Powerful Lesson from 1 year travelling the world

lesson from 1 year travelling the world angkor wat

People travel for different reasons. Some are seeking adventure, others relaxation, people trying to learn about themselves, about a new culture, to feel… I travel to see the world. Our planet is too big and too beautiful, I feel an urge to discover it, to experience it.

I couldn’t just stay in one place all my life knowing that there are many new friends to be met out there, religions to understand, landscapes to admire and experiences to live. So I decided to move! It has been 15 months that I got my husband by hand, packed our stuff  and hit the road. Now I´m a nomad, travel writer and blogger.

Although I´m not seeking anything special, either an answer or a solution for my endless questions and thoughts, after 1 year travelling I do learn a lot. I figured out many interesting things about myself and about other people, and now I have more questions and weird thoughts than ever before… That’s what long-term meaningful travel does to you.

lesson from 1 year travelling the world capadocia

After one year wandering and wondering around the globe, I decided to put together the important lessons I’ve soaked up. I thought I could write one of those trendy articles “10 Lessons from 1 year travelling the world”. Sometimes I’m so naive!

Every night, when I go to bed and lay my head over my pillow, I always glimpse about how the day was and my plans for the future. In one of those night thoughts, I realized that although I have come across many outstanding cultures and knowledge, at the end of the day there is only one big lesson from 1 year travelling the world. Not 10, 12 or 20 to brag in a trendy blog post. This one lesson is quite simple, and maybe that´s why most people forget about it. Probably that is the reason it has touched deep in my soul.

My lesson from 1 year travelling the world:

“We are all the same.

And we want to be loved and happy”

lesson from 1 year travelling the world

This revelation was bugging me for almost a month, until I had the smart decision of giving up my “10 something” blog post and stick to my feelings. Actually it is quite a contradictory situation. I had to experience the contrast, meet the unknown, feel the doubts and step to the edge, so I could reach a simple and amazing conclusion.

We are all the same! We do have different believes, unique social behaviours, a plethora of skin tones, and a thousand languages and dialects… But we are the same! Bones and flesh, dreams, fears, a pulsing heart, an utterly desire to be happy and loved.

The diversity of costumes, religions, belief and shapes are what make us so interesting and beautiful. However, those differences should never keep us apart. East and west, Islamic and Christian, black, white, yellow, straight, gay… People create so many labels, subdivisions, groups, casts, that most of us take them as truth and believe that the world should be divided. More than already is!

lesson from 1 year travelling the world langkawi

I went so far from home to realize that albeit we live in distinct and peculiar ways, our differences should never keep us apart. Our diversity and cultural divergences should never be used as an instrument of fear, of domination, or a standard to decide what is right or wrong, better or worst. We already have enough borders to cross, we don’t need to create more imaginary ones.

From south to north, east to west… From the strange man on the other side of the world to our closest friends and dearest family, we are the same. We are humans and we all want to be happy and loved.

This one lesson was learned through smiles and talks. The most lovely and easy way to learn about a life. My teachers? All the people I have met and the friends I have made during this one year journey. They are responsible for the most important lesson I’ve learned from 1 year travelling the world. I wish I could say this in person: Thank you all!!!

What travel has taught you? Do you agree with my lesson from 1 year travelling the world? Please leave your thoughts…

104 Comments

  1. This is so true but only because you are so lovely and friendly, thus everyone wants to give it back to you. I firmly believe that you get so much more out of life the more you put in it!
    Thankfully with your and Robs friendly, kind, loving, enthusiastic , energetic nature you are meeting like minded people and I am so glad to have met you two amazing couple!
    Love you lots#hugs and kisses
    xxx

    1. I´m more than happy to be your friend, baby!!!
      You and Paul are part of story! Proud of it!! 😀
      And you are right, if we give respect and love, we receive them back too!! That´s the rule of life!!
      Dying to see you soon, chat and have fun!!
      Love you to bits, take care baby!!
      xxx
      Nat

  2. So very true, I’m pleased you wrote this instead of a top ten. I’m sure you have learnt alot from long term travel (I have too) but this lesson is the biggest

  3. Travel has learned me a lot about myself. What I want to do in life and what I don’t want to do in life, for example. I generally don’t travel to places where meeting locals is a big part of the experience (generally, “nordic places such as Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia) however I can totally see how it changes your point of view in this world!

    1. It´s incredible how travelling makes us learn about ourselves.
      As you said, connect with people is very good. But spend some time alone, discovering inside us it’s very rewarding to.
      All The best,
      Nat

  4. I was brought up as a traveller – my parents moved constantly throughout my childhood – I’d been to ten different schools by the time I was eight. I do think it gives you a different, stronger and better perspective on societies and cultures.

    1. That´s so nice to hear Fiona!!
      I´m sure when you were a kid probably you didn’t like all the school changing process. But now I´m sure you understand how precious was all the experience.
      All the best 🙂
      Nat

  5. What a lovely post! I love it when we – travelers – spend some time to consider what we have learned. I have learned much more in my travels than in the years spent studying, for sure! I also appreciate how you say that you travel because you can’t live with yourself knowing that there are so many places to see and adventures to live. That is exactly what drives me! I don’t really need to find myself – I have figured out who I am now. But I can’t wait to see new places 🙂

    1. Hi Claudia!!
      Love to know that we have something in common! Most o people think that we need a strong reason for long term travelling, like running for something or from something. Seems that not many people can understand that we travel for the sake of it, just because we want to see, to feel, to eat and to experiment.
      Thanks for stopping by and all the best!

      Nat

    1. Thanks Ramona!!
      Sometimes long term travelling can be overwhelming, but totally worthy. I’m more than happy to have this opportunity in my life!
      Thanks for stopping by,
      Cheers 🙂

      Nat

  6. This is a great lesson. It’s a crucial thing to remember today, when refugee crisis is all over the media and people tend to build invisible walls and divide humans into categories. We ARE all the same and we shall never forget that, no matter what the geopolitics is.

    1. You are so right!!!
      I feel so weird to watch the new and see the geopolitics and media dividing the world in 1st class, 2nd class, refugee… Labels and wall have been built everyday.. Why?? Just make us suffer even more… Thanks for your thoughts!
      All the best, 😉
      Nat

  7. Natalie I couldn’t agree more!! I loved reading this because it’s so honest. I’m glad you went against the “10 things I learned” because blogging your way and being the truest to yourself will make you the happiest. You’ve had an incredible first year, I can’t wait to read more 🙂

    1. Hey Mel!!!
      I´m so happy with your words! Thanks for stopping by and share you thought with me! I can´t promise that I will never write a “10 something…” post, because sometimes there are very useful. But if I´m going to do it, I will definitely do with all my heart.
      Happy Travels, 😀

      Nat

  8. What an eventful first year! I feel the same way about travel. There is too much unknown(even if it is just me that doesn’t know it) in the world to stay in a single place. So much diversity, culture, it’s amazing!

  9. Congrats on your wonder year aboard!

    I agree with your observation. People are people. We all have the same basic needs, and we all love to laugh and smile.

    My life has been so enriched by learning this, and cherishing the relationships I have made in my travels.

    1. Thanks Doreen!!
      When we travel, we discover new places and cultures, but the people we met on the way gives us a new perspective of life, and the friendships that we make on the road are precious.

      All the best,

      Nat

  10. I really like this post, and I agree, we are all the same. We shouldn’t have the right to compare people and our differences shouldn’t keep us apart. In fact, our differences should be used as a way to bridge people together, to help each other in different strengths we have. I learned a lot more in traveling than in school! Experience makes you richer.

    1. You are so right Karla!!!
      We definitely need more bridges between us! Loved your words!!
      School taught me to have good skill for work and maths, but travelling is teaching me to become a better person and soul. 😉
      All the best,

      Nat

    1. I´m sure you are teaching your kids right way! Taking them to explore the world with you is the best way to show them our differences and similarities. To make them understand that we need to respect each other, live in love and peace.
      Thanks for stopping by, all the best!
      Nat

  11. What traveling taught me that our environment needs help and preservation. I love every place that I’ve been to and I wish I could show them to my future kids, but seeing people destroy nature is just so sad. I wish I could do something about it.

    1. Wooow Aye!! That’s A big lesson too.
      As a traveller I am also worried about the future of our world. Many places that we call as paradise now, might not be the same in 20 years, that is so sad.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, we definitely need to think about the environment issues.
      Cheers,
      Nat

  12. We had the same realisation long ago, and I think it is the greatest thing about travel.

    It helps people realise this fact, and breaks down prejudices and throws stereotypes out the window! 😉

    1. That´s true Chris!
      For us, Brazilians, we are so tied up in labels and stereotypes that we don´t realize it. I´m so happy that I had the chance to live outside the box and get to understand how beautiful is to respect and love each other without distinction.
      Thanks for you comment.
      Safe journey in South America!
      Nat

    1. When I thought about writing this post I felt a bit silly to share such a simple and raw lesson. But then I realized that it´s out job and duty to try to make the world a better place. So I published it, and I´m really happy that I did it, the feedback has been super positive! So now I know that I´m not the only crazy traveller that wants love and peace for the world 😉
      All the best,
      Nat

  13. That’s interesting; you’re the second person that I’ve heard this from in recent times. A few weeks ago, I was speaking with another extensive traveller and he said the exact same thing – that people all over the world, on a very basic level, all want the same thing – “the best for themselves, and for the people they love.”

    Happy to know that I’m not the only person who feels that way too 🙂

    1. Thanks Julie!!!
      It’s such an amazing world indeed, and I don´t want waste my time in just one place. 😀
      Thanks for leaving your thoughts here, much appreciated.
      All the best,
      Nat

  14. It is so refreshing to read about the thought process that goes into an article! Travel has allowed us to meet the friendliest of people and experience inequality in the most deprived countries as well as being caught in a political rally! I look forward to reading what you’ve learned next year.

    1. Thanks Gemma!!
      Talking about the process of creating an article, I have to say that I loved your latest post headline! Great!!!
      Stay tuned but there are more sentimental articles to come! 😀
      All the best,

      Nat

  15. Nice post. I agree with you, the difference are what we seek to understand. The culture, the food, the history. But in the end we are all just people. And we all pretty much have the same want s and desires. Some of our best experiences are just hanging our with everyday people talking. Job, kids, politics, houses, the conversations are the same we have at home.

    1. That’s true Elizabeth!
      Spending time with locals, and getting to know people are the best ways to understand and get to know a different place. Also, that´s make me realize that our address may change but our concerns and wishes are always the same.
      All the best,
      😀
      Nat

  16. This is so very true, in he end this is also what I have realized after years of constant travel and we all often forget: people are people everywhere, and we all want the same. International media portraying the most feared or dangerous places often forget that there are normal people there too. Great post to remind us all of the goodness there is out there

    1. Thanks Man!
      I’m glad you liked the post and share the same thoughts! The media is doing a good job keeping us apart and under fear, but actually there much more good people out there than bad ones.
      Cheers,
      😉
      Nat

  17. I completely agree with lesson #1 and love how you said ” We are humans and we all want to be happy and loved.” Congrats on the first year!

    1. Thanks Dana!! 😀
      And that´s is truly how I feel. We are all the same and we need basics things as love and happiness! No doubt was a great first year, with a greater lesson!
      All the best,

      Nat

    1. It wasn’t easy to give up the trendy top 10 post, I felt like I should have more lessons to share. But the truth is that what touched my heart deeply in the one year travelling was the fact to understand that we are the same. People, simple like that. 😀
      All the best,

      Nat

  18. Totally agree–such an important lesson to learn and see with your own eyes. We’ve noticed that over our travels as well–despite the cultural differences, overall, people are good and just want to be happy! Love the first sentence of your post too–people travel for different reasons. I think that’s important to remember as well!

    1. Hey Jenna!!
      It´s funny how people can judgemental about the reasons of travelling… You must be running from something, or trying to figure out some inner issues… It´s always good to remember that people travel for different reasons, and in different ways…
      All the best, 😉
      Nat

  19. I not only found out things about myself. I changed! Travel does drive deep change, From a Filipina President/CEO I became a Filipino-American writer and wife.

  20. Nat! This is perfect! I totally agree with you. People are absolutely bloody brilliant. Wherever we’re from, whatever we believe in, whatever we do, however we choose to live our life – we are all beautiful and we are all the same. Well done for turning against the list concept and focusing on this most important of lessons. 🙂 So enjoyed reading it!

    Gabby

    1. So glad to read your comment Gabby!
      Thanks a lot! We usually talk about places, destinations, what to do and see, and forget about the people we met on the way. And most of the time this people are the responsible ones to make a normal trip become an an unforgettable experience.
      Meeting locals and understanding that we are all the same was a really important lesson to me!
      Cheers, and all the best
      😀

      Nat

  21. Yes! This is so true. Instead of looking at our differences, we should be thinking about how we’re all the same. Traveling definitely taught me that too…and a smile is a smile no matter what language you speak!

  22. I absolutely love this post, thankyou for puttng it together. The lesson that “we are all the same” is one which I think is the biggest cultural shock for a lot of people when they first go to travel. You realize that the cultural boundaries the media tries to enstill in you at home, and the racial lines you think exist really just fad away when you begin to travel. You see people for people instead of for the color of their skin or their cultural background.

    It’s for this reason that I wish a lot more people would travel and realize the same – I think the world would be a lot better of a place.

    1. Totally agree with you Meg!!
      The world needs more love and respect, many people should leave their comfort zone once a while to travel and have a glance of what is going on outside their town, country or culture… So many interesting things and people out there that we should get to know and respect.
      Thanks for stopping by!
      All the best,
      Nat

  23. YES. Although I haven’t traveled that long like you, I couldn’t agree more! I couldn’t be any more fortunate to meet so many different people who turned out to be my teachers as well! I agree, we are all the same. We all want happiness, love and just living the life – no matter where we are from.

  24. What a beautiful post! “We already have enough borders to cross, we don’t need to create more imaginary ones.” I loved this line. This is what traveling is all about, learning and growing and realizing that we have more similarities than differences.

    1. Thanks for you lovely words Vicky!!
      Travel is definitely not only about discovering new places, but actually learning about ourselves and people we meet on the way!!
      All the best to you too, safe journey!
      Nat

  25. I feel you Nat and I am with you all the way! Congratulations on your one year of travel! My first year away from home seemed unreal and I can definitely relate. Traveling gives you a lot of powerful life lessons and that’s why we are still here. 🙂 Good luck with the rest of your travels!

    1. It´s a pleasure to share some of the emotions and lessons I have collected along the way. And doesn’t matter if you travel full time or just a few weeks in a year, the important things is to move, to travel and see different parts of the world!
      All the best Megan! 😀
      Nat

  26. I agree with your lesson you’ve learned during your year of travelling. Everybody can indeed put various reasons what we’ve learned from travelling, but in the end, we’re all the same 🙂

    What I have mainly learned from my long term travelling is to take everything with a pinch of salt, to stay relaxed, to enjoy every day and to be glad to be doing what I love doing most, which is travelling.

    1. Hi Sabine!!
      I’m glad you are enjoy your journey too! Travel is one of the deepest experiences we can have in life! It definitely makes us a better person!
      Thanks for stopping by and wish you all the best!

      Nat

  27. Such a nice read, I’m glad you didn’t go for a “trendy” post. You are absolutely right! We are taking off in 2016 and I can’t be more stoked, not only to see all the beautiful landscapes, but people as well. I’ve been an expat for 3 years and an important lesson I learnt is – take it easy. If you don’t like something, take a step back and observe first. It’s not always wrong, just different.

    1. Hey Maya!!
      I totally agree with you, we can´t say something is wrong just because it´s different or goes against our culture!
      Wish you a wonderful 2016, I´m sure your travels will be full of adventures, amazing places, great people and memorable moments!! Maybe we bump in each other, and do some cycling or hiking together! 🙂
      Cheers,

      Nat

  28. Natalie, it seems we have learned the same lesson! We think much alike which is probably why I liked you as soon as we met.

    I recently answered this same question for a fellow blogger and part of my answer was “We traveled to some pretty diverse locations in 2015 which made our biggest lesson of the year confirmation that the majority of people are really the same wherever you go.”

    This can be so easy to forget with all of the hate and terror we hear from the media but the truth is that those horrible acts are done by a very few. The majority of the world are the same as me and you and just want to live a life of love, happiness and good health.

    1. Hey Sarah!!
      I knew e had a strong connection!! 🙂
      And you are so right, nowadays people forget that we all human, we are all the same. Glad to hear that I´m not the only one trying to spread this positive message!!
      Missing you baby, and hope we can catch up soon!!
      All the best in 2016! Love, happiness and health!
      Ks
      Nat

  29. What a great lesson to have learned and shared with the world. After 3+ years of travel for us, we too feel the same. It is amazing, addicting, and humbling to have travel as our current life choice. Here’s to many more awesome experiences and more love around the world. Safe travels Natalie and Rob

    1. Thanks Heidi!!
      I really admire what you guys are doing! What a challenge travel with two kids, and I can only imagine how awesome it might be have the opportunity to learn and share all this moments with them!!
      All the best and thanks for stopping by!
      Cheers,

      Nat

  30. Great post and you are totally right on being loved and we want the same. I have been traveling for the last 10 years and I have my own set of rules and expectations as I travel. It’s good to read a good post about really traveling. Thanks

  31. Great thoughts and I couldn’t agree more. I travel a lot with my job, taking me everywhere from Taiwan to Peru and a LOT of places inbetween teaching engineers from all colours and creeds, like you say, we are all the same. We all have families, marriages, kids, spouses, aspirations and dreams. All just wanting to get along in the World and be happy and loved. Simple eh? Like you, it was a couple of years ago that it struck me. Now I view the world so very differently. Treat people with the kindness that we all deserve. Bless you!

    1. HI Steve!!
      Thanks for you lovely comment!!
      Glad to know that we share the same thoughts, and that you realize this way sooner than me! Congrats!! And as you said, it changes completely they way we see and understand the world!
      Cheers and all the best to you!
      Nat

  32. Indeed a powerful lesson 🙂 I have not been in many places like you but your statement is true. During my trips, I have learned that being nice to others and they will treat you the same (not always but very often). A greeting or even a smile is enough and differences in appearance, or language doesn’t matter that much.

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