Travel has always been a good teacher to me. I learn about other countries, people cultures and most of all about myself.
So in no particular order are my lessons from the school of hard knocks:
1) Focus on the goal even in difficult times
That's right, every time you get stuck in a place where you cannot get out of, FOCUS on how you can get yourself out. I remember getting lost in Lucerne, India(in general), Paris but those were the times I really found myself.
2) Stop running behind people; Plan and act accordingly rather than on emotions
Do not let people distract you from your goals. Make up your mind about a venue and go see it rather than being pulled away by the demands of the group.
3) Listen to your heart and act strongly
You have to be a strong person to act in accordance with your heart. Practice listening to your heart and see how it feels. . Don't be too rigid as too how will you get to a particular venue in a new city. Bus, Taxi, locals who knows where it will lead you. Trust your hear and follow the adventure it follows.
4) Stand up for what you believe in
You are not responsible for other people's reaction - Refuse to be shut down or be blasted away by critics. Traveling in big groups you will always run into an odd bunch who have to have it their way, simply say you have decided to go do X and see who else is interested and go and enjoy the experience.
5) Be positive and smile A LOT
Keep high spirits. Read good books and apply what they say. Have fun with your life. Often time you will be stranded with less money and no bank in sight. Make the best of it ! This are the times which will become sweet memories to tell your grand children.
6) Accept things and uncertainty
Do not ask why? Just live and accept. Acceptance will make you a very happy person. Learn to detach from your emotions and watch them. If the bus ride is too bumpy, its okay. If the taxi driver charged you a little extra, its okay. Don't let a small thing ruin your experience.
7) Be confident
Look in people's eyes, SMILE and communicate. Your ability to connect with people and make them feel comfortable will bring you the goodies. In foreign lands if you get lost you will be amazed the lengths to which people will go to help you. You just need to communicate.
8) DECIDE and do it
Don't fear as to what others will think. I feel I am repeating myself but I think it needs to be repeated. Often we tend to not go to the places we want to visit because nobody in the group is interested. Well don't be scared to take the journey by yourself, it will be a lot of fun.
9) Be in the present moment. Be friendly and have a clear mind
DO NOT dwell the past. Be forward looking. Know where you come from and see where you are going. Always be in the moment and cherish that beautiful scenery you are watching. Be grateful for what you have experienced.
10) Be in control of your mind
Peace of mind and patience. Do you duty. If some action does not give you peace of mind, you need to rethink your action. If the train gets delayed, don't loose your cool. If you miss your flight, book another one. I have missed my flight on more than one occasion and something amazing always happens in that extra time.
11) Be Practical
Mr. Rudolph Giuliani's quote sums this one up. Do not be too worried about your hotel room or that you do not know anyone in the city. Walk around and you will make friends. If you are in the city for couple of days, pick a bar and go there everyday at the same time. Be practical and you will start feeling at home.
12) Be Detached from the outcome
Do the deed, do not worry about the fruits of the deed. Enjoy the process. Do not worry if activity X will be more fun or activity Y. Go and enjoy it.
13) Have Integrity
This is the most important thing I have learned is to be true to myself and keep my word to others. At time when traveling by yourself, keep your promises to yourself. It build your confidence and give you an inner strength.
14) Live from a point of Love rather than Ego and Fear
Instead of reacting, just start being and know that you are surrounded by love. Let go of the fear of judgement and stop judging others as well. Let go of the fear of your insecurities; stand tall and proud. Love yourself as you are and you will see the universe reciprocating. There is a 'you' inside you, It does what it has to, to achieve what it wants. It fears none and dares to do anything. Love to this 'you' and the world reciprocate. As you walk through the streets of the new town do not be scared but look at others as friends and you will meet many good people. If you look at others as different than yourself then you will have a hard time in that city.
15) Be Proud and Passionate
Be passionate about your life and be proud of what you do. Be proud of what life has made you and approach each day with passion and fire like intensity that it will take you one step closer to your dreams. That's rite hold your head high and explore new lands and communicate your culture and beliefs to people while you learn their ways.
So pack your bags, start traveling and exploring the world. Find new ideas and change the world or simply take these lessons to heart and change yourself.