5 Things I learned while traveling 41 countries

I have traveled to 41 countries so far in my life, I’m currently writing from my 41st country, India.

Whenever I had the chance to travel I did. I chose opportunities in different countries to study, work, or otherwise visit friends and family. I studied in China, and I worked in Kenya and Mexico. These experiences really impacted me deeply, enriched my life, and ultimately made me the person that I am today.

Now I can say that I am a bit tired of traveling actually, and I am more interested in growing myself and creating something rather than seeing new places. The journey has become much more internal rather than external.

But nevertheless, these experiences taught me so much about life and myself, so let me share with you the 5 things that I learned while traveling 41 countries.

  1. People are mostly the same everywhere.

I mean of course we look different, talk differently, wear different clothes, and eat different foods, and we have different habits and customs. That’s what makes travel interesting, to see vastly different landscapes and people which fascinate you.

But at the end of the day, we all want the same things and feel and react to the same things no matter where we are. Most people care about eating and sleeping well, their friends and family, their business, their community, and the usual things. It doesn’t matter if they live in France or China, or India, or anywhere else for that matter. People everywhere are quite simple actually, and we are more alike than we think.

2. We have become very homogeneous due to internet and travel

Due to the spread of smartphones, social media, and YouTube, as well as globalization and mass tourism, you can see similar cultural elements such as Western food, drinks, clothing, and architecture, which we rapidly adopted from the last century or so, almost anywhere you go.

You can see avocado toast, pasta, pizza, and coffee, in almost any tourist spot in the world you visit, you will see most people in t-shirts and jeans as opposed to traditional wear, and cities tend to have the familiar concrete roads, infrastructure, and buildings as its basic foundation. The media we consume has also become quite homogeneous due to YouTube and Netflix, which makes us more connected (which I think is great), but also makes all of us similar in thought and unoriginal.

While this may dampen the experience of a hardcore traveler, I think it forces us to appreciate the differences that do still exist in our cultures due to the long history and traditions from which we came from. For example, people may wear the same t-shirt and jeans attire everywhere, but the kind of styles and brands and accessories that people wear can be quite different according to different regions.

3. We are all plagued by similarly grave environmental problems

Anywhere I went, the roads and waterways were plagued with plastic waste and cities were suffering from polluted air, water, and land due to rapid economic development, to differing degrees of course. Each country deals with it in the best way that it can but it is an overwhelming problem that just cannot be effectively grasped while we still remain in our conventional economic development model.

4. People are generally kind to guests and strangers when given the chance.

I have been shown great kindness everywhere I go, from being given directions, to free food, or even just a nice smile and a hello from curious locals. People love to show their country’s culture to other people, and to share the most wonderful things about their communities. I am always very grateful and pleasantly surprised when I travel due to the generosity that the local people show without expecting anything in return.

5. You cannot run away from yourself.

This lesson I learned near the end of my travels, which is that no matter where I go, there is one thing that is always constant and that’s me. Traveling was a thrill-seeking hobby for years, and it allowed me to grow so much personally, by seeing gorgeous landscapes, and learning about the different ways people live and think around the world. But eventually the newness of traveling became old news, and it no longer gave the same thrill that it once did, and I could not help but face myself and all the issues that I have within.

When I was forced to face myself and found that there were things I was not accepting about myself and my life, this naturally caused me great suffering and I was forced to accept them and to do something about them if I wanted to become a better person and live a better life.

Only when I was willing to accept myself fully could I allow my natural self to emerge, in whatever form she wanted to present herself to me and the universe.

So here are the 5 big things that I learned while traveling. What about you? What are some lessons you learned while traveling?

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