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Life’s Lessons As A World Traveler

Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     – Miriam Beard

We never want to believe that there is a magical reality, though there are a myriad of magical places in this world. We all too often choose to ignore the wide-open door leading elsewhere, and instead live vicariously through fictional characters beamed onto our televisions. Perhaps the outskirts of town is a foreign land as one gets tangled up in every day life, or maybe even the thought of hopping on a plane today seems like more hassle that it is worth.

Instead, we want to live uncomplicated, and simple, lives, staying put. We want to swim in reality, and remain in our “safety zones,” but while swimming through it, we can miss out on so many idyllic landscapes, vibrant cultures, and amazingly beautiful architecure waiting for us to discover. Yes, we do get a glimpse of another world without realizing at times, though there is no real substitute for travel. In fact, no matter how much you have learned in a classroom, there is no better education than experiencing a land beyond our borders first-hand.

During my adult life, I have grown tremendously, and have learned to “think internationally” simply by opening my mind while visiting countries foreign to my own. As a travel photographer, I have flown a million miles, trundled step after step, and have clicked the shutter on my camera more times than can be counted.

Throughout this article you will view some rather magical places, and this is my reality. One could say — everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned from traveling around this world, and yet, there are still so many lessons to be learned, and so many more corners of this world to discover. . . .

1. The world is huge. I mean, really, really huge. It is larger than our minds can ever imagine.

2. The more we see, the more we want to see. Yes, the list can be never-ending.

3. We are braver, and stronger, than we know. Stepping out of comfort zone really is not that scary.

4. Nothing stops traffic quite like a herd of cows in the middle of a West Ireland road.

5. The cruelty of a few can ruin the lives of many. But, the vast majority of people are good.

6. Happiness really is a way of travel, and not a destination.

7. Just around the corner in West Texas could mean at least a hundred miles.

8. Certain sights may disappear from the mind, but experiences will stay with you.

9. You can travel just fine without a guidebook.

10. Wearing the same clothing week after week is not so bad unless you don’t wash them.

11. It is entirely possible to take too many photographs.

12. Even if you aren’t the traveler, or person, you want to be in your head, it’s never too late to change.

13. The more you say “tomorrow,” the less likely tomorrow will arrive.

14. Life is amazing. There’s no reason to worry. Everything really does work itself out. Relax and just go with the flow.

15. You can’t change the future – it hasn’t happened yet. Make the best decisions you can today, and enjoy the moment.

16. Life is a curious thing. Curiosity never killed anything except maybe a few hours.

17. If you are determined enough, there are ample opportunities in life that are totally achievable, regardless of who you are.

18. The world is much more fun with people of varying interests and beliefs.

19. Wear sunscreen, even if there is cloud- cover, when near the equator.

20. Our parents are more awesome, encouraging, and open-minded than we have ever given them credit for.

21. Sleep and a good meal can cure an otherwise horrible day.

22. Our homeland is as unique as those places we fawn over in travel magazines, and television.

23. Almost everyone has problems and puts on a brave face – don’t presume they have it easy.

24. The fastest way to get from Point A to Point B is not always as obvious as it seems, and not always the most interesting.

25. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” It’s much smarter to be honest.

26. When you spend enough time with people who are actually living on next to nothing, but having a full life, then you will truly understand money is not always the answer.

27. Television is the greatest black hole of time available to mankind.

28. You really can depend on the kindness of strangers.

29. Gazing at the Milky Way can make you feel both small, and insignificant.

30. Every person’s lifestyle is equally valid as long as that person is happy.

31. No matter how geeky we think we are, there are people so much geekier than us.

32. There are some great benefits to not knowing the local language – like miming out “chicken” to let the waitress know you want eggs for breakfast.

33. The world that is worth experiencing is not in books, or on TV, or computer screens. It’s with other human beings.

34. While doing as the locals do will help enrich your travels, urinating on the side of the street is not a necessary requirement.

35. There is a song for everything.

36. Never ever leave your bag unattended.

37. One word may have three different meanings in three different countries.

38. Never regret the things you’ve done, only the things you haven’t.

39. If you want soft toilet paper, it’s best to pack it.