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The common thing that people do when they retire is travel…
And for good reason.
I’ve been fortunate enough to travel quite extensively over the past 5 years, especially since I recently retired. I have been on the road for 6 months now, and will be traveling for most of the next 2 months as well.
My most recent stops have been: Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam… They are some of the most amazing, cultural, beautiful, but poorest countries that I’ve ever been to.
Coming from a small town in Ohio, I always yearned to see what else was out there. I was told there is a big world out there, and I wanted to go see it. So, I have. And I will continue to do so.
The reasons people travel are endless, and the benefits are priceless. And so, I suggest to anyone and everyone to travel often. You learn so much about other people, but more importantly, you learn about yourself.
Not to get too philosophical, but life is a journey to figure out yourself. The best way to do that, is to repeatedly put yourself outside of your comfort zone. It is to put yourself in new situations, a new environment, meeting new people and the best way you can do that is by traveling.
I can’t do anything without trying to learn something from it, so after looking back at my travels to 25 countries, here are 43 of the many lessons I’ve learned along the way:
1. People want the same things in life, no matter who you are or where you’re from.
And that is FREEDOM. This is the ultimate goal for anybody, anywhere. It’s just a matter of whether you recognize that yet or not.
2. If something means little to you, but a lot to someone else, then give it away.
Giving away something that you have excess of (it can be anything) is maybe the quickest way to joy.
3. “A picture is worth a thousand words,” but stories and memories are priceless.
4. The more you live, the more you feel alive.
I love the quote, “The closer you are to death, the more you are alive.” Sometimes, that is so true!
5. Nothing is “weird”, per say…
It is just “different” than what you are familiar with.
6. If we don’t like something, it is just because we don’t understand it in the same way that someone else does.
Recognize this, and you’ll be a wise, wise person.
7. You don’t have to understand the language to understand a person.
“Your actions speak so loudly, I can not hear what you are saying.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
8. We all have a dream and a vision.
They are quite different details many times, but we all see into the future a better life.
9. Most often, the best thing that you can say is: nothing with a smile. 🙂
It works every time.
10. There is always a “why” behind something.
For instance, there is always a reason why another culture is that way. Understand that why, and your doubts or biases will be squashed.
11. We are only a small spec in this universe, and the world doesn’t revolve around you or me.
In fact, the world continues on without us, whether we like it or not. My sister and I were gone for a month, and the world kept on turning, just as fast as it ever has.
12. History is amazing.
Understanding our past makes us better appreciate our present, and excel in our future. We all should learn more about all of the events that have lead to where we are now.
13. You have to put yourself out there, and be the first to make a move.
“Everybody is always waiting for someone else to go first,” as David Wood says.
14. It is way more fun to listen than it is to talk.
I always preferred this way, because I already know my own story. Why would I want to hear it again? I’d rather hear someone else’s. It is very interesting, so listen to it.
15. The world is your playground.
There is so much to see and do. The world is yours, and you can use it as you wish. Take advantage of it.
16. The opportunities to help the world are amazing.
Nobody can ever tell me that there are not enough opportunities out there.
17. The more you simplify, the better things work.
KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. Simplicity is genius. The less complex things are, the better they work and the longer they last. By using my phone as a camera and a ‘book’, it would last 50 times longer and faster than using it as a GPS, cell phone, social media, email tool, etc.
18. There are so many people out there that need your help.
You are blessed. If you’re not doing what you were put on this earth to do, you are doing others a disservice.
19. People are like sheep.
Get a few in motion, and you can start a tidal wave.
20. Energy is necessary; it is where it starts and ends.
“Everything is one thing, and that is energy.”
21. Learn good defense, then go on the offensive attack.
During one of the thai kickboxing championships, I realized how great this one fighter’s strategy was. He had perfect defense, and never let the fighter get into him. Then, after he knew that (and his opponent did as well), he went on the attack and dominated the other opponent. This is what you should do for your finances as well. Learn the fundamentals, get out of debt, build good habits… then go make money, take risks and make it happen.
22. Win the crowd, and you win your freedom.
This Gladiator ethos is as important in many things as it is in fighting.
23. Kids are kids anywhere.
They’re happy and have fun, they’re fearless and worry-free, and they dream big. Be like a kid.
24. Negotiating is like trading.
Patience and discipline go a long way.
25. It is easy to gather up excuses when you don’t keep your body and mind in shape.
Eat healthy, sleep right, put good products in your body. If you’re not as energetic and healthy as possible, you can’t be your best you.
26. There are a few languages that everyone understands…
Smile, cheers, nod, laughter and a bow. Show sincerity, and they’ll understand. Trust me.
27. Treat everyone well…
You never know when you’re going to run into them, or need them, again. Treat everyone you meet like you will need them again in the future.
28. It’s not about how much; it is about how fulfilled.
The average income for the majority of the cities that we visited: less than $2.50 per day. Cambodians average $880 per year, whereas Americans are nearly 60 times that amount! Yet, they weren’t any more or less fulfilled and happy than Americans. Often, I’d say they were much more satisfied. This is important!
29. You represent much more than what you think.
In college, my football coach (shout out to Coach Paul!) repeatedly told us that we not only represent the entire team, but we represent the entire University as well. The same is true for traveling. Your actions and the way you carry yourself matter. If you’re an asshole, you represent you’re entire country. If you’re amazing and fun, you still represent your entire country. Think about that next time you’re doing anything – you are representing so much more than yourself)
30. Don’t ask for something or expect it… Just deserve it.
The people who put their heart out there get paid a lot more than people who put their hand out there for a tip.
31. When in doubt, take the more simple route.
Make it easy. You often won’t regret it.
32. Be prepared, but keep options and eyes open.
Be flexible, be willing to pivot, and be open. The world will reward you with good experiences if you do.
33. Know the big picture, but leave the details open until you need to know them.
We planned the trip just by outlining it, then knowing what key things we wanted to accomplish. Then, we handled the rest of the specifics as they happened. This is equivalent to JIT (Just In-Time) learning, which is the most efficient and effective way to learn.
34. You create your own culture…
Create a laid back culture and everyone is laid back. Create a safe and trusting environment, and everyone is safe and trusted.
35. Broken systems aren’t necessarily broken if everyone plays by the same rules.
The traffic was insane, and had close to zero rules. But it worked, and maybe worked much better than it would if they had stricter rules like in the United States.
36. Pollution is terrible.
The U.S. does an outstanding job of limiting bad pollution, and for damn good reason.
37. The less connected, the more connected.
Turn off the cell phone and make a real connection.
38. You don’t need internet/cell phone service everywhere you are. You just don’t…
But having good wi-fi when you need it is a thing I’ve been spoiled with and don’t have the patience to put up with.
39. Sprint, then rest. Sprint, then rest.
This is the most efficient way to work. Before leaving the country, I got 6 weeks of ‘work’ done in 1 week. Then, I took that entire time off from anything.
40. What you dream of becomes reality…
If you stay focused and work hard. This picture is from my hometown in Ohio. It is laughed at being in my small town, but the idea is real – vision becomes reality.
41. Be proud of where you’re from.
People love to tell you two things: what their name is, and where they’re from. Always ask them. And be sure to tell them yours. Everyone’s ‘home’ is an amazing place, and has made them who they are.
42. We are much smarter than we know.
If something feels a bit off, it usually is. Listen to your gut.
43. I am different, unique and blessed. So are you.
I am me, you are you. We need to create our own destiny, and write our own story. We were put on this earth for a reason, and we need to take advantage of it.
44. It is all worth it.
The sacrifices, the hard work, the sweat and tears. I can tell you, it is all worth it. Put in the work to create your dream life. You won’t regret it.
One final set of lessons: laugh, go outside of your comfort zone, create memories, and make friends! Here is how my sister and I did it:
- Travel, and get outside of your comfort zone.
- Be sure to sign up for our email list below, as big and exciting changes are on the way. You’re going to love them!