I am a full-time traveling registered nurse, fitness enthusiast, and nutrition expert. Every morning I wake up intending to bring awareness of the importance of health and spiritual wellness, especially to the traveling community. At Messy Bun Traveler, we promote travel that allows the traveler to either kick-start, maintain, or enhance a healthy lifestyle. So whether you're someone who travels for business, travels for pleasure, or new to travel and looking for health advice while on the road, this blog is for you!
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As a college graduate, I spent most of my life studying from textbooks and case studies, newspaper articles, and online journals. I spent five years in a classroom listening to a professor lecture on various topics each day.
Although I loved college and learned so much, there are some life lessons no classroom, website, scholarly journal, or professor can teach you. These lessons come from traveling the world and experiencing the world around you.
My very first trip overseas was to Fiji for an international service-learning project through my college. We went off the beaten path to a remote village on the island, hours away from any major city, grocery store, or hospital. The village had no electricity, running water, working sewage system, or refrigeration.
I will be honest, at first, I felt out of place. I never had in my life lived without any of these things. It was hard. And was definitely an adjustment…It never crossed my mind that many people in the world live like this.
The biggest lesson I have learned from going to Fiji, as well as the many countries I have visited after; is that having a roof over my head, hot meals, clean water, transportation and the mere ability to travel is a luxury that most individuals in the world do not have. For that, I am so incredibly lucky.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the hype of celebrity gossip, dropping a pretty penny over the latest Michael Kors purse, or drooling over your friend’s new set of wheels. Today’s society continuously convinces us we’re never good enough; therefore leaving us always wanting more.
Traveling has given me a whole new perspective on life. It’s not about money, fame, or fortune. It’s less about what you have, and more about what you have to offer to others. Whether it’s a helping hand, kindness, or even a simple smile- these small things go so much farther.
I had realized that the more I travel- especially when I started travel nursing and living life on the road, the more I de-complicated my life by getting rid of or donating my possessions. I’ve come to find that the less I have, the easier it is to enjoy every moment.
I still like clothing, shoes, jewelry, and purses, and occasionally, I want to browse online stores. But then I ask myself, “do I really NEED this?” and 99% of the time, my answer is no. Less really can be more.
Traveling is very doable if you know how to budget your money well. Whether you’re on a minimum wage or a six-figure salary, traveling is very feasible as long as money is being put away for it.
I have to say I started managing my money a lot better when I gained the motivation to travel.
MANY people are doing it, so it can’t be that hard, right? I’ve learned traveling isn’t rocket science- the traveling industry has made it very doable.
All you need to do is get on a plane, train, car, or bus. The rest will just fall into play. There are also many books, journals, and blogs out there to help you along with your journey.
You inevitably learn that you are more capable than you thought. Travel teaches you confidence, independence, and freedom.
By traveling around the world, I’ve learned how to adapt and be more flexible. I’ve learned how to be more social and also better understand nonverbal communication (especially when traveling overseas).
Overall, I’ve become a more independent, more open, and better person from roaming the globe and interacting with other people.
I have always been more of an introvert; I’ve had and still sometimes have social anxiety and find it scary to just throw myself out there amongst a group of strangers. It took me a while to learn how to say “hello” to random people, but traveling has made me much more comfortable doing so.
In the end, everyone is amicable, and it’s easy to strike up a conversation with someone who shares the same passion for traveling as you do.
If I had never gotten out of my comfort zone and socialized more, I would have never connected with some of the best friends that I have now.
And believe it or not, I met my boyfriend and travel companion on an overseas trip!
Distance and time cannot break the bond you form with people while traveling.
With that being said, traveling has helped me expand my view on life. I’m not afraid to try new food, jump out of an airplane, take a cooking class, pick up on dialect from a foreign language, jump off the top deck of a boat, and the list can go on.
I’ve eaten tarantulas in Cambodia, ridden in a tuk-tuk through Thailand, and walked across the Nicaragua-Costa Rican border when my international flight was canceled.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned through all this- is that it’s essential to challenge yourself to seek adventure. Life is too short not too.
Plans will fall through, flights will be delayed, and people with try and scam you. But no matter what happens on the road, it’s never a mistake.
I’ve learned that the journey is an adventure- and no matter how hard or rigorous you plan, some things are bound to fall through. That’s life. It’s best to go with the flow and let the road just pave itself out in front of you.
I’m starting to realize it’s imperative to live life with no regrets, and the misfortunes that sometimes happen are not a mistake, but more of a lesson learned.
I’ve always been a master planner- planning every moment of every day by writing to-do lists and trip itineraries and goals. And although all those are important, sometimes it’s just as important not to have a plan at all.
I’ve learned that traveling is about finding ways to change yourself for the better- and just letting life take you where you never knew it could go.
Life is full of natural wonder and beauty; there’s no reason to be stressed or worried all the time. The universe will play out as it may. Relax, and go with the flow.
The biggest thing I’ve learned while planning trip itineraries is that it’s vital to make time just to relax. Spend the day lounging on the beach, lounging by the pool with a good book, or take a stroll along the mountainside with the sound of nature. Don’t get caught up in all the “must-sees.”
Part of traveling isn’t about finding the latest and greatest travel destination- it’s more about finding yourself.
Everywhere I have been, I’ve met the most amazing, like-minded people. People, even without having spoken the same language- have gone out of their way to help me.
For example, when my boyfriend and I were crossing the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, a gentleman went out of his way to help us find the bus that would take us to our destination, Liberia. He knew we didn’t have any cash on us, but he helped us anyway.
It was then I realized that it’s important not to be guarded against unfamiliar faces- most people are genuinely kind and will help you in your time of need.
The American culture has taught us to fear strangers- stories of murderers, rapists, terrorists, and thieves flood the news making it impossible to believe that most people are good and just trying to be friendly.
If I were continually guarding myself for fear of being taken advantage of, I would have never met some of the most amazing people that have ultimately changed my life.
Ever since I bought myself a smartphone- although useful, it has turned me away from many social interactions. We see it everywhere we go- on a bus, or train; at work…people are so constantly consumed by what’s on their screen that we forget about interacting with the people around us.
Traveling has forced me to put the phone down and experience life. It has forced me to say hello to that stranger next to me, explore areas with no cell service, and not panic when my battery dies.
Sometimes it’s best to live life unplugged for a while.
Traveling is a great way to learn about yourself and the world around you. These 12 lessons are just a taste of what traveling can teach you. I encourage you to get out there and explore as much of the world as possible.
Who knows, maybe you’ll learn something new that will forever change your life. Did any of these lessons resonate with you? What other life lessons have you learned from traveling?
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