Traveling Teaches You Life Lessons Beyond Just The 'Travel Experience'

Traveling Teaches You Life Lessons Beyond Just The 'Travel Experience'

Traveling and experiencing various cultures taught me a lot.

This Christmas instead of new shoes, clothes and toys I asked Santa to travel. I decided to ask for experience rather than material objects. I went on a cruise with two of my friends and their families. The places I got to see were breathtaking.

Traveling and experiencing various cultures taught me a lot.

This was the first stop off of the boat, St.Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. We stopped at the port with no plans or ambitions. We found a nice local who drove us around to show us the island in depth.

It was amazing.

The houses sat in the mountains surrounded by trees and greenery. It was hard to see some areas, it was evident that Irma impacted in a costly way. Wooden slabs were placed around with spray paint that said, "Houses back here with no power." This affected me a lot because I live in Florida and thought my five-day streak without power was a challenge.

This destination taught me to appreciate everything I have.

San Juan, Puerto Rico was the second place we visited. It was beautiful and unique. There were stores everywhere and narrow streets that contained a lot of history.

There were many street vendors and locals along the roadside who were selling objects such as handmade jewelry and paintings.

It was mesmerizing to watch people make such art with such elegance and somehow make it look so easy. Everyone I met was pleasant and joyful.

San Juan taught me that kindness is the best quality a person can have.

The last place we went to was Nord, Haiti. The water and surrounding views were spectacular. We went jet skiing, and I learned that jet skiing in the ocean is a lot more challenging than in a lake.

I quickly caught on that you can't go as fast when you approach a wave once I was thrown off the side into the middle of the ocean.

After that adventure, I visited the vendors and sellers that surrounded the area. Everyone was very ambitious to sell, they created such beautiful pieces and were willing to sell them for minimal prices. Their spirits were unbeatable.

Haiti taught me to be humble with whatever I do.

Cover Image Credit: Rowan Cassarly

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Learn Something Valuable From These 7 European Countries

When you are surrounded by chocolate, treat yourself.

America is a big country. So large that some parts of the country are so diverse they may as well be in different worlds, yet, American soil will always have one uniting factor: The American Dream. So, if we have an idea that enables synonymity in our vast country then that means that as different as some American counterparts may seem, we also share much of the same. This is why international travel is so important.

In fact, global traveling is more feasible then some may think, and can help shape your life in tremendous ways. So, here are seven life lessons there are to learn from those other international communities, specifically seven countries from Europe.

1. Spain: Be diverse in your choices

The Spanish are famous for their “tapas”. If you spend time in Spain then you will undoubtedly encounter this diversified little meal. Tapas are essentially small little plates (or tasters) of different dishes. This thereby encourages making choices that consist of variety, reinforcing to those who are creatures of habit to try something new!

2. England: Spend time outdoors

Take a trip to England and you will be surrounded by areas of preserved green space. When walking the streets of London you can expect every other block to be an area reserved for a small community park, not to mention the tremendously large parks in London, like Hyde Park. This dedicated space for outdoor enjoyment encourages people to get out of their homes and go move around in the parks.

3. Belgium: Treat yourself

Oh, the Belgium chocolate. Belgium is world renowned for having excellent, gourmet chocolate. Must I say any more? Treat yourself! With a chocolatier shop on every corner, it’s hard to miss.

4. The Netherlands: Exercise

When people think of Amsterdam, they often think of bicycles. Boy, is that true. Bicycles rule the road in the Netherlands, especially the populated city of Amsterdam. It is not uncommon to see elegantly dressed women, mothers with newborns, or toddlers cycling along the busy streets. Take a page from the Dutch way of life and try using your bicycle as your main mode of transportation.

5. Germany: Learn a foreign language

The German language is a bit abstract to English speakers. Which means if you do not speak German, then you will be playing charades to find your way through the German homeland. Some regions consist of seasoned English speakers, but do not plan on it. Take this as a mental note to learn a new language.

6. Italy: Eat good food

Italian food. Yum. The Italians know how to achieve high-quality life through their beautiful leisurely vacation destinations, fine art scene, and AMAZING FOOD. Take a trip to Italy, eat good food, and come home realizing you should treat your taste buds better then you have.

7. Denmark: Don’t take candy from strangers

Allow me to clarify something: the Danish are very sweet and kind people. Their candy will not actually cause damage to your body in terms of being toxic, but your taste buds will revolt unless you like salted black licorice.

Cover Image Credit: Jazmine Kelleher

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15 Most Interesting Things About Vietnam (Part 1)

Let's discover and have a virtual tour to this small beautiful Southeast Asian country.

All I know of you is all the sights of war.

A film by Coppola, the helicopter's roar.

(Hello Vietnam- Pham Quynh Anh)

When it comes to Vietnam, some people will think about its difficult time in the past such as Vietnam War as the lyrics above because that's what they have learned about it. Some other people even don't really know where it is on the world map. This article will show you some interesting and amazing facts about this beautiful small country which is located at Southeast Asia.

1. Motorbikes

What is the most challenging you have experienced in Vietnam? Most of visitors will probably tell you that is getting across the streets. You may feel headache if you want to count how many motorbikes are there on the streets. While car is the main means of transport in U.S., Vietnamese prefers to ride a motorbike because having a motorbike is much cheaper than having a car. Owning a car is a luxury for a person because the tariffs will cost a person to buy a car with the dramatic price of over 100% of its original value. If you pay approximately $20,000 for a car in U.S., Vietnamese must pay around $40,000 for the same brand of the car. Therefore, for someone who comes to Vietnam at the first time, they will be surprised and confused about the its traffic, especially in crowded areas such as Ho Chi Minh City or Ha Noi.

2. Coffee

You can say that Vietnam is the heaven of coffee. Vietnam is the second largest producer in the world (second only to Brazil). If you have chance to try Vietnamese coffee, you will realize that its taste is strongly bitter than American coffee. That’s why Vietnamese usually mixes coffee with condense milk or lots of sugar to make people enjoy drinking it more easily. If you have chance to go to Vietnam, in the early morning, you will probably see people sitting at some food vendors on the streets waiting for their coffee dropping from the filter on the top of the cup. Furthermore, Vietnamese coffee is one of the cheapest ones in the world. The most expensive one in Vietnam is weasel coffee, which is made by collecting coffee beans eaten by wild civets; you must pay around $500 for per kilogram (around 2 lbs.). What is more, if you go to Ha Noi, which is the capital of Vietnam, it will be great if you ask the local to take you to go somewhere to enjoy a cup of egg yolk coffee.

3. Street Food

Where can you find good street food in Asia? People usually think about Thailand. However, Vietnam, its neighbor, is also a heaven of street food. Street food vendors are everywhere with acceptable prices. You may only pay $2 for a hot delicious bowl of Pho or $1.5 for a crunchy Vietnamese sandwich (Banh mi). Many people will be surprised that they may pay average $6/day/each person for food in Vietnam, which can help them save their “pockets”.

4. Mekong Delta- Floating markets

Have you ever try to buy or trade something when you are sitting or standing on a small boat at the middle of one of longest rivers in the world? In Vietnam, if you visit Mekong Delta, the southwest area, you will see many beautiful floating markets which are one of the most attractive destinations for tourists. Some locals spend their entire life on floating markets, and their boats have become their houses. What should you want to do when you come there? You should keep your balance first (It’s on the river!), then you can spend time on looking and buying various good stuffs such as fruits, sea food, meats, etc. Especially you can even buy and have a hot bowl of rice noodles soup on a small boat. Chef. Gordon Ramsay used to have that interesting experience when he visited Vietnam for his show named Gordon’s Great Escape. After visiting floating markets, you also can have chance to traditionally sail a boat if you want. (Gordon Ramsay in Vietnam)

5. Caves

Even though Vietnam is a small country, it still has lots of wonders of nature, and one kind of many gorgeous destinations for tourists is grandiose caves. You may think the largest cave of the world should be in a big country like Canada or China, but you will be surprised and impressed that the largest one is at Vietnam, which name is Son Doong. Son Doong Cave is in the heart of the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, which is located in the Quang Binh Province of Central Vietnam. It was discovered firstly by a local person named Ho Khanh in the early of 1990s when he accidentally came there to keep away from the rain. In 2009, Ho Khanh helped the British adventurer, Howard Limbert, to find the way back to the cave which could not be seen on the Google Earth. In the video on the National Geographic Channel published in 2014, it said that a cave is so massive that a Boeing 747 could fly through its largest cavern. There are even a forest and a river inside the cave. As many adventurers said, there was like a new world when you have chance to go inside it. In addition, there are still around other hundreds of small and large beautiful caves in Vietnam such as Dau Go Cave, Sung Sot Cave or Trang An Cave system, etc. (Son Doong Cave: National Geographic)
Cover Image Credit: Flickr (Grace Rodriguez)

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