On Lessons Learned Abroad
Coming to America after spending 2 weeks in Ghana was slightly depressing. Not only because I traveled for 21 hours with a delayed flight in Brussels but also because I left the warm, 80-degree weather in Accra and arrived in freezing New York which still had snow on the ground. To say that the trip was not incredible would be a gross understatement. Not only did I get to travel with really good friends of mine and take a course on one of my favorite books with my favorite professor, I was also able to walk away with some valuable lessons, some of which I wanted to share with you!
1. Equivalence is fiction, so adjust your expectations: It is completely normal to compare wherever you travel with your home country or city. This, however, will only breed false expectations because the place that you travel to has a different culture with different customs. Adjust your expectations and don't assume that you will find exact similarities. Keep your mind open to whatever you experience.
2. Recognize your privilege: Going into a country as a guest already places you in a space of privilege. You may get better treatment because you are a tourist. This privilege can also extend to your educational and class positioning. Before making any quick or rash judgements on the place, recognize your position in the world and the privileges that come with that.
3. Traveling is all about perspective: Beginning your traveling with a certain perception of a place can ruin the time that you have. Outlook is everything. Coming in with a negative perspective does nothing for your travel. Perspective can set your trip up for better or worse - so keep it positive. Some negative experiences can even be made positive, or funny - it's all about how you look at them.
4. I want to travel SO MUCH MORE: This is less of a life lesson and more of a life goal of mine. I am not the biggest fan of flying, but that is not the only means of transportation. My wallet and I agree that I should start with local travel in the United States, but I have some international locations that I definitely want to start checking off my bucket list.
Where are some amazing places you have traveled? Which countries or cities are on your bucket list? Comment below!