Three Life Lessons Learned Through Travel

Author Joe Meringolo, Director of Program Development, leads a group reflection in Madrid’s Parque Oeste (West Park).

Author Joe Meringolo, Director of Program Development, leads a group reflection in Madrid’s Parque Oeste (West Park).

Whether we’re students or teachers, our knowledge of both content and beliefs gets tested when we go abroad. As we step into the unknown and travel, we begin to understand more about other cultures, but at the same time, we start to process and gain more insight into our own individual personality and values.  

When we immerse ourselves in another culture we learn a lot about that culture. In that time abroad, we may learn even more about ourselves. 

Here are three life lessons that we have the opportunity to learn through travel:

1. Perfection Doesn’t Mean Perfect

All trip itineraries can look and seem flawless. Although there are always challenges, a few bumps in the road doesn’t ruin the entire journey. 

At some point, you’ll be tired, hungry, thirsty, or all of the above as you get over jet lag. You’re probably shattering your normal routine with increased amounts of exercise, eating new foods, and you’re spending more time with a lot of people who you may or may not know well. 

Whatever obstacle you face in the moment, you’ll look at your trip with fond memories and these small expected changes will fade away.  

2. Sometimes We Need Perspective 

In school, sometimes we think that one exam or one project is going to dictate the outcome of our lives and we get anxious and nervous about the future based on the short term. 

Along those same lines with travel, we can get nervous or frustrated thinking that a delay or unexpected change will ruin the trip. In both cases, we have to step back and look at what’s important on a larger scale.

When we have the perspective and ability to have to step back and look at any experience on a more macro level, we realize that the strength of overall mentality controls the outcome. One rainy day doesn’t ruin an entire trip the same way that one exam or project doesn’t destroy our academic careers. 

In fact, sometimes it’s when we need to improvise that we learn the most about ourselves and the people around us. 

3. Your Perspective Means More Than Right or Wrong

As all of us have gone through school, or to continue to be involved in the academic world as students or teachers, we’re constantly trying to answer questions or solve problems that may or may not have clear answers. As we continue through life, we realize that right and wrong depends on our perspective as much as it does on the answer itself. 

Our visit to Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum that explored themes, such as reality and perception.

Our visit to Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum that explored themes, such as reality and perception.

We have to embrace activities that pull us toward love or hate, yes or no, etc and look at how and why we feel the way that we do toward these activities. Whether we do museum visits or hiking, all of us either fall into the camps of “like” or “don’t like” but it’s understanding our reasoning that helps us grow to become stronger and more empathic individuals. 

At EdOdyssey, we consider ourselves both teachers and students. We want to help you gain your own life lessons.  What does travel mean for you now and how do you think it’ll continue to adapt and change as you continue to grow as a person? 

We enjoy asking these questions and learning about teachers want their students to gain from an experience abroad. If you want to learn more about how you can have a life-changing experience with your students, we encourage you to start planning your trip today with us!