So a lot of people have been asking us how our long term travel has impacted us or in what way it has changed us. Well, here it is…
1. You feel the urge to master a new language
During our travel in Central Asia, we actually picked up a little of Russian and it was really useful and fun! We could shop at the local markets and even continue a basic conversation with the locals! Before we travel to each country, we’ll make an effort to learn the few basics of the local language. Usually it’ll be “Thank you”, “How much?”, “What is your name?”, “How are you?” (usually we’ll get an astonished look, and a reply we don’t understand haha) and some others!
2. You desire to learn to cook
Before this trip, both Daniel and I knew nuts about cooking! In fact, we probably only cooked instant noodles before. But hey, we’ve definitely improved by leaps and bounds (considering that we started at almost zero). We can now cook ‘Gina & Daniel Singapore Style Fried Rice’, pasta, beef stew, cola wings, porridge, soup and more! Not bad huh? Mostly one pot dishes as we had to make do with our limited cooking utensils.
When travelling long term, after awhile you will start to miss your local dishes. Simple thing such as rice, you don’t even have much of that in Central Asia! Their staple is bread! So when we really start to get home sick, we’ll buy some rice from the supermarket and cook our own simple dishes. You’ve no idea how happy we were sinking our teeth in the fragrant steamed grains of rice!
3. You realise your ‘driving skills’ back at home is nothing compared to what is out there
We are all so used to driving in Singapore where we abided by the rules to guide us to safety. But when you’re overseas, it’s a whole new ball game! We had so many near death experiences on the road that we seriously thought a crash was inevitable. But thank god, somehow the driver always managed to swerve swiftly in the nick of time to avoid any accidents.
There was once when we were in a taxi in Iran and the driver seemed drunk and crazy! No joke okay. He blasted loud music in his car, sang and danced happily to the beat with BOTH hands up in the air. And yes, he was our driver! To add on to the drama, it was a cold wet rainy afternoon and we were on a winding road! My heart was beating so fast that I thought if a crash didn’t kill me, a heart attack probably would! I was breaking out in cold sweat and praying out loud that we would be reaching our destination asap in one piece. We were both super relieved when we finally did. PHEW.
4. You learn how far you can push your body
I think the most challenging trek that we’ve done during our 1 year would be trekking on snow in -20 degrees, totally unguided. It was supposed to be an easy trek! Or at least during good weather. But during winter…..lets just say, we really thanked our lucky stars when we finally reached our destination safely! Read our full story here!
5. You become a master at packing your backpack
We usually stay at a place for 3-4 days and then we’re off to explore somewhere new. So when that happens, you learn to become a master at packing your backpack! Our record speed was 10 minutes to pack everything back into our bags!
6. You become more interested in understanding the countries and their history
We always make it a point to do some research and to read up on the country’s history. It makes the experience so much more meaningful and enriching if you know the story behind these ancient civilisations and structures. It’s really cool! Most of the time we travel without a guide and so we have to do our own research to understand what is this place all about. We usually read books about the country beforehand while travelling so that we can fully immerse ourselves with the rich culture of the country when we are there.
7. You experience what genuine kindness is like (faith in humanity restored!)
We had one of the best couchsurfing experience ever with the warmest and kindest family ever in Iran! We really felt very welcomed in their home. Despite the language barrier, we got along very well and had one of the best times of our lives during our 5 days stay with Mosslem and his family. Our host, Mosslem, even took time off his work just to bring us around his city!
8. You see the world in a bigger picture
Travelling will make you realise that the world out there is huge. Everything that happens on this earth is based on cause and effect. We learnt to be less selfish, more forgiving and accept that we are not the center of our universe. Learn to give more, love more and live your life to the fullest every single day.
9. You care more about what matters and less on materialistic wants
Materialistic wants will only bring you happiness to a certain level. There is a deeper reward in gaining travel experiences. Travelling the world taught us to be more humble and to learn what makes us happy. Forget about that Prada bag, we would rather spend that money on travelling anytime!
10. You appreciate your family and loved ones even more
Lastly, needless to say, you learn to cherish your loved ones even more. After not being able to see them for such a long time and feeling grateful for the blessed life your family have provided you with, all you want to do is to give them a huge hug and to thank them for everything that they have done for you. Travelling filled our hearts with gratitude and appreciation.