even if you fail, makes you have peace in your own essence.
If you are interested in visiting Puerto Escondido or Tulum let me know! I am working on a YouTube video (my first one) please subscribe here to stay tuned. P.S. One question that may come up is, but how do I afford having a long term vacation? That is a topic I want to explore: the intersectionality of your financial freedom and personal growth. If you’re interested subscribe to my newsletter below. Thanks for reading, stay connected :D