20 Things I Learned While Traveling in My 20s



To be fair, I’m about to turn 23.


So really this blog should be titled, “20 Things I Learned from Traveling Between Age 18 and 23,” but that isn’t nearly as catchy. And one thing I’ve learned is that a catchy title matters.


I won't pretend that I know much of anything.


If all goes well I have years of traveling and learning ahead of me. I probably haven't learned even half of the things I will learn in my lifetime.


Still, I do like to think that the past five years of travel haven’t been a total waste. I like to think they’ve made me a bit wiser. Hence my arrogant attempt to pass as having an above-average level of wisdom... As far as 23-year-olds go, that is.


Anyway, here are 20 (out of about a million) things I have learned from my past 5 years of travel:


1. A simple smile can change everything


2. There are only two words you need to know to survive in any country: thank you and bathroom


3. Saying hello is never as hard as you think it will be


4. Saying goodbye is always harder than you think it will be


5. You can’t make everyone like you, but that’s not an excuse to be an asshole


6. Always be the first person to laugh at yourself


7. Getting lost is one of the greatest gifts life can give us


8. Too much fear and not enough fear are equally dangerous


9. Notice everything—it is often the smallest things that are the most remarkable  


10. Yes is generally a better answer than no. Unless it's not


11. You can’t use today’s opportunities to pay for yesterday’s mistakes


12. Greet all things with open hands and an open heart


13. If you find yourself in an argument, fight less and listen more


14. Always ask questions


15. Go to the bathroom before you leave. Seriously, just do it


16. You can’t expect people to meet you in the middle if you refuse to walk halfway


17. Beauty is everywhere. Just open your eyes


18. Sometimes a hot shower can change everything


19. Nothing is as permanent as we think it is


20. Don’t put so much weight in other people’s words. No one really knows what they are talking about anyway

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