Lessons are found everywhere. They’re found in your home, found in schools, found at jobs, and even found at the grocery store.
While you may learn some of these these lessons “at home,” we’ve found that some lessons are well enforced while traveling.
1. Love others for who they are, not who you wish they would be.
It’s important not to compare yourself with others in a way that lays judgment on whose way of doing things is better. Accepting it—and them—is the most essential step in showing love and respect towards others. If you show people that you respect and appreciate their methods or traditions, they will respect you back.
2. Patience is a virtue!
As you may know, patience is not my strong point. Sometimes I laugh as I consider what might occur if Jared and I were on “The Amazing Race” together. We love each other dearly, but we don’t always see eye to eye—particularly when it comes to driving, directions, or travel plans. Add to that a child who refuses to walk, a child who loves to run away, and another child who could at times use an attitude adjustment…and I can attest to the fact that traveling is indeed an ongoing lesson of patience. If you think going to the grocery store with kids is stressful…then try taking them to tour castles and walk long distances, and you’ll get my point fast!
3. Adaptability is key!
The willingness to adjust and changes plans is key to being happy on the road. If you insist that everything must go as planned or expected, then you might as well quit before you begin. You must learn to roll with the punches, adjust your expectations, and give up some “extras” in exchange for necessities (i.e. It doesn’t matter what size the towels are…at least we HAVE towels!)
4. Make more time for your kids!
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say this again—traveling has provided us more time for our kids. With flexible works hours and the lack of a household to maintain, we have a lot more time to spend with our kids. Generally, when we are on the road we find ourselves saving the night hours for working, and the day hours are spent together as a family. I’ve never been the type that wants to sit down and play dolls with my girls for hours, but we can bond as we skip through the park and pull out a picnic lunch. When we grow older and our kids leave our nest, I hope they will cherish the memories we’ve made as much as we do.
5. Please, don’t be ugly!
Having served baby-boomer tourists for 8 summers, I have seen the good, bad, and the ugly. I have even yelled at tourists. Yes, I have yelled at people, ordering them to leave my store. Do I feel bad about it? Yes, and no. Yes, I wish I could have been kinder…but for GOODNESS SAKES…couldn’t they have been reasonable or even the slightest bit kind? More than anything, those lessons have taught me about what kind of person I don’t want to be. How could complete strangers treat someone with such disrespect, discourtesy, and hatefulness? I don’t want to be that person, and I hope that I can treat everyone with the same respect that I would like to have returned to me. This is especially important when traveling, as you represent not only yourselves, but the country in which you are from.
6. Learning is a life-long pursuit!
Education isn’t something just for your school years. True education is a lifelong openness to learning new things and being willing to adjust your perspective. You open yourself up to indefinite growth when you are willing to change your opinion about stereotypes, as well as adjust your daily habits based on new knowledge. Learning should be incorporated into daily life, and not just in a cram-and-take-a-test fashion. Perhaps a particular culture does something in a particular way…but why? Seeking the answer through experience will have so much more meaning and impact!
We’re not the only ones that think you can learn some great “Life Lessons” from the road. Check out what these other families say they’ve learnt from being on the road:
Bohemian Travelers: Can You Embrace the Unknown
The Nomadic Family: I Know Nothing (and 99 Other Things The Road Has Taught Me)
PearceOnEarth: 5 Life Lessons Learned from Traveling
TravelwithBender: So it’s been 6 Months – You won’t believe what we have learnt!
A King’s Life: Two things I know for sure
Family on Bikes: Complaining won’t change a gosh-darn thing
Family Travel Bucket List: 3 Things We’ve Learned While Living Outside of the USA
Flashpacker Family: Lessons From the Road of Life
Life Changing Year: Life Lessons From The Road – A Little Bit Of Planning Goes A Loooong Way!
Grow in Grace Life: By Any Road..Lessons from the Journey
Our Travel Lifestyle: Travel: Teaching us about ourselves
The Lovely Travel of a Nomadic Dad: The 10 Thing I Learned on the Road that I did not Want To
RambleCrunch: 15 lessons I’ve learned Traveling the World