The Traveler’s Degree: 14 Lessons Learned On The Road

The Traveler’s Degree: 14 Lessons Learned On The Road

Reflecting on traveling can be one of the most rewarding, yet challenging parts of the entire process. You begin to question yourself, your experiences, and the precious time you have spent finding your way through all of the weird, winding, and interesting parts of the world. But what you come away with is truly a traveler’s degree, a life degree in all the subjects you can never really name…

What have you really learned? What can you truly take away from the immense sensory overload you have just been living in the past ten months?

Wait, whaaaat? (Dressed in local H’mong attire from Sapa, Vietnam)

For me, I have developed a new love and passion for life itself, for the entire experience – the ups, the downs, and the in-between. I have developed an offensive outlook on life – an outlook where there is always a solution, because on the road there has to be a solution.

If you lose your passport, you find an embassy. If the motorbike won’t start in 100 degree heat in the middle of nowhere, you must believe that help will come (yes this happened in India, and yes the local men helped us out). If your bus is delayed ten hours, you finish an entire book. If you get food poisoning, you crawl up and die for a day, and you vow to never eat Pad Thai again (HA.. yeah right).

Travel urges you to reach for the positive in negative situations. You are going to run into problems, A LOT OF PROBLEMS, but that is okay. It is inevitable, and as long as you are able to get up and rub the dirt off, you always grow in some way. It is a continuous process, and I am far from finished, but for now I can take away these 14 things from my time on the road.

1) Life itself is risky, travel even more so; you pick your risk level

Traveler's degree

2) Bartering with street vendors is the best form of negotiation practice


3) People, individuals, souls, bodies-whatever you want to call the human element: it is the most important part of the experience


4) You never know what you’re going to get- from people, lovers, towns, roadmaps…And therein lies the adventure

Traveler's degree

5) The smile is a universal gesture, do it more often

traveler's degree 6) Don’t just look at people but look into them, there is always more than you expect


7) Youth means keeping the spark in your eye, the flame for more


8) The backpack is the heaviest weight you’ll ever carry that actually sets you free


9) Everyone questions their own condition, their own place in space

10) Reading is the second best teacher to experience

11) Real-life is yours to create


12) When life, Vietnamese street vendors, or Indian tuk-tuk drivers push you, you only have one option-push back, push back hard


13) It all passes: the euphoria, the fear, the excitement, and even dread. Take it as it comes, for it will be replaced with something else soon enough

Traveler's Degree

14) And lastly, you don’t have to know where you belong. I don’t know where I belong. I don’t want to belong anywhere. I want to belong everywhere.

And that’s my short list for now! What have you learned from your travels abroad, or from the people you have encountered along the way? Spill in the comments below 🙂 


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