There is simply no way to travel around the world for a year and not be taught (or reminded or forced to consider) simple lessons along the way. It's one of the reasons why we love to travel; it forces us to view the world differently and it provides us with renewed perspective on our own home that we often might take for granted. So while we undoubtedly learned new things every day, some (pithy? life affirming?) lessons constantly come to mind.
|These guys definitely have a leg up on the "whole universal truths" thing...|
Following is by no means an exhaustive list, but it's a list of lessons we've learned that we'll be taking the time to remind ourselves of as we continue on in our journeys; wherever they may take us.
- Patience. Things often happen in their own time; sometimes the right thing to do is wait. It will happen; when it's time.
- Humbleness. Charles learned this while learning how to drive a manual transmission car - on the wrong side of the road - in Africa.
- Fluidity of time. Time can crawl or fly by, often at the same time. Enjoy both equally, but always take full advantage of it.
- There is beauty in simplicity. It's often hard to get there, but it’s amazing when you do.
- The world is becoming both hyper-global and hyper-local. People who are well engaged in both ends of the spectrum will have a leg up.
- Family & Friends. Appreciate them when you can be around them because they aren't always there and you can really miss them.
- There’s a balance between fast and slow. Sometimes you gain more by going slowly. Other times you best speed through; know which works when, otherwise it wont work.
- Remember how frustrating it is to be a new learner. Learning, even a few words, in a new language takes time. Remember this when you are working with someone "who just doesn't get it" quickly enough for you.
- No expectations can lead to great surprises. When you don’t know what to expect, often times you get pleasantly surprised by what you find. I've actually started to avoid making expectations when traveling to a new location.
- Always do your homework. There’s so much more to be gained when you do your homework on history, culture, language, etc. When traveling to a new land, getting some background on it lets you appreciate things and understand what you experience so much more.
- There are many ways to communicate. Often verbal communication is the least important way to get your point across.
- It’s all relative. Wealth and poverty is always relative to your surroundings and expectations... to a point.
- Money has no bearing on happiness. Some of the happiest people in the world live in some of the most basic conditions. Remember that when you're drinking your $5 latte and pissed off about something or other.
- Less can be more. You don’t need a lot of things and stuff to get by. Sometimes having less frees you to really enjoy and appreciate the things you do have. It allows you to see what you do have in a whole new light.
- The local newspaper can open up a whole world to you. Read it and you’ll know what people care about, what problems they have; what they value; and what is big news in a small piece of the world.
- Health and safety are basic. They are always taken for granted until you no longer have them.
- Climate change is occurring. No matter how much it is "debated" here; it’s not being debated by the average person around the world because they see it impacting their life every day.
- In many countries a man can still have multiple wives. However, there was a common refrain when we asked the younger generation about it: Mo' wives, mo' money, mo' problems.
- The mobile phone and the internet is changing everything…increasingly quickly.
- Almost every nation looks to education as a national priority; few do it well.
- There is a lot to be said about the promise of freedom, the capacity to innovate, the relentless creativity, and the entrepreneurial spirit embedded into the American psyche. We often take these things for granted; others do not.
- A smile and a good-natured approach will take you way further than you ever know.