128 Things Travel Taught Me About Life

This is a list of anecdotes, split about 50/50 between Jacob and Micah, compiled from their travels over the last two months through Ireland, Scotland, England, France, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

 

TRAVEL

Minimize baggage. It makes things hard on you and everyone your traveling with.

Some of a city's best secrets are uncovered when the map is put away and the wonderer gets himself lost.

Plan ahead but leave room for surprises. Serendipity is a delightful companion.

When you're hitching a ride, don't let a car pass without sticking out your thumb. It just might be the guy who will give you a ride.

Don't underestimate the security of familiarity. Even things like a familiar word can cull the gut-wrenching feeling of being lost.

The less traveled road reveals beautiful surprises.

Traveling quickly is fun but, like any drug or drink, you will crash hard and quickly.

RELATIONSHIPS

Ask people for help. More often than not, they're willing to help.

Treat dishonest people, honestly. Treat poor people with respect. Treat powerful people humbly and lowly people even more so. Treat rude people politely. Treat selfish people generously. Treat frightened people lovingly. Treat ugly people beautifully.

Loving is about showing the parts of yourself which are really ugly. It is about being big enough to be vulnerable. And vulnerability is power and bravery.

Don't care what people think. The ones who don't understand won't be in your life for very long anyway.

Always assume people are paranoid, OCD or skeptical and do everything you can to make life easy on them.

Friends are everything. Invest in them.

Kindness is most beautiful when it hurts a little bit to give and care.

When people are rude to you, it's more fun to watch their expression when you're unbelievably nice to them rather than being rude back.

There are always people way cooler than you so get off your homemade pedestal every once in a while and listen.

Look for your faults more than those of others.

You are alone until you learn to love and give.

It's not about being understood. It's about understanding. It's not about being loved. It's about loving.

Selfishness leads to isolation.

Don't expect people to give you things.

You always have something to give.

Give people a chance - they may exceed your expectations.

Loving is changing what you want to do into what you should do.

Giving the benefit of the doubt doesn't mean blindness. It only means innocent until proven guilty.

Sharing means expecting nothing back.

Depend on yourself to do what you know you can but learn to trust others to do what you know you can't.

DEALING WITH TROUBLES

The worst case scenario is almost never as bad as you think it will be.

Prayer is your most valuable asset because the God of the universe is listening.

There's no sense in worrying over the things you can't control. Instead use your time and mental energy figuring out how to roll with the punches and minimize injury.

Sit down and cry if you must, but the answer probably passed you up while your eyes were looking down.

Sometimes rain clouds and fog only makes the scene more beautiful.

Whatever you're going through, someone else has probably gone through it before and shared their 2 cents. Listen, read and watch.

Pick your battles - little small rock in one's shoe can cause even a large man to fall.

When faced with adversity. Learn to lean on and trust yourself. Put yourself in situations that test you and then make decisions and accept consequences but don't live in fear.

I would rather fly and fall than crawl.

Worrying and stress kill. Stop. Breathe. Calm yourself. Decide what to do next. What is lost, you can learn to live without. 

Your plans are guaranteed to not work out. At least in part. So learn to have confidence in yourself when things go wrong.

Terrible situations make great situations greater and other bad ones less of a problem.

MONEY

"When in Rome" only goes so far as your budget allows you to.

Money is finite.

Expense doesn't mean quality.

Well made things are worth the investment.

Don't buy something unless you pass it up and regret it afterward. You can probably live without it. I don't believe in "the one" when it comes to a woman, but I do when it comes to scarves and shoes and backpacks and watches.

GROWTH

Don't think yourself above sleeping in a train station. The low points are what shape you into a better person.

If something scares you, you should probably do it. Be brave and bold. Adventure isn't all comfortable.

Being well-rounded may not make you an expert at anything but it certainly doesn't make you a boring man.

Learn to admit when you're wrong.

Perseverance often pays off. Don't give up. Hustle.

Boredom is the fruit of not having enough to ponder.

Only boring people get bored.

Enjoyment is up to you, not something else.

Wisdom is knowing how much you don't know.

Don't do things reactionarily. If society says to go one way and you go the other just because of that, society is still deciding where you are headed. Make decisions authentically.

Become a deep thinker. What you don't understand isn't necessarily wrong - you have a lot to learn. What feels dry at first may be bubbling over with deep knowledge and life.

You are never above anything. Everyone poops.

The things you hate in others says more about you than it does about them.

Learn what laziness looks like and stop rationalizing those habits which are, deep down, plain lazy.

Body and mind and soul have to be exercised, tried, refined.

Don't let selfish people make you defensive and thus self-centered. Don't let proud people make you justify yourself and thus become arrogant. Don't let dishonest people make you suspicious and thus sneaky. And don't let rude people make you unkind.

Doing what you should is most valuable when you really really really don't want to.

Don't say something unless you know what you're saying. Think before you speak. Think before you do.

Thinking is like exercising. It works out your mind. Learn to think intentionally.

Don't try to go and find yourself. Try to create yourself.

Read. Read. Read. Read. Read.

Be responsible for who you become. Life is an active adventure and you don't want to be an accidental hero.

Fears and insecurities are your best experiences waiting to be conquered.

Stop judging - Start seeking to understand. Stop talking - start listening. Stop imposing - start learning. Stop being frustrated - start appreciating. Stop consuming - start giving. Stop watching - start doing. Stop worrying - start living.

The man who stops learning is the man who will never stand in awe, never be fulfilled in speechless wonder and never experience the joy of the aching desire to understand mystery.

The person who is grateful for the little things they have will often be blessed with greater things.

Experiences shape a person as wind and water shape stone. The more powerful the experience, the more refined the person becomes.

The first jump is always the scariest.

Maturity doesn't come with time as people say; maturity comes through experience. Time just happens to allow for more experiences.

Endurance pays off in the end. Keep trudging through the mud - there is a cozy cottage just up the road.

STORY

Risks create some of the best stories.

Creating a great story does not justify stupidity.

Saying "yes" opens up worlds of possibilities.

Stories are more exciting when other people are in them. Invite people along to live in your story with you.

FOOD

Italian Pizza is overrated.

Well-seasoned food is underrated.

Louisiana cuisine is king.

When budgeting food, don't compromise on healthiness. Unhealthy, cheap food can work against your body and enjoyment of the trip. 

PERSPECTIVE

Sometimes the most talented artists are the ones on the street outside of the museum.

"The worst they can say is 'no'"

Don't worry about other people. You can only change yourself.

"Cheap Fruit Juice" can easily become "High Quality Koolaid" with a small tweak of your mindset.

Don't let your surroundings only mold you. Mold the way you see them and they'll change.

If you think you've had it rough, I guarantee someone has had it rougher.

Purchasing a cheap pair of goggles can open up an entirely new world.

Good things always look bad when you just came from great things. Learn to appreciate the good despite the great.

When everyone is crowded around something, look up, look behind and look around - you may be surprised by what you find.

Perspective depends on where you're standing.

The only human being that can make you not lonely is you.

Guard the few belongings like a phone, wallet and passport jealously. Consider everything else disposable.

Experience is at least partly under the control of your perception. Take control of your mind.

If it isn't what you thought it would be: change how you think.

PLANNING

Be early. Tack on 30 min to an hour of any travel time estimate.

Over planning can suck the life out of everything and under planning can kill it. Plan, but leave room for serendipity.

Planning isn't a safeguard. Information isn't guaranteed until you are standing and talking to the people on the ground. Plan to prepare but don't hinge everything on your plans.

Organization prevents stress and losing valuable things.

FINDING BEAUTY IN THE MOMENT

If you can't get joy out of the wave or the little pile of sand. You can't enjoy the beach.

Expectation kills. Expect nothing and everything will surprise you.

Life, like traveling isn't all about the mountaintop views or perfect moments. That is the tip of the iceberg. It is all the in-between moments: the train rides, the walking, the sleeping, the inquiring where to go next. So stop expecting that happiness is a nonstop tour of perfect moments and make the moments, the substance of life worth something.

Conversations in train stations, waiting for a delayed train are sometimes as precious as mountaintop views. Don't disregard any experience. There is life in every drop of time. Sometimes you just have to look a little harder.

Life is not about getting anywhere quickly. People who race to the top suddenly realize they are alone and have missed all the views.

If your are worried how you look in a picture, it probably isn't worth taking. Translation: life is not about how you look but who you are and what you are doing.

Look for experiences that make you alive.

Remembering is almost as important as experiencing. Take time and be creative in remembering your story.

People take pictures to remember a moment but sometimes all they will remember is taking the picture. Put down the camera every once in a while.

If you let something like rain, or stolen items, or feeling tired ruin a place or moment for you, you aren't trying hard enough to appreciate it.

Allow yourself to truly feel the cold, the warmth, the wind, the loneliness, the fear, the ethereal, the love, the security, the comfort, the confusion. Don't shield yourself against it but burn it into your memory.

Every culture has tiny nuisances. Every one has tiny pleasures. Stop drawing absolutes and learn.

MISCELLANEOUS

Move quickly when you want to move but be completely still when it is time.

Rest is as important as movement.

When you're charging to use the toilet, you shouldn't be surprised when there's pee in the pool.

Context speaks volumes.

Magnanimity is maturity.

People will rally against evil just as much as they will rally around good.

Learn to rely on and trust yourself: it's noone's job to get you out of uncomfortable situations.

Laugh at yourself. Laugh at life.

Good ideas are the well-thought out ones that stay in your head. Great ideas realize themselves in action.

You will never be joyful until you take joy in yourself. You will never be beautiful until you find yourself lovely.

Patience doesn't mean passivity. It means brave endurance.

Family is more important than any exciting life you can live.

Real life is way better than television.

Naps.... Just naps.

Inspiration inspires confidence and acts as a steroid boost in your ability to take action where you otherwise would not.

Writing forces you to look for the deeper implications of events and happenings in life.