Travel can be extremely stressful. Figuring out what to back, where to stay, what sights to see, and how much money to bring can be very overwhelming. I’ve been traveling for the past 5 years and still struggle with these aspects of my trips. Recently, however, I discovered the top two travel essentials: patience and an open mind.
If you have ever been to Central America or South East Asia, you know that things tend to be very different from the rest of the world. Locals seem to have their own set of ideas as to what is “normal” or acceptable. I’ve experienced shops closing randomly for a 30 minute coffee break and the complete lack of traffic patterns in several countries. Not understanding the language or customs can also pose a huge challenge.
The best way to approach these situations is with patience.
I am constantly telling myself that I am not in North America and people are allowed to have a different way of doing things. More importantly, I try to remind myself that these differences are the reason to travel. Seeing beautiful places is important, but experiencing a new culture is what truly helps you grow as a person. Being able to keep your cool when the electricity goes out for no reason or you find yourself in a place with no plumbing is one of the best life lessons you can learn.
Having patience is the best way to become open-minded. On the surface it would appear that most travelers are open-minded people. They are leaving the comforts of home to explore a new, exotic location. When you decide to travel, you must be willing to take the good with the bad, the beauty with the poverty or corruption, or you are better off staying put.
Traveling is the perfect opportunity to truly understand different groups of people, and this can only be done if you have an open mind. The next time you pack your bags for a trip abroad, make sure you are prepared to experience something outside of your comfort zone. If you are, you are more likely to have an unforgettable experience.
How do you stay patient on your travels and keep an open mind? Share your tips with us so we can all travel better.