What Long Term Travel Has Taught Me

With our time in New Zealand disappearing before us, I thought it was time to reflect on what I’ve learnt since leaving the UK 11 Months ago.

1-You don’t always need a plan to succeed. 

When we decided to come on this adventure I had pretty much every single detail planned to a T! Upon arriving in New Zealand we had no idea where to stay, no idea what jobs to do. And y’no what, the world didn’t end. We ended up finding an apartment in the best area imaginable & whilst our jobs aren’t the greatest in the world, they pay the bills & keep our travel funds topped up.

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2- I can actually drive

Those of you who know me are aware I hate driving. Actually, let me rephrase that. I LOVE driving…when no one else is on the roads! Being forced to drive as part of my job in New Zealand has made me realise that not everyone’s intentions is to crash into me whilst driving. Also…as laggy as automatic cars are…I LOVE them! Never shall I go through the stress of driving a manual again! (I know…I’m such a girl!)

3-Don’t be afraid of change. Thrown yourself out of your comfort zone once in a while.

Turning up to a complete strangers house to WWOOF was one of the best decisions we made! We planned to do this work exchange for a couple of weeks before hitting the big city & ended up staying almost 3 months! After being on the road for a few months we definitely appreciated being back in the hub of a family home. We now count these guys as our Kiwi Family!

4- You’re never too old to learn new skills

I was apprehensive about taking on a new role outside of the Travel industry. After all, it’s all I’ve ever known! But throwing myself into the deep end being a sales administrator in a brand new industry has gave me transferable skills that will be great not only for my CV but also for working online.

5- You don’t have to spend a shed load of money to enjoy yourself

Back in the UK we would always spend more money than we needed to buying things we didn’t need or drinking & eating our budget away. Since travelling, we have found so many free or cheap things to do with our time. Everything from visiting beautiful Cenotes in Mexico to just taking in the view with an ice cream in hand down at Wellington Harbour.

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6- Be flexible

So many days we’ve gone out with a plan only to be distracted by a festival going on or a live German Brass Band playing in the sunshine (who were incredible may I add!) If you’re flexible with your plans then you won’t have to miss out on what’s going on here and now.

7- As much as I love travelling, I really would love a place of our own.

Our wee apartment in Windy Welly has made me realise how much I would actually like a home. At the moment we’re as careful as we can be buying anything new because we have limited luggage space. I would love to have a base in Europe that we could call our own. When we started this adventure it was the last thing on my mind! Travel definitely changes you!

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8-You appreciate friends & family even more than before.

Spend time with those who you care about & care about you in return. With some people it feels like ‘out of sight out of mind’ whereas other friends & family I speak to more now I’m away than I did back home! Then there are other friends who I’ve known my whole life who I could turn up at the door tomorrow and it would be as though I saw them yesterday.  And there are friends who I thought I’d never hear from again but have been in touch constantly since I left. Travel has definitely taught me that people will come in and out of your life for various reasons. Don’t loose sleep over it. Appreciate those who pass through yours. Life really is too short!

Have you learnt any life tips whilst out on the road?

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36 Replies to “What Long Term Travel Has Taught Me”

  1. I agree with some of you statements. I have never experienced them myself as I have never been away longer than a month. But your experience and expressions make sense.

    1. Thanks!

  2. I feel like I’ve learned many of these same lessons myself! Especially the part about wanting a place of my own. I used to change cities every five days. Now, I go slower and I’ll rent apartments to base myself out of. I prefer it this way.
    Nathan recently posted…The 9 Best Meals I Had In IcelandMy Profile

    1. That’s what i like to do. I just burn out travelling from place to place every few days. Slow travel is definitely more sustainable.

  3. Yes! Yes! And:: Yes!
    I’ve been on the road non-stop for three years and for half the time the three years before that.
    I can only agree with the points you’re making.
    Even though, I’m not nearly ready to settle down, even point 7 is dear to me. But for me “A Place of My Own” is already a place I stay in for two weeks, where I know the neighbors and where to go for good food, where I can go for a nice walk, and where the bed is comfortable 😉

    Happy continued travels — may they be short- or long-term!
    C

    1. I think i like the idea of spending 6 months in one place then the other half of the year travelling. We shall see what the future holds!

  4. Nice post 🙂 I understand what you mean when you talk about wanting a home to call your own. Some people are perfectly happy living out of a backpack and I am too for the moment, but in the future I’m so excited for a place to call my own and plan my adventures in! I’ll be keeping an eye on your blog!

    1. I like to be somewhere for at least a month…more so i can actually unpack! I think 6 months at one address then travel the other 6…that would work for me 🙂

  5. Totally agree with all your points on this, especially the last one. Friends and family are important, you appreciate them more on your return from the road (despite the fact they dont want to hear your stories as they were following you on social media..he he)
    Danik recently posted…Would You Kiss the Blarney Stone?My Profile

    1. So true! Although i still end up telling them the stories whether they are listening or not! 🙂

  6. I think having a home base is something I will always need. There’s just something about coming home and sleeping in your own bed! And I definitely agree on your point about appreciating family and friends. When you’re gone, you realize who really cares about you.
    Vicky and Buddy recently posted…Free Things To Do In And Around MiamiMy Profile

    1. A million per cent. I worked overseas for 6 months when i was 18 and boy oh boy did i realise who my friends were when i arrived home!

  7. Megan Jerrard says: Reply

    All fantastic lessons to have taken from life on the road – I particularly like that you highlighted never being too old to learn new skills – I think that as we grow older we find more and more attachment to our comfort zone. But it’s a good thing to break free of it every once in a while 🙂

    1. Completely agree with you.

  8. Thanks for sharing the lessons you’ve learned! I agree with your points. After spending a few years overseas, I appreciate my friends and family back home. Also, I’ve learned to be flexible with my plan!

    1. That’s been the biggest hurdle for me…going from OCD planner to much more relaxed if we don’t have plans set in stone.

  9. Travel teaches us so much. I’m glad that you got to spend some time driving in New Zealand. It’s such a beautiful country to drive in.

    1. It sure is…although i prefer being the passenger so i can really soak up those views.

  10. It has definitely taught us a lot as well, especially organizational skills and more importantly how to manage difficult situations while traveling. I definitely agree with you that you are never too old to learn. We actually learn so much every time we travel.
    Travelwith2ofus recently posted…Guadeloupe is the French Caribbean’s best kept secretMy Profile

    1. It’s always fun to learn new things.

  11. I really resonate with number 4 – You’re never too old to learn new skills. I’m 30 and just last year learnt to skateboard! Ha ha!
    Castaway with Crystal recently posted…Budget Mexico Guide: Yucatan PenninsulaMy Profile

    1. That’s awesome! My balance is terrible so i admire you! Fun fact- i can’t actually ride a bicycle so maybe that’s a skill i can learn before I’m 30.

  12. We have really had to struggle with the balance between wanting a place of our own and traveling the world. It would be nice to have a more permanent home base! Love this article:)

    1. It’s a tough choice isn’t it? I kinda want both at the moment 🙂

  13. Love this I too agree with you are never to old to learn a new school or back to one you used to do! Love that! I also used to be a organizational freak after traveling I have learned to just wing it sometimes!
    Stacey Veikalas recently posted…The Best Foods Of Puglia, ItalyMy Profile

    1. It’s liberating…but sometimes i think i need to get a little but of organisation back in my life!

  14. Yes yes yes to all of these, but especially appreciating friends and family even more! I’ve also started to value experiences more than material items. Loved reading this, thanks for sharing 🙂
    Carmen’s Luxury Travel recently posted…Top Things to Do in Ronda, SpainMy Profile

    1. Completely. I’d much rather spend money visiting something like the Pyramids than on new shoes!

  15. Plans are made to be thrown away! It took me a while to get used to that. Now I barely make any plans and that’s not the best way either!
    I learned so much when travelling long term too, as for me the best trip duration is about 4-5 weeks, everything else is too much for me.
    Viki recently posted…Diving in San Andrés with Blue LifeMy Profile

    1. I think my ideal trip is about 6-8 weeks in one location. Gives me time to settle into local life & not feel like I’ve only been unpacked for five minutes.

  16. Craving a place of my own after traveling really took me by surprise! Don’t get me wrong, I love travel now more than ever but I also like feeling settled. Anyway, love this insightful post.
    Jetsetter Jenn recently posted…How to Spend 48 Hours in Trinidad, CubaMy Profile

    1. Same here Jenn! I thought once i was on the road i’d never want to settle down but it’s made me realise how much i miss having a ‘home’.

  17. These are very awesome life lessons. The are import for character building no matter what age. One of the best way to learn about yourself is to take yourself out of your comfort zone. Us travel bloggers like to take it up notch by removing ourselves out of our country. Lol. My fave. Be flexible.
    Christopher recently posted…Sygic Travel: Trip Planner & City GuideMy Profile

    1. Very true Christopher 🙂

  18. I agree with all of these! Especially learning to be flexible. Always sticking to a plan is just unrealistic and you’ll just end up constantly disappointed. Loved it!

    1. Thanks Jarrod!

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