I can’t even begin to tell you how much travel has changed me as a person and evolved me into the person who i am today.
If you knew me at school or college you’ll know i was very much focused on my studies.
I would choose to sit at the front of the class so that i could concentrate, absorb as much information as possible and complete my work to the highest standard i could physically achieve.
Yes you may also notice (or if you were there- noticed), that in those years my perfectionist nature took the better of me.
I was never satisfied unless I was getting the top mark and yes, there is absolutely nothing wrong with high aspirations, but there is when it comes as the expense of your mental health and social life.
Some say your college years are your best years.
But for me they were my worst.
I was extremely unhappy and I had meetings to leave college on a couple of occasions.
In the end I stuck it out, the light at the end of the tunnel got closer and closer and BOOM.
I will never forget that feeling when i finished my very last alevel exam, because that was the day, in my opinion, my life really began.
I was lucky enough to have the support of my parents to take a year out and figure out what i wanted to do with my life.
In that year, one very spontaneous decision to backpack through South East Asia, ended up changing my life for the better.
Here are 10 very important lessons i have learnt mainly through travel, that i believe, school never taught me…
1. You don’t have to be the best to be successful
High grades and exam certificates aren’t the only measures of success. Despite what it felt like growing up, being popular, top of the class and first to hand in your homework isn’t THE most important thing in the world.
Not everyone’s forte is writing essays, neither does everyone perform the same under exam pressure. Don’t worry too much about the person next to you… let them inspire you but don’t let them take over you.
Do you, embrace our differences, it’s what makes the world go round.
2. You don’t have to be rich or famous to be happy
There was a time when the only happy future I could imagine, was one in which I had a big house and lots of money.
But money comes and goes, as does fame.
Money can assist you to do things that make you happy but it DOESN’T EVER guarantee happiness.
Some of the happiest people i’ve met have had the least amount money.
Don’t base your total happiness on something you could lose.
3. Mistakes really are a blessing
It’s okay to make mistakes and you shouldn’t be judged or held back because of them.
Every time you make a mistake, make time to reflect on it, allow it to evolve you into a better person and then leave it in the past.
Strength comes from weakness.
Mistakes can lead you to places you would have never otherwise discovered.
& you have to take a wrong turn every once in a while to appreciate the right one.
4. Make sure you can rely on yourself
Learn to love yourself.
You’ll never have a healthy relationship / friendship with anyone else if you don’t have a healthy one with yourself.
Create the strongest you possible.
Prioritise what makes YOU happy, pursue what makes YOU happy.
At the end of the day, when everyone else may have left…
5. Chill out. Let it go.
Yes your best friend may have got with the boy you fancy or said something mean behind your back. But really, where is getting angry having a go at them and causing a 5 month silence period going to get you? Anxious, distracted and miserable.
Life becomes A WHOLE lot easier when you learn to let things go and forgive people. That doesn’t mean being fake and keeping them in your life, it means learning who you want in your life and who to keep at a distance.
Getting angry solves nothing and changes NOONE.
It’s simply a waste of valuable energy.
6. Friendships are THE BEST
School is long…
until you have a friend you can laugh about it with.
Ending a relationship is tough…
until you have a friend you can pig out on ice cream and films with.
Travelling is amazing…
but more so if you have a friend you can explore with.
Social media is entertaining…
but more so if you have a friend you can tag in all the childish videos.
Life is nothing without friends to ride the waves with.
Treasure them, appreciate them and hold on to the good’uns.
7. Stop bleaching your hair, going on sun beds and adjusting your appearance
Shout out to all the girls who used a shaver on their eyebrows before they discovered tweezers and ruined their eyebrows… nope? just me? cool.
There is SO much pressure at school to fit in and we do some crazy things to try and achieve it.
But your actions have consequences (some worse than others obviously) and you will most likely regret it later.
I bleached my hair and used packet dyes for many years growing up, only realising now that my natural colour is what suits me best and having healthy hair is the dream.
Your skin is with you for life, your hair doesn’t grow back overnight and your unique features are what make you beautiful.
So stop trying to change what you look like so bad, embrace the skin you’re in.
Let’s stop fixing towards an ‘ideal’ – otherwise we are all going to end up looking the same.
8. Life is Short
Your life is in YOUR hands & it is way too short and uncertain to waste any moment of it unhappy.
Pursue what lights the fire in your tummy, even if it means being broke and scared for a while. If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, or something you’ve always dreamed about.
You’ve GOT TO GO DO IT.
‘One day you’re going to look back on your life. Make sure you’re going to smile and wish nothing more than that you could do it all over again.’
9. Appreciate human interaction
If you are yet to obtain, depend on or have a job that centres around technology – stay away from it!
(for as long as possibly possible)
The presence of technology is decreasing our ability to interact and socialise with each other.
Something i believe to be at the heart of happiness.
Make the most of and make room for as many technology-less situations as possible.
Put your phones on the table when you’re in a restaurant and make every vow to not touch them.
Go travelling where you have no 3G and you have to ask someone for directions instead of googling it.
Human interaction is the most beautiful thing in the world and it’s available to all of us.
10. The most important thing in life is to find your happiness
Sounds super cliche I know, but it’s the truest of them all.
The problem is, some people don’t know what it actually is that makes them happy.
I didn’t either.
It comes through trial and error, through a few of those mistakes I was talking about earlier & through throwing yourself in the deep end and finding your way out.
Travel for me was the key to finding my happiness. Travel always allows me to step back from my life and put life into perspective. It’s then that I can clear head and make the right decisions.
Once you stumble (literally) upon what makes you happy, you just have to find the courage to pursue it.
You’ll know when you’re happy, and you’ll wander why you didn’t pursue it sooner.
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