As the year is coming to an end I have been thinking about everything I have learned this year and how my life has changed. Obviously the biggest learning experiences have come from travel. So here are 10 things that I have learned from traveling this year!
1. The world is a small, small place. It's funny being in a country that you have never been in before and feeling like you aren't too far from home. While we were in Thailand we ran into a man wearing a Boise State hat. I automatically thought that he must be from Idaho so I went up to him and asked. He replied in a very thick German accent saying that he was actually from Germany, but has a friend that lives in Boise and he has been to a football game on the blue turf! We talked to him and his wife for a while and ended up exchanging emails, and making plans to meet up in Germany. It was so funny to me how small the world seemed and it was a true example of how we can connect with anyone from anywhere.
2. Europe and Asia have the most amazing airports. I'm talking high-end mall looking airports. I remember Donald Trump saying that America has the worst airports on earth. And that is one thing he is actually right about. The craziest airports we have been to this year were the Reyjavik Iceland airport, and the Bangkok airport. Reyjavik has crazy technology and architecture making you feel like you are in a futuristic world. I remember washing my hands in the bathroom and thinking "Wow this is the coolest bathroom I've ever been in", and it was in an airport! The Bangkok airport is incredibly clean and full of high end stores. The entrance has Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and tons of other stores. I'm not sure who's shopping there while waiting for a flight... But somebody is!
3. I know you have heard me say before that we want to adopt from Thailand someday, and here is why. After spending 2 months in Asia we absolutely fell in love with the people and had started talking about it. We spent our last day volunteering at a Children's Home which sparked my interest even more. While at the home I learned that they currently host over 500 children, and this at only ONE Children's Home. Each country has multiple Children's home throughout the region full of kids that may or may not be given a home. Later I found out that out of Thousands of kids, only 15 a year are adopted from the entire country of Thailand. From Cambodia there are 10, from Vietnam there are 20, and I think you get the picture. This was so eye opening to see how great of a need there is for adoption in these smaller countries.
4. The world is actually a very safe place. Growing up I feel like I always learned that the outside world is dangerous, use the buddy system, and never travel alone. To an extent I still think this is true. But while I have been roaming the streets of Europe or Asia in the middle of the night.... I have never felt so safe.
5. Jet Lag is a real thing. If you remember us first leaving the US... We went from Seattle to Iceland to London to Bangkok all within 72 hours. I got to a point where I was falling asleep without being able to control it. I have never had such a thing happen to me! Thankfully Gavin has super power abilities to stay awake because I would've ended up passing out in the street if I was by myself!
6. Americans are inferior to the rest of the world. Here is why. While traveling to different countries I have seen people go from speaking English to Spanish, to French, to whatever else like it is nothing! The rest of the world is fluent in at least 2 languages. While our high schools in America require 2 years of a language... We don't actually learn anything. These people are bi-lingual from the time they enter school. It is so amazing that they can connect with so many different people because of it!
7. How to roll with it. Going into a trip we always expect to have everything work out perfectly, and if it doesn't we are suddenly stressed out and panic. One of the biggest things we have learned is to just go with the flow. If our bags are lost... Eh we'll get them back eventually. If our flight is delayed.... Eh we can go explore the airport. If we end up walking 6 miles in the heat and then find out we could've taken a free shuttle (true story by the way)... Eh at least we got some exercise???? Life and adventure is so much more enjoyable when you are worry free.
8. 3rd world problems are more devastating then I ever thought. Next time my phone is dying or I run out of milk, I will never complain again. I have watched families living in one room with kids, aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents. I have watched mothers mix flour and water on a stove on the floor to feed their baby. We are so privileged and spoiled in our lives and tend to think about all the negatives in life.
9. How to live in the moment and unplug from the internet. While traveling and not having phone service or any tie to the internet (unless finding wifi) it has made me appreciate real life more and live in the moment. The months that Gavin and I had together with no phones or internet are days that brought us together and made us learn more about ourselves and each other. Now if only we lived 100 years ago and I could keep it like that forever!
10. My favorite eye opening experience of all. While in Thailand we met a man named Bobby who had lived in the USA for 20 years and just come back to live in Thailand again. After talking with him about the US he gave us his opinion on Americans. He said "American's think that they have the best lives and are the happiest people on earth. They think that everyone would love to have their life and live in America. But if they traveled to a small place like where we live, they would see that we are so much happier then they are. And we have nothing and don't know any different. We are just happy." My mind literally exploded thinking about how many people only travel to resort destinations. They never go to the small villages and see how people live. The people in the small villages of Thailand are the nicest I have ever met. And definitely the most happy.
I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving and got to spend some quality time with their loved ones❤️ This Monday we are doing a Cyber Monday Sale for our eBook on How to Start Traveling. Stay Tuned!