These lessons apply to everyday, but are especially helpful when travelling. I have worked with kids a fair bit in different environments and have learnt to appreciate a lot of the behaviours of small humans that we lose as we get older.
- Get excited by everything
I didn’t take me long when I first started travelling to realise that the same exact type of food or clothing or person can be approximately 18 times more interesting with a different setting/store front/accent. Things that would be normal at home are more exciting overseas. Add to that the plethora of incredible things that actually are new and different and ancient and cultured etc, and travel will teach you to see things with the excited wonderment of a child.
- Smile at people
Almost too obvious, but something that we need to be reminded of. Not matter what the situation, it will always be helped by being friendly and wearing a smile. I need to remind myself of this every now and then, because even when you don’t feel like smiling, it will make you and everyone else feel a little better. It is the one true universal language.
- Sleep wherever you can
- If you get a bad feeling about something/a situation/ someone- go with it
Kids will always tell you when they don’t like someone or something, and they don’t care if it’s appropriate or nice to do it, and it’s a lesson everyone should learn. You don’t need to start crying or tugging on you mum’s clothes to make your point, but you can learn to trust your feelings about a situation in the same way. Recently, I was playing pool with a guy at a bar, and even though the setting was comfortable (lots of people I knew) the guy started giving me the creeps. It was little stuff, I had just met him and he kept putting his hand on my back, and when I took a shot he would stand right next to me. It might have been an overreaction, it might have been a cultural thing (most likely) but I got a weird feeling I don’t often get, so I bailed. One of the most important things to learn when you travel, especially solo, is to trust your instincts when something seems off. You will only regret not trusting them and staying in a situation that makes you uncomfortable.
- Talk to everyone
Meeting new people and making new friends is as complicated as it so go up to someone, toddler-style, and just start talking. Interestingly, the conversations could be very similar- you new truck (you or real, no judgement), how delicious this food is and how much you don’t care that it’s all over your face, or even this new boo boo you got from falling off a mule (true story, cept for the use of ‘boo boo’). The ways kids talk to each other is a brilliant way to approach meeting new people, and even on my current trip I have met so many weird, wonderful and downright brilliant humans (a lot even from my hometown!) that I never would have met if not for travel and my ability to talk to anyone.