5 Important Life Lessons That You Can Learn During Your Gap Year Abroad
In case you are thinking that the world of wisdom will unfold before you while sitting at home, then you are wrong, my friend! Being on the roads will teach you a bundle of valuable lessons that nothing else could have ever done.
Long-term traveling is undoubtedly one of the crucial life-changing decisions that you'll take – and once you are bitten by the travel bug, there’s surely no antidote. Nothing can beat the thrill of packing your bags and stepping out of your comfort zone, knowing that you won’t be back for several weeks, months or even years!
There must be some reason why so many millennials opt for a gap year abroad and travel to places where they've never been before.
Rest assured, when you'll return back home, you’ll have a sack full of unique souvenirs, a mind full of amazing memories and most some valuable life skills that'll take you a long way ahead. If you are still wondering about the key lessons that you'll learn while you're on the roads, then here are 5 of them that I've learned from my experiences:
LESSON #1 - EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
You must have planned and sorted everything, even you bookings are done. But you never know what situation might just crop up! Your flights can get delayed, you can miss a train, your luggage can be stolen and you might fall sick all of a sudden, in a foreign land.
These will be situations that won't be under your control - the best you can do is to be aware and try to play safe. But not always will things occur as per your ideas. Know that those unexpected circumstances will add more adventure to your journey. While we are on the road, most of the interesting things happen when we deviate from the planned things and embrace whatever comes our way.
This always implies to the journey of life - no matter how much we plan about life, things will happen the way they are meant to happen, and in those situations, we'll have no other choice but to accept.
LESSON #2 - SEEK HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT
Often in life, we prioritize our ego and hesitate to ask for help, even though we need it. When you are traveling abroad, you'll learn to shed that ego and come out of your shell. You'll know that it's good to seek help and there might even be times when you'll have no other option but to hold someone's hand and trust that person.
During gap year traveling, you'll realize that the natives of your host country will guide you better than Lonely Planet and Google articles that you've read. If a menu card at any restaurant seems to baffle you, ask the waiter to serve you his favorite dish - this might turn out to be your best dinner ever!
Traveling will unfold diversity in the most magical manner, and you'll know that seeking help is something you can never do without.
LESSON #3 - LIVE EVERY DAY TO THE FULLEST
The day that has just gone by will never be back, and if you've missed living it to the fullest, you'll have regrets forever. While on your gap year venture, each day will bring new surprises, adventures, and learnings - it's all on you, how much you can absorb and live to the fullest.
You'll meet new people on the road or in a cafe, you'll be engaged in some kind of social work or the other, you'll observe people of different cultures and much more - everything will have its own charm, adding more to your story. Now, it's your turn to decide how you want your story to be like!
If you are ignorant enough to take things casually, you'll end up wasting your time and missing out significant moments. Hence, it's better to keep the heart and mind open and live every day to the fullest.
LESSON #4: GREAT RISKS WILL LEAD TO GREATER REWARDS
There must be things that you've always wanted to try, but never had the courage to do it. Now is the time to explore all that has been there on your bucket list for years.
Whether it's hitchhiking through the unknown trails or trying out an adventure sport like Skydiving or Bungee Jumping - letting go of your fears will make you feel stronger than you've ever been. You'll be an evolved person after taking up those challenges, and eventually, you'll realize that risks can only lead to rewards. And in case anything turns wrong, you still end up learning a lesson!
And the risks won't end with your journey - it'll keep coming back to life as well. But then, you'll be more confident in facing them, and a little more willing to jump into the unknown, knowing that something good will turn out soon.
LESSON #5 - LEARN TO BE HAPPY WITH YOURSELF
This is one of the biggest lessons that I've learned from my journeys. If you aren't happy with your company, chances are that you'll not enjoy anyone's company and vice versa. While traveling, you'll have long flight layovers, your phone might run out of battery and there might be no charging points to switch on your laptop - those are the moments when you'll have to be by yourself and make sure that you aren't bored.
Read your favorite book, scribble or doodle, pen down your thoughts or just try to calmly focus on what you want from this journey - be by yourself and learn to enjoy your own company.
Traveling can be an extraordinary catalyst for change. The leaps of faith that one takes and the differences that one embraces, the paths on which one get lost and the people with whom one connects - they all play an important part in shaping us as a better person.
Whether it’s moving to another country for the first time or embarking on a round-the-world trip, every adventure begins with a leap of faith into the unknown.
If your gap year adventure has taught you something more about life, then do share it with us in the comment section below.
Your journey and stories might simple inspire someone else to set out and explore.