Of all the teachings I've embraced, one of the biggest lessons I've learned is not to preach them to others but to embody them myself. For instance, I had to quit talking about the importance of being kind and just be kind.
One thing I love about traveling is being placed outside my familiar realm. The advantages one has at home base no longer exist. Back home, within a consistent occupation, neighborhood and social group anyone can build a veil of personality. The familiarity holds a sense of comfort. But when you're plucked from the accustomed roles of daily living, what is left is a level of confidence you didn't know you had. Maybe it's less or more than you've expected. Nevertheless it is certainly different.
When you're not on the guided tour, the pre-planned expedition or inclusive resort, the experience is much more unstable. It is spontaneous, not fixed. You never know what is waiting for you next. What a treat to stumble upon a camp spot overlooking the ocean. Or making some unexpected friends to hike a national monument with. Or you realize how peculiar it is that you're helping an Irish organ maker assemble his new barbecue in his countryside home. And there happens to be a donkey overlooking your shoulder.
Some people find security in the predictability of vacation or holiday. Others seek the thrill of mysteries the day can hold. The first is more fitting as "vacation" where the other falls more towards "travel." One is not better than the other. They are just for different people with different tastes. The introverted or private person may disgust the myriad of people one bumps into on a wayward expedition. Although, it may be the best thing that ever happens to him/her.
That's the thing; you'll never know what it's like until you've try it. To set out with loose plans, leaving room for spontaneity, is what leaves open the opportunity for marvelous yet unexpected experiences. It is not for everybody, but it's worth finding out first hand if it is for you or not. My good friend Ron would always say, "Make plans in pencil. And make sure you have a big eraser."
The best way to travel is the way that makes the most sense to you. I take all the advice and suggestions others give me into consideration. But at the end of the day I have got to trust my gut. Our instincts are the best tools we have to know what move to make next. Sometimes it is all you've got. The more you let your intuition guide you from one stop to the next, the more in tune with it you become, and the more you trust it because it never leads you astray. Some days it seems that the Universe is out to get me, with my face in the mud and cold wet feet, but it always adds up to something wonderful around the bend.
We are all well equipped to travel the world. All the skills I use today were taught to me by the time I graduated kindergarten:
Treat others how you want to be treated.
Don't take what's not yours.
If you borrow something, put it back.
Don't hit people.
Say Please and Thank You.
If you're not sure, ask!
You can't always get what you want.
The important thing is to use these skills. It is easy to talk about how to rectify everyone else. Especially caught up in the office gossip or family drama. But when you head out into the world without your ties it is best to apply all the rectifying to yourself. Living the "Golden Rule" becomes so powerful. You really get to see that when you start treating people well and putting out better things into world, greater things come back your way. All the preaching and proselytizing turns around. You start looking at your own life and how you fit. That's the real power in all lessons. How oneself takes them to heart, not how they apply to someone else.