Life lessons from long-term travel

Long-term travel is undisputedly one of the most life-changing things you can do – and once that travel bug has bitten, there’s no antidote. Nothing beats the thrill of packing your bags and stepping out of your front door knowing you won’t be back for several weeks, months or even years!

When you return you’ll have a bag full of souvenirs (and usually sand), a mind full of amazing memories and most importantly – aside from a great tan, of course – an arsenal of valuable life skills. Here are some of the key lessons you’ll learn on the road.

 

Expect the unexpected

You plan and plan, and then everything gets turned on its head. Perhaps your flight gets cancelled so you miss that event you were so excited about. Maybe you get food poisoning and spend a week in bed instead of exploring a city you’ve been dreaming about since you were a kid; your luggage gets lost; your wallet gets stolen. You can’t control every situation on the road, so take a beat, deal with any incidents calmly and try to go with the flow. Remember, unexpected circumstances can lead to unexpected adventures.

Where you can, build in a few safety nets. Stock up on medication and first-aid supplies (looking for a chemist at an ungodly hour is never fun), pack a spare set of clothes in your hand luggage, keep some emergency money or a spare credit card stashed in a secret place and always have travel insurance.

Lessons from the road: I arrived in Ecuador with a day to spare before hopping on a cruise – unfortunately my luggage wasn’t so punctual and didn’t arrive until three days later. Thankfully my travel insurance allowed me to pick up some essentials in the meantime, but I’d have been a lot less stressed had I packed an extra set of clothes in my cabin bag.