Travelling is one of the greatest learning curves you will ever have. You learn so much from heading outside your comfort zone, and doing it solo is one of the biggest character tests you can face in life. There is so much out there to experience, see and feel, and it really can change you as a person by bringing out that version of you that has always been waiting in the wings for your time to shine. There are so many reasons not to travel - money, commitments, relationships... The list goes on. But what about all those reasons to pack your bags and leave? What will you gain from it that you just won't get from staying at home and working that 9-5? I know travel isn't for everyone, and it holds no appeal for some people, but I do think that the values and personal lessons you gain from that time spent independently chasing your dreams are crucial to becoming the best version of yourself - however you choose to do this. So what do you learn? Well here are 10 things travellers have told me they have gained from heading off into the great unknown:
- Confidence - the ultimate confidence boost comes from realising how capable and strong you actually are, from wearing a bikini every day and being happy with what you see in the mirror, from knowing you can handle anything that is thrown at you.
- Wisdom - travelling makes you wise beyond your years very quickly because when backpacking, it is vital to learn fast and to be sure in your decisions. It means facing some of your worst nightmares and learning how to cope with them and avoid them in future, what takes months in backpacking would take years of living at home.
- Awesomeness - meeting reams of new people and seeing yourself through their eyes makes you realise how awesome you are and how much other people want to know you - it's hard to learn that surrounded by a safety net of people you've known all your life.
- Humility and gratitude - seeing how big the world is and how the rest of the world lives really helps to pierce the bubble, it makes you really grateful for what you have and it helps you learn your place in the world.
- Losing the fear - so many are afraid of things they have never ever seen, things that have never even happened. Travelling helps you lose your fear of what might happen and makes you deal only with what actually happens.
- That kindness fills the hearts of most. Getting lost or stuck in the middle of nowhere and having to rely on the local people of the country you are in can be a scary prospect, but it can also help you see that the first instinct of most is to go to the ends of the earth to help you.
- That travelling isn't as big, or scary, or brave as everyone makes out, it's actually the easiest and most natural thing I'm the world, and once you start, it soon becomes hard to imagine retuning to life before it.
- The value of everything - experiencing different cultures and currencies forces you to learn the value of everything and how that translates. Everything from toothpaste to flights has a price, but only you can say whether the price is right. It also means you get really good at managing money and knowing what us worth splurging on. Memories over possessions.
- The true value of friendships and relationships at home - this is a sure fire way to find out whether your friends are true and will stick with you until the end, put 6,000 miles between you and see how much effort you all make. Many fall by the wayside, but others will stand the test of time.
- The person you want to be - without society pressures, friends or family influencing your choices - you can finally really know how you want to live your life and the person you want to become. When at home it is easy to get caught up in being the person you are expected to be.
What have you learnt from travelling? What else have you gained from your travelling experiences? Tell us about the greatest learning curve you've faced on your travels...