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If you have the opportunity to pack your bags and go, do it. Go alone if you have to.

Don’t do it for vacation. Don’t do it for luxury. Don’t do it to take pictures for your Instagram account. Do it because it will make you a better person.

And here’s why:

  1. Learning to be alone.

Have lunch with yourself. Sit with your thoughts and be okay with them, whatever they are. Love yourself whole-heartedly, especially in times of solitude. And when you think you can’t sit alone any longer, order coffee and a dessert.

  1. Relying on the kindness of strangers.

Foreignness does not prevent random acts of kindness. Accept them. Give them. Appreciate them.

  1. Learning to live with less.

This does not mean claiming hardship. Let this manifest in small ways. Recognize your fortunes. Be humbled.

  1. Learning that plans change and you will have to adapt.

Itineraries are guidelines, not rigid measurements of experience. The best experiences are often not scheduled or anticipated. Expect the unexpected and learn to love it.

  1. Enjoying the moment.

Forget the missed bus and enjoy the culture that can be experienced in one hour waiting at a bus stop. Stay in the present.

  1. Forces you out of your comfort zone.

Practice speaking that language you learned. Try the cow tongue. Make new friends.

  1. Learning to be patient.

Don’t rush through the museum. Don’t rush through your meal. Don’t bounce your leg up and down or roll your eyes. Don’t yell at anyone for reading the map wrong and getting lost. Don’t worry, you’ll get there.

  1. Learning you can’t assume.

Try looking at things a different way. Ask questions. Let this open up a new realm of thought and possibility.

  1. Missing home.

Appreciate family, friends, and loved ones. Appreciate the comfort of mundane routines. Find newfound respect for the life you often wish to escape.

  1. Goodbye is not forever, life has endless possibilities.

The family becomes more than just blood. Never say goodbye to the people you meet and the places you see. Cherish the new families and homes you’ve gained. Keep in touch and look back with fond memories from time to time.

 

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