“Travel is an incredible lesson in the value of life; it will humble and ground you. Discovering polarized cultures opens your eyes to how large the world truly is and how many people co-exist in it”. For some of us, this is definitely one of the most valuable life lessons that travel has taught us.
A road trip is just not about arriving at the destination. Neither just about having a good time on four wheels. It is an opportunity to break free from your mundane routine. It is a chance to explore the unexplored. Those carefree days speeding on highways or dirt roads clear your head. Driving has a therapeutic effect and gives you that chance to introspect.
Sometimes a road trip may not even end as you had planned. But if you can reflect back on those memories with a smile on your face and a silent tear in your eye, then it was all worth it.
If nothing else, a road trip most definitely teaches you some life lessons that no form of formal education will ever teach you. At the least here are 7 lessons you learn on road trips.
Life lesson #1: You start to appreciate the smaller things in life
Ever considered driving across countries in a single day? Dreamt of having each meal of the day in a new city with an entirely new set of people? Felt the solace of rising to the sun’s first rays kissing your face with a gurgling stream flowing by your side?
This is how fast, spontaneous and fulfilling a road trip can be. Every day spent on the road comes with its own set of challenges and rewards. You get so engrossed in all the amazing sceneries flying past you that the things in life which till now were super important appear trivial and meaningless. Suddenly the need for new clothes, gadgets and hankering after work seem suddenly futile.
You learn to appreciate the smaller things in life not to worry about the superficial things that hold no or little meaning in your life. Probably one of the most important life lessons to be learned.
Life lesson #2: Unity in diversity
There are hundreds of languages in the world and only travel definitely has the power to connect them all. Travel opens you to an entire world of possibilities. A world with varied cultures, traditions, languages, and religions!
Your inhibitions, fear of the unknown and being choosy in deciding who you spend your time with are all thrown off to the wind as you start to travel more and more. You start appreciating the small things in life and start accepting people as they are; complete in their diversity.
You become comfortable approaching travelers in a restaurant and make small talk. Your whole outlook widens. You begin to open up to different cultures and overlook the small things that used to annoy you.
Life lesson #3: You can survive without technology
Leaving the ‘real world’ as we call it can sometimes be a little overwhelming. As we prepare to get lost in the mountains or other remote areas, mobile signals start to dwindle. We can sometimes be in a spot where internet connectivity is missing altogether. The result: internet detox.
It is these times we understand that life is much more than Instagram stories and check-ins. True and happy life means to be happy and content from within. Travel has that soothing power on all of us. We learn to be de-attach ourselves from the social media frenzy and connect with ‘real’ nature.
Life lesson #4: It is never about the destination
At the start of any journey, you all have this innate feeling that the ultimate goal of your road trip is to arrive at your final destination. Well, the truth is you are never going to be truly ready for it when you finally reach the destination.
Sore butts, cramped spaces of the car and always being on the go maybe a little overwhelming at times. But these are the memories you will cherish forever.
There is a definite sense of loss as the trip draws near its final destination. Of course, you look forward to and enjoy whatever it is that waits for you at the end of the road. But the ultimate happiness comes from the crazy experiences that you had en-route.
Life lesson #5: Go with the flow
Your everyday life is run by calendars and watches. All you actually do for the major part of the day is plan, budget, meetings, and other mundane routine activities. While on the road all of that caution and planning goes out the window. You can’t control the weather, traffic, road conditions, and reaction of people you meet or the wonders of nature you set your eyes on during the entire journey. The key to enjoying every bit of it is to relax, pull back and go with the flow. A laid-back attitude is the greatest travel hack that ensures an extremely enjoyable journey.
Life lesson #6: Take time to slow down
Sometimes life is all about slowing down. Slowing down awakens all your five senses and allows you to take in your surroundings. A road trip allows you to do just that. You have all the time in the world to soak in every detail in nature as you pass them by. Allow yourself this indulgence! Avoid feeling rushed all the time and take in the time to ‘smell more of life’s roses’.
Life lesson #7: Life is what you make it
Travel is truly liberating. Travel makes us strong, adaptive and confident. We learn the meaning of true happiness in life. We realize that life is much more than just work. Yes, work is important. But it is just a part of life and not life itself. True happiness of life lies in family, friends, and the time we spend doing little things with them. We realize that life is much more about meeting those weekly and monthly targets. True happiness is achieving a personal goal we set for ourselves and that thing actually makes you the ‘real you’.
“Road trips require a couple of things: a well-balanced diet of caffeine, salt & sugar and an excellent selection of tunes, and oh, directions”. On this note, let’s go road-tripping and learn some lessons that only road trips can teach us.
You can also listen to the #MarkAndEmbark podcast on Life lessons below. Don’t forget to like, subscribe and share with others.