Life Lessons from Traveling


Hi everyone,

Today I want to talk about traveling because I will be traveling a lot this summer, starting today, and I feel inspired.

In fact, traveling is a necessary part of my life for two main reasons.

First, I do not live in my home country. I am in the US, but my family is in Turkey. That in and of itself makes me travel a good amount because I visit my family. So I get to travel across continents every year.

This is coupled with the fact that we are forced to travel for conferences, workshops etc. in academia.

So, I travel a lot.

I think the biggest disadvantage of traveling is that it makes me tired. But benefits overweight the tiredness. They are not even comparable.

What are the benefits?

For me, the best thing about traveling is how illuminating it is. How it broadens horizons. First, you get to know the differences between countries and people. That contributes a lot to our body of knowledge. But more importantly for me, the more countries or cities I travel to, the more convinced I become that we humans are the same wherever we are. This was my main thought when I first moved to the US. Now, obviously, the Turkish and American cultures are different. But the people embodying these cultures are fundamentally so similar that I am still very astonished and moved by this observation.

Traveling tells me about humanity. About the unity in humanity.

This is such a big life lesson. But not the only one.

Another benefit is that we get to learn how to handle things.

If you travel at all, then you know that many things go wrong when we are traveling. Smooth travels are not that common. Something is almost bound to go wrong.

But we handle them. We brain-storm for solutions, including what can be done and what we have available at that given moment. We learn how to make the most of the restricted solution options we have.

This is also such a big life lesson. But again, there is more.

Not only do we learn how to solve things, we also become very adapted to how life is. You know, life is not smooth. Things go wrong (wrong in the meaning of โ€˜not as we expectedโ€™). When we travel, we get used to facing problems so much that we become adaptive to things not going smooth. This extends to other parts of our lives as well. We start becoming less reactive and more adaptive to changes.

This is yet another big life lesson.

Do you travel? What did you learn from traveling? Any big life lessons? If you do not travel much, do you want to travel more and if so, what is your motivation? Letโ€™s talk!


88 thoughts on “Life Lessons from Traveling

  1. I totally agree! Traveling opens our mind! Every travel is a unique experience! I love to travel but not for work, better for leisure ๐Ÿ˜‰๐ŸŒท
    Enjoy your travels ๐Ÿ˜‰๐ŸŒท

    1. Well, I travel for work mostly only because we get paid for the travel๐Ÿ˜Š pragmatic reasons๐Ÿ˜‚ but in any case, traveling is great!

  2. I don’t travel that often,but it’s so fascinating that people in every country have something in common. I think that travelling shows us that even though every culture is different, we can still understand and respect each other, and it’s amazing๐Ÿ˜ƒ

  3. I don’t travel much, I’d love to some time though. If traveling were free, I probably wouldn’t even think about going home and instead use traveling as a means to find somewhere else to settle

    Speaking of traveling, I once wrote about traveling as well, especially since more and more people start to see the beauty of traveling these days. And here’s a question: you know it’s not uncommon to see people who occasionally look down on others who do not travel much right? What do you think about them?

    1. Good question! I think looking down is no good in any situation in and of itself, so I do not approve of that. But also, we need to understand why these people do not travel. Some people may not have enough financial means and get paid for it, some people may have health issues, some genuinely may not have time. There could be tons of reasons why people may not be traveling and when these reasons exists, there is no way we can look down on them. And I am sure, if someone is not traveling, they have their own good reasons.

  4. We try to travel often. We love it! I think traveling teaches you so very much. Culture, life in other places, beauty, gratitude, new experiences! So many opportunities!

  5. I have travelled a lot and lived overseas. I not only appreciate what we have in common but our diversity in food, customs, hospitality. I’ve learnt to be flexible, to watch what others do before I do it wrong. I am a mix of so many cultures, and enjoyed your article

    1. Thank you! Yes, I think I became much more relaxed and open-minded when I started traveling and living abroad. It is indeed really a good tool for that!

  6. Good luck with all your happy travelling ventures. So true it is that travel is like a part of ourselves. I too am a travel addict, a big time one, don’t get to travel too much though. Anyway, keep travelling and keep being happy. K.

  7. I LOVE this article.

    Yes, I too, love traveling. But I don’t travel. And the problem, is money.

    I love travel for one reason you did mention – it widens your horizon. Gives you a broader mindset. Gives you experiences. Memories.

  8. Great topic. That is what my memoir is about, Supergringa in Spain. Traveling helped me learn independence, self-confidence, and to know myself better. -Rebecca

      1. Thanks! I found that making sightseeing and transport decisions according to my preferences solidified knowing myself better.

  9. I travel a lot. For me, it is all about the cultural experiences – the similarities and differences. Recently I visited Morrocco and was amazed to find so many cultural similarities (products/customs) etc.

      1. Yes, it certainly is. To answer your question – IMO, the easiest way to observe a culture is through their food. Observe the herbs/spices they use and how they cook their veggies/meats. HTH

  10. I have this theory in mind.

    If traveling was a part of the educational curriculum, instead of reading about others in books; if we took the time to learn/interact with others by visiting their homes, sampling their food, join hands in their dance-circles, we could strongly dilute our stereotypical, judgmental, and racial perceptions of others.

    I donโ€™t know, maybe Iโ€™m crazy for thinking that way.

    1. I think that is best solution we could have! If only we could do it! Doing something is always much more effective than just learning something. I wish the education systems we have were more geared towards that!

  11. I donโ€™t travel a lot but I wish I can be an eternal tourist ๐Ÿ˜Š when you travel, you feel how much youโ€™ve been missing, all the beauty in this world, the different cultures, the diversity…Meeting new people and learn to count on ourselves and be stronger as well
    Oh well travel is my ultimate passion and therapy but unfortunately the money and the passport are very important! When you need a visa to most of countries and lot of papers and requirements and stuff, and you can travel to few countries only without a visa, when you have a full time job and youโ€™re allowed of few days per year, all this affect traveling and you search for other alternatives
    In my previous work in Human Rights I travelled 3 times to represent my country and I wish to have similar work now that allows me to travel! Even if it was work, but they were some great experiences!
    Thank you dear Betul for sharing ๐Ÿ˜Š

    1. I definitely share your concerns, because I need to apply for visa for many countries too! For example, I was going to go to Germany last summer, but it did not work out because of visa stuff and I am going this year. It is always a hustle and too much time and effort, and money of course. It is best when you travel via work, which is how you did it and how I do it. If it was not for my school, I would not travel half of this.
      I wish we could all be eternal tourists:)

      1. Oh well we must do our best and manage ๐Ÿ˜Š but God I wish I have some good passport!
        I agree that traveling from work saves lot of money and sometimes time when they handle the visa procedure and so ๐Ÿ‘

  12. I don’t travel much but would love to go visit many places around the world like Canada, Europe, and Japan. When I saw airplanes in the sky, I had this romanticized idea about traveling, but then I was on a plane waiting for it to take off for maybe twenty minutes or more, and I sort of lost my fascination with travel ๐Ÿ˜‚. Like you mentioned. I learned that things don’t go as expected. I’d expected that flight to take only so long and it turned out to be longer. Given the opportunities to travel, I think I’d still yes to it ๐Ÿ˜Š

  13. Fantastic Post !! i started traveling 4 years ago and
    i cant stop exploring and discovering new colctures and make new friends!!
    here is my travelblog where i share my adventures !!

  14. Happy and safe travels Betul. Oh I love traveling and I love people and new cultures.
    In fact when I was planning my trip around the world a few months back I thought I would take a break in Turkey. But when I checked the weather forecast it was heavy rain and decided to skip it.
    I have already been to 4 continents this year – you could check my posts ๐Ÿ˜Š
    When I was younger and working I used to travel a lot on business too, like you ๐Ÿ˜Š

    1. That sounds such a nice way of living! 4 continents in one year! I will check your posts too! Also, yeah, winter times are a bit risky in Turkey. Hope you can come sometime soon!

  15. I heard a wise person say, “Fill you life with experiences, not stuff.” I love that. Travel and experience the world. There are maps you can buy to mark off where you have been. The more you mark off, the more colorful your world gets, both figuratively and literally. There is a site where you can do something similar. This is the link: I hope to see more of the world in the near future. I have never been to South America or Africa.

  16. I love to travel! Anywhere! Three years ago I traveled outside the US for the first time! I spent a week in Ireland. It was amazing. I’d love to explore more of Europe, and ultimately India.

    1. Europe is actually an ideal place because it is very small but very diverse. Each country has its own identity and everywhere is so close. I guess it is the same for India. Great choices!

  17. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿฝ I love this. Traveling has changed my mind & heart in so many ways.

  18. I love this! Brenรฉ Brown is a researcher on vulnerability who talks about how when you allow your self to be vulnerable you will inevitably fail but getting back up and moving forward will allow you to grow and learn. I love that when you leave home, you take your self out of a comfortable place and put your self into an unknown place where you are vulnerable. Being able to adapt to this new place is an important skill that only develops with experience so the more you travel the better you get. This is one of the reasons I love to travel. I like getting the chance to learn about new cultures and meet new people.

    1. That is a great perspective! Yes, traveling is definitely challenging for our safe space but then we make the whole world our safe space (well, that is the ideal, but it at least expands our safe space)

  19. Actually, I don’t travel a lot. If I traveled, I’ve just traveled domesticaly not internationally. But, if I have a chance to travel around the world, I would love to take it. I think it’s so challenging to meet different people with different cultures, nationality, ethnicity, races, religions etc in different countries. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Another benefit is that we get to learn how to handle things.

    If you travel at all, then you know that many things go wrong when we are traveling. Smooth travels are not that common. Something is almost bound to go wrong.

    But we handle them. We brain-storm for solutions, including what can be done and what we have available at that given moment. We learn how to make the most of the restricted solution options we have.

    excellent relationship advice that I’ve heard be given to engaged couples is to go on a week-long trip into another state (where neither of you have family or friends). after that week, you will have learned so much about your partner, yourself, and your relationship together.

  21. I’ve traveled for years in the states, Asia, Middle East. I admire your positive perspective because it just became burdensome to me after a while and then I was unable to appreciate the opportunity for what it offered. Fortunately, I remember it all and can look back on it now with greater appreciation. I still have not been able to master the concept of life as a journey and not a destination. It is a hole in my life.

    1. I donโ€™t think I have been able to master that either. That achievement is kn itself a journey, I guess.
      I think when you travel too much, a need to go back home, to the familiar, appears. I experience that a lot too, including the post-appreciation.

  22. I also love to travel for many of the reasons you wrote about. I believe, as you do, that humans are basically the same. Traveling illustrates this fact. I travel with students often and enjoy watching them come to the same conclusion. In fact, I leave in a few days for Europe with a group of students. Enjoy your travels and thanks for reading my blog.

  23. I love traveling. It has taught me so much, but most importantly, to be open minded. This allows for me to get to know people and build relationships on a deeper level!

  24. Traveling can really change a person and broaden their mind, but it depends on what experiences they have and what they allow. The one who travels, but only stays with people from their country is usually going to get less experience and growth than the one who becomes immersed in the new culture. I can say from my own experience that traveling has taught me a lot. Specifically to look at people as individuals and to get to know them.

    1. I agree that traveling works for our good if it has some good quality to it. We really need to be open to experiences. I think my biggest learning is the same. I learnt how not to make big generalizations.

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