30 Jan What you have Learned from Travel
On a recent trip to the Amalfi Coast, a friend and I decided to watch a local soccer game right above our dining restaurant one evening. The rest of our group returned to our villa. When the match was over, we left the small stadium when we met an old man who was walking in the evenings with a beautiful St. Bernard. My friend, a passionate dog lover, stopped to pet the dog, and even I couldn’t help myself – animal phobia as I was – she was just lovely with big brown eyes. Soon this man invited us to his home to meet the daughter of his dog, and when we went to see him, he explained why the city we were staying in was so peaceful for his retired life. He said, that for some reason the mafia never comes to collect money in this city. The Mafia often traveled to Positano or Naples and other nearby cities to raise money. I will never forget that night, a magnificent full moon rising over the ocean, when an old man with a beautiful St. Bernard told us about the mafia’s paths in a small, battered town on the Amalfi Coast. So … go with the flow and be open to spontaneous things. You never know who you can meet and what you will learn in the process. when an old man with a beautiful St. Bernard told us about the ways of the mafia in a small, battered town on the Amalfi Coast. So … go with the flow and be open to spontaneous things. You never know who you can meet and what you will learn in the process. when an old man with a beautiful St. Bernard told us about the ways of the mafia in a small, battered town on the Amalfi Coast. So … go with the flow and be open to spontaneous things. You never know who you can meet and what you will learn in the process.
I have learned not to expect things to be the same as in your hometown. Once you agree with this, you are more open to interactions other than what you are used to, be it a local grocer, taxi driver, or waiter at a local restaurant in the city you are visiting. And I think that tolerance has led to a certain level of patience that came in handy for dealing with people and situations even in my daily life when I’m not traveling.
My friends who know me well will laugh at this. I have a way to just try to be in the moment because it’s really hard to do! Especially with the advent of smartphones and social media tools, I feel that even during the holidays we are constantly diving into our mobile devices trying to update our friends in our activities. Therefore, when we are somewhere, somewhere, or eat something tasty, or just laugh together, I will stop and ask everyone to just close their eyes and sometimes even hold hands and just “freeze the moment.” It totally helps me to be in this moment! Try!
I mean a trip to Peru when I was on a hike for 4 days to visit the long-awaited Makchu Picchu. It rained on our last night … right into our tent. And although I was wearing ALL my clothes, it was cold. Rain was falling on my forehead. Cold, wet, droplets seep into my neck. I can’t stand the cold. But I survived. I just tossed and turned around, trying to avoid the wet drops, thinking about how to avoid the drops, and soon dawn and we had to prepare for the most exciting moment: Macchu Picchu. And it was as thrilling and thrilling as I imagined it – even though I barely slept last night!
The best thing I’ve learned while traveling is what I’ve learned about people and myself. And that usually happens best when I’m traveling alone. So I will post my answer here, which I wrote for a similar question: “How does it feel to travel alone”? It turns out that the answer to this question is really the best thing I’ve learned while traveling …
What have I learned from traveling? I learned from a Greek farmer on the island when he invited me to his house overlooking the sea to meet his wife and they invited me to stay with them for a month! And I don’t speak Greek, and they don’t speak English. And this is great, because I learned how to draw pictures, communicate with them!
I learned that the Dominican Republic loves baseball and that there is a lack of underwear. So when I got there, I brought underwear and baseballs as a gift. Then I gave them a baseball and looked at the smiles on their faces, which made me understand that words were not needed, and I sat and watched them play baseball for several hours with the ball I gave them, knowing that I was that changed something.
What have I learned from travel? I was in China in a cafe and 2 women approached me because they want to practice English and we became friends and they took me on a tour where I was the only foreigner on the trip and I learned to think like a local.
Or maybe I learned a thing or two while walking along an old river near a Chinese village and stopped to see a lake in the center of village that looked. And all the men and the women sit behind them and talk to each other. I went and sat down next to the old man, and without a word, we both shared the calm and joy of fishing on a lazy day, and we smiled at each other, a knowing smile shared every time he fished at the end of his line.
Alone, let me learn from this guy that I met in Mumbai many years ago when he admired the player I had, especially the cassette music I played sometimes. When I left India I gave it to him and after a month I received a letter from him and learned that he was playing a cassette at a dinner with his family and that he never received a gift in front of which he and his family are so highly valued … and he just wanted to let me know.
How about learning from someone you meet on the streets of Naples, Italy when he invites you to his spaghetti house? It turns out that he is a teacher and some of his students always come and eat, and now I am surrounded by 5-6 people my age who invited me to their school to talk about life in America? And it turns out that I really got along with one of the students, and we learned a lot from each other, and 25 years later we are still friends. He has a house in southern Italy and he invites me to stay. The house is located on a mountain and has the most beautiful ocean view.
In my excitement, I threw up my arms as if I had been hugging my whole life, with the Amalfi Coast behind me. The picture reflects my spirit so well that I use it as my profile picture for Quora 🙂