Marissa Sutera Arthurs Seat

I learned These 5 Life Lessons From Traveling to 8 Different Countries

We all know Studying abroad is life enriching experience. I have learned so many life lessons from traveling to 8 different countries.

1. Write It Down

Traveling outside of your own country or even to a new city can be overwhelming at times.

New places can be challenging to navigate, cultures may be complex to understand, and your senses may be stimulated by all the “new” that you are taking in. So many feelings at one time can be tough to understand, so one of the methods I find that helps me is writing.

Keeping a blog and/or travel journal is a terrific way to work through what you are feeling and jot down some memories of your travel experiences.

I love going back to look at my writing from my travels years ago, and it helps me to remember people and different events that happened that I may have forgotten about if I did not write them down.

2. Keep Calm

When traveling, there is always a lot that could go wrong.

The bus may be late (or not show up at all), the museum you planned to visit may close unexpectedly, or you may run out of water when you need to shower.

There are plenty of possibilities of unplanned events occurring, but the key is to know that these will happen from time to time and even embrace them when they do.

You may find that you discover an entirely new area of the city because the museum was closed, you may find a new mode of transportation, or you could even meet someone new while waiting for the water to turn back on.

You never know when a seemly negative turn of events can actually turn into something positive.

3. Budgeting is Crucial

Anytime you travel, it is important to make sure you are budgeting so you will have enough money to last you through the duration of your travels.

You will already know what you will be spending upfront in terms of program costs, airfare, travel insurance, and housing. That should make it easier when preparing a budget for spending money for yourself.

I’m a strong believer in splurging on a memorable experience, but that also means you need to be careful of where you are spending elsewhere.

  • Do you NEED to have that drink with dinner?
  • Do you REALLY have to stay in the luxurious hotel when there is a cheap hostel down the road?
  • Are you SURE you should buy that new pair of shoes?

Think about what matters to you when traveling and what you really want to do and see. Everything else that isn’t so important is not worth large sums of cash.

My advice: Bring more money than you think you will need. It’s always better to have too much than not enough!

4. Appreciate What You Have

Throughout my travels, I have continued to realize the importance of being thankful for everything I have back home.

When traveling to Zambia, I was in the midst of community faced with poverty.

While seeing the hardships that the people endure every day showed me how to appreciate what I have, seeing the happiness of the people despite the difficulties they faced is what truly showed me what is important.

They taught me that no matter the circumstances, there is always something to be greatful for.

school girls in zambia

Some of the girls from the school where I taught in Zambia

5. Deep Down, We Are All The Same

After being introduced to so many different cultures around the world, the major lesson I learned is that people from all over are more similar than different.

We are all a part of the human race and, therefore, must look beyond physical differences and cultural misunderstandings.

Underneath all of that we find that we all feel the same happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and plenty of other emotions. Little by little, my hope is that we can all learn to see the similarities in the differences and embrace the fact that we are each unique in our own ways.

 Best Travel Moment

Looking back on my various travel journeys, one of my all time favorites was studying abroad in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Upon arriving in Scotland, I was amazed by the beauty of the city.

The old architecture of the buildings, the bustle of the people, and situated right in the middle was Edinburgh Castle.

Edinburgh Castle scotland

 

A few days after arriving in Scotland, a group of friends and I decided to visit Arthur’s Seat and hike up to the top.

Arthur’s Seat is a dormant volcano that offers breathtaking views of the city of Edinburgh. It was a trek to get up to the top, especially with the increase in winds the higher we went. Once we reached the top, the view truly did take my breath away. The spectacular scene that appeared before me as we hit the peak mesmerized me.

The green hills rolled into the houses and buildings of the city, turning into small speckles as my eyes traveled toward the horizon. I was in awe over how far I could see and how beautiful the city looked from so high up.

Arthurs Seat Edinburg
Standing on the top of Arthur’s Seat I realized the wide array of the amazing wonders that are hidden all over the world, and all the opportunities that can be found by expanding beyond the borders of your own country.

It is amazing what you can feel by simply soaking in a moment and embracing it for all that it is worth.

3 Comments

  1. bhavesh on August 12, 2014 at 5:42 PM

    It looks like u have to visit a lot of countries just to learn 5 things. you can learn them all in Indian within a day.

  2. Arnab Banik on August 11, 2014 at 10:16 AM

    Loved your article Marissa( ?) I agree, the points you have mentioned are so bang on and love your closing lines. Just by soaking in a moment and embrace it without the worry of putting your pic on FB or busy texting, that’s so energizing. Just by reading at your description of the hike and seeing the pictures of Edinburgh Castle and Arthur’s seat, I had goosebumps, I can not even imagine what you went through !

    • Raghuram Sukumar on August 11, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      She’s been to 8 countries in Africa and Europe.

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