Talking with Travelers is a segment I will do from time to time where I ask other travelers I meet what they have learned about life or how they have grown through their travels.
“No one’s ever said they regret starting to travel too young”
While travelling alone to Hong Kong for a visa update I stopped in a small bar for a drink. There I met a really cool man named Arthur. If I had to guess I’d say Arthur was around 70 years old and he had quite the extensive travel record. He told me about many of his trips with his favorites being in small relaxed towns around Europe.
Arthur shared some good practical travel advice with me and suggested that every traveler should, before they leave home, take photos or scans of all their important information, documents and credits cards and then email it to themselves. This way, anywhere in the world with internet they can access any documents they might have misplaced on the way. I suggest if you do this you also make your email password more secure, a good password should contain letters, numbers and at least one symbol like “!” also make sure if you ever do access these pieces of information from another computer that you carefully sign out of the email service afterwards and ensure you didn’t have the site save your password.
Arthur told me that the times he had while travelling were some of the best times of his life, then he said a phrase that I totally love. He said out of all his years travelling he’s never heard anyone say they regret starting to travel when they were too young, and he’s never heard anyone really regret the money they have spent while travelling, because the memories gained from the experiences, (as oppose to something materialistic), will last a lifetime.
“You never know how much a smile can affect a person”
Evonne was a very interesting woman to talk to. She was Chinese, around 20 years old and also a traveler, in a few days she was leaving to Belgium for 2 years to finish her university degree. At first impression she just seemed like a fun crazy party girl but after getting to know her a bit she had a much deeper personality underneath.
She told me she had learned a lot when she traveled to another area of China to go to university. Before this in highschool she had lived in a place where the students and the families were more well off, and all the students were taken good care of financially by their parents. At this time Evonne didn’t like other people all that much, she was very judgmental towards them and generally projected a bad attitude towards everyone else. She told me at the time she didn’t really know who she was, but she thought of herself as simply a mean person. She didn’t expect to get along well with others and generally didn’t.
When she moved to university she encountered something she wasn’t familiar with. Her roommates were kind people but they were struggling, unlike the more rich people she grew up with her roommates were forced to live off of their student loans, and had to sacrifice a lot of things financially. This fresh perspective gave Evonne the kind of new start she needed. Seeing her roommates struggle Evonne began sharing things with them, such as cooking them extra food. Her roommates responded wonderfully to her generosity and Evonne began having a shift in her thinking about herself. The smiles on the faces of the grateful roommates made Evonne realize that she wasn’t a mean person, she was now instead feeling joy in committing acts of kindness. She told me something simple but profound, “You never know how much a smile can affect a person.”
From here forward she built strong friendships with her roommates and shared many great times with them. She began thinking that every person, deserves to have great things in their life. Her negative mindsets towards others and more importantly towards herself had faded and she was free to experience the joys of real friendships.
Nowadays Evonne tries to live with a mindset that she could die tomorrow so she tries to live to the fullest today, and ensure if something did happen to her she would have no regrets about how she lived. She believes in travelling now while she is young, because making future plans can be too uncertain. She loves meeting new awesome people everywhere she goes, and believes it’s important to always surround yourself with those you love.