By: Nick Callos
Why is travel important for learning?
Well, adventures are the best way to broaden your perspective, challenge yourself to adapt, and grow from experience. Travel also expands your horizons. As Mark Twain once wrote:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
As travel has begun to take off again, we thought it would be fun to write an article about what travel teaches you, specifically the hard and soft skills we pick up along the way. The chance to absorb these travel lessons should inspire you to book your next trip.
Without further ado, let’s go over what travel teaches you.
Travel Lesson 1: Empathy
What travel teaches you about empathy is incredible. An article in AFAR explains that travel exposes us to different ways of living and inspires us to “find new ways to look at yourself and your place in the world.”
Travel Lesson 2: Language Skills
Most language experts agree: Immersing yourself in a language is the best way to learn it. While watching movies and reading newspapers can help with learning Spanish, French or another language, living the language is the best way to build fluency.
- Want to learn Spanish? Get a Digital Nomad Visa to Costa Rica, where you can speak the language every day. Learn more in this article.
Travel Lesson 3: Adaptability
Nothing ever goes 100% as planned when you travel. You have to be ready for travel delays, cultural differences, language barriers and more. It’s all part of the charm of travel. The experience alone, as long as you have the right attitude, will improve your adaptability skills. As an article in Career Gappers states, travel shows us that “adaptability is an attitude, an approach to putting one front in front of the other with positivity and ease.”
Travel Lesson 4: Time Management
Even if you’re a digital nomad, you still have to plan your trips and think about how to plan your hours. For example:
- How long should you spend at this historic site?
- How much time do I need to get to the train station?
- How many days should I stay in this town versus another town?
Ensuring a trip goes successfully requires solid management of one’s time. These time management skills you learn while traveling will undoubtedly benefit you professionally and personally throughout life.
Travel Lesson 5: Cross-Cultural Competence
Traveling abroad enables you to learn about others’ cultures, customs, identities, history, language and more. The key to building cross-cultural competence while traveling is taking time to research your destination, communicate with locals, and visit important sites. The benefits of having cross-cultural competence will be tremendous, especially in the modern workplace and global economy where such a skill is highly valued.
- Want to learn more about how to approach travel? Read about Anthony Bourdain’s best episodes of Parts Unknown to understand how the legendary traveler experienced places.
Travel Lesson 6: Patience
You’re not always in control when you travel. Sometimes you have to wait for a visa; other times obstacles arise. Whether it’s struggling to order the right dish or losing your luggage, you’re going to have to possess patience to get through the situation. You’ll have to learn how to take a breath and handle the situation calmly.
Travel Lesson 7: Creativity & Productivity
Studies have shown that vacations reduce stress and anxiety, and they improve overall life satisfaction. For creatives, entrepreneurs and others, travel also offers a mental reset and a way to eliminate burnout. Most people come back from travel more refreshed and productive. Even more important, what travel teaches you is new ways of thinking, which can help with creativity and innovation. Who knows? Maybe you’ll finally achieve a breakthrough while backpacking through another country.
Travel Lesson 8: Interpersonal Skills
What travel teaches you about interpersonal skills is invaluable. First, travel enables you to meet new people daily, which can help build confidence in your communication skills. Additionally, since language barriers may arise, you must lean on nonverbal communication skills a little more. You also must speak clearly and listen intently during all interactions. All this helps to boost your interpersonal skills.
Travel Lesson 9: Budgeting
Travel will certainly test your personal financial skills, and that challenge will benefit you throughout life. While traveling, you do have to pay attention to how you use your money, and this requires careful budgeting and planning. If you don’t spend your money wisely, you could wind up in a tight spot, or not have enough for an emergency. That’s why you should budget beforehand and make sure to stick to that budget each step of the way.
- At Frayed Passport, we have lots of resources on how to make travel affordable, even for long-term travelers. Read our digital nomad budgeting guide for tips.
Travel Lesson 10: Problem Solving
Going outside your comfort zone will lead you to obstacles, whether that’s an issue with lodging, your motorbike malfunctioning or missing a flight transfer. You must be able to think on your feet to navigate ever-changing situations. If you want things to go well, you’ll have to solve problems effectively.
So, why is travel important for learning?
Experience is the greatest teacher. We can’t learn if we are not challenged. Travel takes us outside normal everyday scenarios, forcing us to think effectively, communicate clearly, manage resources wisely, and relax and breathe. The skills travel teaches us are abundant, from empathy and adaptability to language skills and time management.
Now that you know what travel teaches you, go learn!
That concludes our article on what travel teaches you. We hope you keep these skills in mind the next time you travel. That way, you can absorb all of these travel lessons and come back as an even better version of yourself.
Have fun and learn all you can out there on the road!
About the Author
Nick Callos has always had a passion for reading, writing, and discovering the new and unknown. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Nick holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Boston College. He currently splits his time between his hometown, Chengdu, China, and the open road. A full-time travel writer, Nick hopes his work can inspire others to explore the world more deeply and enjoy the digital nomad lifestyle.
Featured image by Charlotte Noelle on Unsplash.