Are there really lessons you can learn from not traveling? The answer is a resounding “Absolutely!” Of course, when you’re not out there traveling the world, life seems like an endless series of monotony and routines. But it’s not all bad, all the time, as I’ve learned after looking back on the moments when we’ve stayed put. We have learned some pretty solid life lessons from not traveling. And that’s what I’m going to share with you right now.
Not Traveling and Seven Life Lessons We’ve Learned
This article was originally created on April 22, 2016, and updated on January 15, 2018.
My Perceived Problem
The lessons came after I encountered a perceived “problem” that soon turned into an opportunity. When we returned home from living abroad, an old mistake came to the forefront. In a previous life, I was a very different person and led a reckless life. This led to an arrest for a DUI, which I thought was settled back then. I even completed community service and have a clean record, but unfortunately, the DMV side of the case was never resolved. It took some time, which I first saw as a burden.
Not having a license meant I’d be mostly confined to my home, depending on rides from loved ones because we didn’t have a lot of money to support a steady Uber habit. I was crushed, initially. However, I eventually figured out that this was an opportunity, because of these important life lessons from not traveling, at least in the way we were used to getting around.
The Life Lessons
Seek Out the Challenge
Beyond not having a license, I was actually running away from my insecurities of being back in the US. I was also avoiding the wonderful world that surrounded me. Instead of feeling stuck, should’ve embraced the challenge to explore our new home in North Carolina and truly embrace local travel and day trips. I finally realized the first lesson was nothing more than seeking out the challenge of a life without travel.
Love Where You Are
I had a really hard time appreciating where I was in the world, but after much kicking and screaming, I got over myself. I finally understood that it’s okay to love where you are at the present moment. Sure, there are many times when I want to be elsewhere, exploring all the travel destinations that I can. But I have to appreciate and love the place where I am right now (Durham, NC). This may be difficult for you at first, but give it a try. From your present place, you’ll find easier access to happiness and the dream life that you’re working to achieve.
You Can Overcome Anything
Our obstacles of returning home and feeling stuck were easy compared to most people, and you might feel the same way about your own issues. Of course, you may not feel that way now, and that’s the hardest part to overcome. Decide that you’re going to embrace the challenge and overcome it. That’s the first step. And the rest? Well, it will feel like history.
This next part is going to sound crazy. But when a problem presents itself, you first have to be grateful and go at it with a smile. You’re being challenged to lose your cool. This is where you should ignore that urge and say “thank you” to the world for throwing you the hoops that you have to jump through. While you may not notice it at that moment, your gratitude will pay off. Believe me. I’m not perfect, but I treat every situation as one to learn from, and with as much of a smile as I can muster. It works.
Just like I’ve learned from starting a travel blog, patience is crucial or else you’ll lose all hope in very quick fashion. Every day, I see a new instant-success story or an amazing adventure created by someone else. I hate to break it to you but remember this. You’re most likely NOT going to achieve anything overnight. so be patient. You’ll get there in due time.
Life can seem overwhelming and it’s oh so crucial that you step back and take some time for yourself. I love exploring the outdoors in Durham or a good workout, with nothing but my thoughts (or inspirational book I’m listening to) to deal with. Do you have a method of taking a break that doesn’t involve a newsfeed? Taking a break doesn’t just mean taking a breath and relaxing. It helps us disconnect from that need to achieve and fulfill all of those goals staring at us from the finish line.
Remember that Everyone is Traveling
Even though I’ve described lessons learned from not traveling in the physical sense, I still think that we are all traveling through life. Everyone is traveling through life at their own pace. It can mean physically going somewhere, but also when one uses their own imagination. Travel isn’t a race because we’re not racing anyone. There’s no need to compare what you’ve done to others because your journey is just as special as the person next to you.
Our Thoughts and Yours, Too
I’ve learned (and continue to learn) some valuable life lessons from not traveling. Face your situation with gratitude and you’ll stand one step closer to overcoming whatever is put in front of you. For me, deciding that this was an opportunity was just important as the rest of these important life lessons.
What do you think about our lessons from not traveling? We’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section below!
15 thoughts on “Not Traveling and Seven Life Lessons We’ve Learned”
These are great lessons! I’ve been working on Love Where You Are for a while now. I’m originally from the Virgin Islands and have lived in New York City and Southern California, so living in Albany, NY was an adjustment. I found that travel blogging about the Northeast really helped me appreciate the region, and now I’m working on new photography challenges. But I think your most important lessons, and the ones that I struggle with, are to be patient and take breaks. A good life is all about balance, right?
Hi Sandra, thank you so much for your kind and honest response. Patience and taking breaks are huge challenges for me as well. I hope you are able to apply them to your new challenges and look forward to seeing more of your work in the coming days. Thanks again and all the best to your pursuits. -Carl
What an insightful and transparent post. I share your observation that gratitude is an important key to contentment and joy in life; I believe that there is a Person behind all of my circumstances, pleasant and the “challenging” and being thankful helps me to grow and learn from it all. Thanks for sharing your journey, even when that means you are staying put.
Thank you for your kind words. Gratitude is something I’m working on every day. I’m grateful that you stopped by and left such wonderful thoughts. Best of luck in your journey, whether you go far or stay put for any period of time. Best, Carl
Hi,Carl~ I miss you.
You and Christina look so happy in the picture that I can feel like you are here.7 lessons from no travelling could be very useful when I travel.Thanks a lot.I promised Patric and James to go hiking mt Jokye in Suncheon May the 5th,eating steamed barley(보리밥)visiting a very old small temple that was built 1600 years ago. you and I should have gone hiking there when you were here. I ask for understanding on my comment to all commenters as I am not a advaced english student.I will always keep my fingers crossed for everybody.
Very good to hear from you again! I miss you too, my friend. Hopefully you get to go for that hike on Cinco de Mayo (May 5th) and if so, send me a photo or two! Thanks again and I hope to stay in touch.
What an honest and insightful post. Hard to believe that a 10 year mistake has such consequences on your current life – sorry that this has happened to you, though glad you seem to be finding the light! I’ll be honest, I am looking forward to traveling locally at home in the US. After so much constant travel through Asia, exploring your homebase is a blessing and a good way to reconnect with a place you were away from for so long!
Thank you for the kind comment, Katie. Things have cleared up now but yeah, it’s been rough living here without that easy public transport system like Korea had! Anyway, I see you wrote some nice stuff about Asheville, which is high on our recent radar of places to visit. Can’t wait to check that out and in the mean time, I hope to stay in touch! Take care and all the best to you.
Yeah! We shall meet up once I return to the southern USA! Perhaps some hiking and beer drinking in the Blue Ridge Mountains!
I’ve really taken the traveling local thing to heart now that my budget has changed, and it’s so clear to me how easy it is to see new things right in my own backyard. Still, I can’t wait to get back on the road for a longer trip as soon as possible.
You live in an awesome part of the country though, you have to admit:)
However, I agree with you. It’s so easy to find some greatness right outside. We just have to give ourselves a chance (and time) to find it. It doesn’t take too much, I say. Thanks for stopping by, Jeri!
I know it must be a very difficult season for you, but I appreciate your honesty and transparency; it is a rare quality and practice anymore. I do a fair amount of traveling; I’ve had to learn to embrace it as an opportunity to grow and see it as an adventure where my natural personality would be very happy at home, sitting at and easel from morning ’til night with a paintbrush in my hand. With coffee and a bit of food, I could be a very happy camper at my easel for days on end with never even talking to another human being. However, I have come to realize that my art would be much flatter without my broader range of exposure to different people and places.
I think that more people should travel, in general, but not so that they can escape from difficult personal situations. All too often people don’t really comprehend how other people around the world live. Existing (to pay bills) is often a substitute for really living and then we lack compassion for those who have less or who have struggles that we can’t really imagine. I was glad to read your recognition of these things and you gratitude, even in your hard places now. I’m also glad to hear that you have more family support now. “Live alone, die alone” is not a good pathway through the world.
“We, too, have been brought back to the states for a season. First we helped a widowed friend (who’s like the sister I never had) get moved to another state and now we’re helping dear friends (who are really family) in stroke recovery. It’s hard in some ways. We spent 5 months in Sydney last year and even though we didn’t do a great amount of exploration, I really did love it there. “To every thing there is a season…”
There ARE great benefits to local exploration and I’m glad to see that you are making the opportunities to find interesting things to do in your current surroundings. In our own settled period this year, I joined a line dancing exercise group while it was in session. Now that it’s over, I take walks with my camera to shoot local flora and fauna –we are fortunate enough to live in an “Old Florida” environment right now–there are lots of Osprey up in trees and in the sky and there are also lots of tiny, low to the ground wildflowers, so I can stand tall to get good fauna shots and also get to do lots of squats in my photography sessions to get those wildflowers. Our friends also like to enjoy the activities in their small town, so we’ve done weekly Farmer’s Markets, art museums and other local art shows that we probably would never have seen if we hadn’t been here. Staying put for seasons also has its benefits. Enjoy your season, even with its hardships.
I really appreciate your thoughtful and thorough comment here. It seems like you are a true explorer and after reading your stories, it really did lift me up a whole lot! These days have been tough but I’m trying to slowly get back on the path to moving around and traveling, even if locally.
Which part of Florida are you in these days? I haven’t been in years and would love to head back down that way sometime. Going to be in Miami for just a few hours but would love to explore the center and panhandle again!
Travel is not a race Ah! Finally somebody said it. These days, traveling has become some sort of show off badges, that the real meaning of travel has been off. So good to have come across this article 🙂
Hi Deepika, I appreciate your kind words here. Hopefully I don’t stir the pot too much but yeah, I find myself losing the race a lot these days:)
Take care and I hope to hear back from you next time around!