I am going to start a series called “What I have learned traveling long term…”

I am no professional. To some of my friends at home it may seem as though I am so well traveled and experienced, but to those out on the road, I may be another yuppie. I am not trying to declare myself anything, just a girl roaming around trying to figure out little bits of this world.

So what have I learned thus far while traveling..?

Slow things down!

This is a marathon, not a sprint. This is your life.

It is okay if you miss out on that last temple or volcano hike. There will be other opportunities. If your body is telling you that it needs to sit this one out, it probably does.

The last thing that you want while traveling is bed rest. Well… now I can think of about 200,000 things that are worse while traveling, but nonetheless, if your body needs rest, take it.

You cannot have this “FOMO” while out on the road because it will run you down.  Trust me, I have acquired issues from double ear infections & sinus infections to the flu to questioning dengue fever and MUMPS.. I mean really, who gets mumps?

Things come up. You will get strange insect bites and wounds from your motorbike. Viruses and infections and everything in between will come your way.

I could go on to write about the hospitals in each country that I’ve visited, which may actually be a good idea. The point that I am trying to make is that traveling is not going to be easy. It is not going to be luxurious all the time. It is not going to be something you want to shout from a mountain top when you come across your first trip to the hospital or the first time you really mess things up. It will however be worth it.

In every trip that I have taken within the last few years I have had disaster after disaster occur. I won’t even talk about everything that I have had stolen… But really, situations have happened, but you know what? Each of those experiences shaped me.

Flights missed, doctors visited, and Iphones stolen have each turned into their own story. I can now laugh at the encyclopedia of traveling fuck ups that I have accumulated.  And man.. they are pretty funny. Stick around and I may shamelessly expose a few of them.

For the good, the bad, the sticky, frustrating, ugly, and glorious moments, slow things down.

You won’t get much rushing from country to country – temple to temple – or mountain to mountain when you don’t stop along the way to smell the flowers.

Even if you have the most kickass immune system, your body can’t move as fast as your spirit can.

Take the time to reflect, write in your journal, paint a picture of that mountain, whatever gets you going. When you are sitting at home, wishing you were back on the road, you won’t be wishing you saw that last sight. You will be wishing to have one more day spent experiencing.

From my past trips, I have realized that the moments that resonate the deepest are those that are the subtlest. A lunch spent with a local family or laughs shared with friends from around the world are what I think back to.  I treasure the companionships that grew from sitting on rooftops or trudging along on another grueling night bus together. When I go home, what I long for the most are the slow days with the best company. I dream of the little moments that I would have missed had I been hurrying along.  

So there you have it.. Some people may tell you differently. Some people may enjoy rushing along checking off different countries on their bucket list. For me, slowing down my travels typically brings about some life changing moments that I would not have encountered otherwise. I don't push my body to its limits because I have learned that it will always backfire. Breathe, relax, and enjoy the rollercoasters of this grand adventure because it slips away into nostalgia real fast.