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5 Things Travel Has Taught Me

Traveling is a great lifestyle, every day is an adventure but sometimes it can be frustrating, tiring and (at times) boring! That being said, I would never begin to truly moan because the more awesome opportunities that fine there way to me, the more I appreciate what this lifestyle has done for me – so let me self reflect on 5 things travel has really taught me:

life is backpacking

How lucky I am

I’ve been to more than 50 countries around the globe, and I’ve come across the most abject poverty imaginable. I may not be rich in the western sense, but I’ve rarely not been able to afford my next meal. I’ve rarely had to worry about medical care and my education was predominantly affordable.

More than that, I broke my leg a few years ago so I can’t play a 90-minute football match or run a marathon anymore and it used to make me feel so unlucky. I’d feel so sorry for myself until a man in Bangladesh said to me “The man with no shoes feels lucky beside the man with no feet”. The says it all, if you’re privileged enough to be reading this, with your wifi and your laptop, you’re lucky, forget everything else.

How similar we are

Now I’m proud to say I’ve got lifelong friends from all walks of life, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu and Christian. Not to mention friends with every skin colour imaginable, mine being a particularly pasty Irish tone of white. Yet when I sit down and have dinner with everyone, and people share, joke, hug and cry over the same things. I truly realize that we all come from the same place, and we’re not so different after all.

How selfish We Can Be

It pains me to admit this but I’ve seen a direct correlation between the wealth of the country I visit and the level of selfishness in their society. And although this is true across continents, I think it’s even more prominent in Western Europe and North America. Whether it’s through fear generated by the media or advertising there’s no doubt in my mind that if I’m in need, I’m much more likely to be taken under someone’s wing in a poorer country than a wealthy one. And that’s a genuine shame.

How life’s about so much more than money

Watching kids play cricket with a stick and a stone in Sri Lanka with smiles beaming across their faces or watching the joy in a family face’s when their husband returns from work, I think it’s arrogant of us (me) to suggest because we have aircon, shopping malls and iPhones that we are one ounce happier than these people. Controversially, if anything, I’d suggest quite the opposite. We need to recalibrate what’s important in life, and genuine travel will do that for us.

“That happiness is only true when shared”

Alexander Supertramp got this one spot on. Solo travel is a great thing, it builds character and forces us to be open and warm but when push comes to shove I’d prefer to have my best mates/family/girlfriend standing beside me sharing that amazing sunset in the Amazon, or the sight of the milky way in the Serengeti Marathon. It’s amazing on your own, it’s double amazing with a loved one.

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15 thoughts on “5 Things Travel Has Taught Me

  1. What a brilliant read. Thanks for sharing this. I loved the part when you talked about how similar we are. So true, right? 🙂

    I also wrote about what travel has taught me and how it is taking my life story ahead. Do read my article and let me know if you like it 🙂

  2. Johnny you are doing great.i visit your page everyday. someone like me learns so much from your website
    i am writing blog about my is in Turkish. When i saw your blog,i start to write in English. i hope people like my first page my home town fairy land with fairy chimneys and rock formations used as a house,storeroom or hotel.I call it the flintstones, STILL PEOPLE LIVES IN A CAVE. Do you believe it?

  3. Dude! I loved every bit of your blog as of yet. On the same hand I envy you so much for being lucky enough to travel 151 countries 😛
    I wish someday I can convince my mom to allow me for the same 😀

  4. hello johnny! im just new here. your blog is so inspiring. how i wish i could do the same but im still in college so have to finish school and built a lot of courage to myself in order to do that! have you been to the philippines?

  5. I’ve read somewhere that happiness comes in opposite proportion with the amount of money you have. Of course when you think of it, it makes sense, but we are too busy clinging to petty things, not to mention letting the opinions of others rule our lives. That is the biggest mistake anyone can make! And another word of wisdom 😀 : happiness is the journey, not the destination 😀

    1. hey joseph, nice to hear from u again mate =) i dunno where u read that quote, but i find it very difficult to disagree with. We get ‘taught’ whats important in life, but in reality we need to work it out for ourselves

  6. Reading this post has brought back perspective again… I found myself complaining a few days ago… some stress, obviously.. Loving another post from u JW! 🙂 I had to admit I haven’t read anything on ur website lately, (catching up with family and friends made me so busy! lol) that’s why u’ll notice a couple or more comments from me! 🙂 happy travels!!

  7. Thanks for sharing, Johnny! I think you make some great points. A lot of anthropological studies show how many 3rd world country tribes and village people are exponentially happier than those in industrialized countries.

    Where are you off to next?

    Brightest Blessings for the new year!

    1. hey hilary, thanks for the comments – and agree totally =) off to korea tonight, just missed my flight! connecting again tomorrow lol

  8. I love number 2 man! We are all from the same root. Nice that people like ourselves branch off and touch others.

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