What being on the road has taught us (III)

  1. Learning is indeed a life long process, and the first thing we should teach our children at the start of their journey on Earth is to learn how to learn. Every experience, every person, every challenge. “What can I learn from this?” should become the question we carry with us at every moment.
  2. Studying and learning are two different things. The first one happens in school, the second one in life. Do not be fooled with respect to which one is the more important one. School is over after 20 years. Life… usually takes a bit longer.
  3. We’ve been focusing on the “what” to study for too long. Even the “how” and “why” are obsolete. Time to start looking at “who” it is we’re trying to teach. “One size fits all” is so last millennium it makes me wanna cry…
  4. Those you consider freaks will most times be the ones with most to teach you. Suspend judgment.
  5. Suspend judgment.
  6. Suspend judgment.
  7. Sometimes our most meaningful and unexpected life lessons will come from old unschooled ladies selling dodgy looking food by the road side.
  8. And our greatest teachers will sometimes be those we thought were our students. As long as we put our pride aside and allow ourselves to be taught.
  9. When we think we’re teaching is when we learn the most. Let’s put down our arrogance and stay open.
  10. Kids are so much smarter than we think. The kids of today more than ever.
  11. We can’t teach someone who is not willing to learn. What we can do is make the person see why learning is important. If that fails too, maybe we’re not meant to be the teacher. Or maybe the time has not yet come.
  12. When we say “I never thought I would…” almost every day, it means we’re on an accelerated journey of learning and growing.
  13. Learning from books, movies and stories is great. It’s all intellectual learning though, and it only becomes life changing when the heart learns it too. That happens by experiencing.
  14. When you sell a product or service, give something for free first. People will be so much more inclined to buy from you after that
  15. If you’ve been inspired at least once in a day, it was a day well spent. If you inspired someone at least once in a day, it was a week well spent.
  16. No matter how many sunrises and sunsets you have seen in your life, you will still find ones that will simply take your breath away
  17. After 10 months on the road with nothing but a backpack, even 9kg will sometimes prove to be “too much stuff”
  18. Indeed, happiness has nothing to do with the amount of stuff we own. It’s not directly proportional with our things, but with our attitude
  19. You can’t go to a different part of the world with the beliefs and habits from your own and expect to fit in and be just fine. You won’t be just fine, and then you’ll end up blaming it one the part of the world you’re visiting (because obviously you’re not going to blame it on your own rigidity). The smart thing to do is either embrace “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”, or just stay home. The world is not ready for your judgments. And you’re not ready for the world.
  20. When you go up a mountain for a day, make sure you have enough food for two. Even if you make it back down in time, there will always be someone starving up there
  21. Talking with locals in a market somewhere in the middle of the mountains can sometimes be the most special moment you’ve had in a country
  22. Some of the best teas don’t come from fancy tea bags, but rather from orange, pineapple or apple peals, cinnamon or eucalyptus leaves.
  23. If you think having freshly made pop-corn in front of your tent by a lagoon 4200m high is wishful thinking… think again ;).
  24. When you find yourself excitedly exclaiming upon seeing a hostel room: “Wow, we have a lamp! This is a posh place!” it means you’ve been backpacking long enough.
  25. One can not only survive for a year, but actually be truly happy with nothing but 3 changes of clothes and an old pair of shoes. In fact, that’s all one needs.
  26. If you think that people who dance like no one’s looking are a myth, go to Brazil and see the damage you’re causing to yourself by being so stiff. Relax a little. Live a little.
  27. When traveling, do things you’ve never done before. That’s where most of the learning and excitement lie. Make and sell sweets in the street, work in a hostel, build a house, work in the field, pick fruits in the jungle, take care of animals, teach someone. So many incredible things out there we’d never be able to learn and experience sitting in an office.
  28. You can’t be too fancy when traveling, you’d be missing out on way too many things. No one has ever died from eating in a local market, drinking hot chocolate from an auntie in the street or squeezing in an old bus that looks like it’s gonna break down after 5km. Yet so many special experiences are being lived doing exactly these things.
  29. There is a major difference between a tourist and a traveler. The first one experiences things mainly mentally and certainly superficially, while a true traveler finds his heart transformed.
  30. Use your common sense and you’ll be fine. If a place looks dodgy, don’t go there. If you’re alone, take care at night. If someone’s face makes you think he’s trying to cheat you, go to someone else.
  31. Wake up early and go out, especially when in a small town. The daily coming to life of such a place is simply delightful!
  32. When you find a “favorite place”, remember there are many other places out there you don’t know about yet, but they could be your “even more favorite place”. Don’t settle for “good”, because “great” might be just around the corner. And never stop exploring.
  33. If you don’t speak the language of the place you’re going to, learn at least the basics. It’s the least you can do to show your respect towards the people whose lands you’re crossing.
  34. Be prepared to say good bye to “I never” and “I always”. There will be many first times, and that’s what it’s all about.
  35. You’ll also do many things you never thought you would. That’s when you’ll really experience the truth of “never say never”.
  36. When things don’t go as planned, which will very likely be all the time, just smile. Enjoy anyway and take it as an opportunity to learn about patience and flexibility.
  37. The first cold shower is the worst. Every subsequent one gets better and better. After a while, you will even start enjoying it (nah, sorry, that’s a lie).
  38. The local markets, that’s where all the goodies are – from the incredible food to the best information and conversations. Also the nicest people around.
  39. Do not sit under the sun at 4000m high with no sunscreen on. You’re not made of plastic (yet). You will burn.
  40. The skill and speed of hand washing your socks does become better with time.
  41. When you exclaim “The thing I liked most on this plate was the onion” at the end of a dinner, that’s a sign to never step into that restaurant again.
  42. Your hair will go through changes according to location, climate, altitude. You’re not in a Schwarzkopf commercial, you will have bad hair days. It’s best to just accept them and smile to the world anyway.
  43. When traveling, trust, believe, but always triple check your information. And sometimes, quadruple check it.
  44. If you’re in the mountains and ask for the time to reach a certain place, multiply whatever you’re being told by 3 in order to get the accurate time.
  45. DO NOT go into the jungle without a repellent, and if you did it anyway, DO NOT scratch! I know it’s the equivalent of telling a dog not to chew on a meat covered bone, but you have to be strong, put your human quality of control and will power to good use.
  46. Being a vegetarian saves you money. In some countries in South America it might mean you’ll be eating the same thing 4 times a week, but hey…:)
  47. When traveling by plane, have always your toothbrush and an extra T-shirt in your cabin luggage. Cause you really never know…
  48. If you’re adamant about sticking to your original plans, chances are you’ll end up stressed and unfulfilled. If you feel the calling of a place you’ve just heard of, go there. If you feel you need to stay more in a certain place, do it. If you feel you must move on, move on now!
  49. By being inflexible about your plans you’ll also be missing out on so much, as the best moments of a trip turn out to be those you really couldn’t have planned.
  50. There’s no such thing as „I’ve seen it all”. Even if you think you have, you haven’t. There’s also no such thing as „I’ve tried it all”. When you think you have, know there are still things to be tried.
  51. Have more faith in yourself. Those around you need you to
  52. “No need to run, and hide, it’s a wonderful wonderful world”… indeed 🙂

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