101 things I learned traveling this year — part 1

Discoveries, aphorisms and eternal life truths I learned to live by

Travelpack and me :)

Throughout the beginning of 2016 I had the privilege of travelling throughout 8 different countries in South East Asia over a span of 5 months.

…here are the deepest, darkest secrets of my journey

…just kidding…

But I learned things along the way I thought would be interesting to share. Some are specific to travel whereas others more applicable to everyday life. Some are self-proclaimed philosophical “mic-drops” whereas others are more light-hearted.

Here are the first 50 — enjoy!


  1. Travelling slows the mind and quickens the heart. It eases the anxiety and adds meaning to the simpler moments.

2. Never discount the little things. It’s exactly those things that’ll bring back the biggest laughs and the fondest memories.

3. I don’t believe in strangers, just friends I haven’t made yet.

4. The rule when traveling to Pai, Thailand. However many days you plan to stay, double that because it’s gonna end up being another week on top of that.

5. If you have the capacity to help someone you should. It’s the most generous thing you can do to go out of your way to make someone’s life/experience better. And I truly believe the world has a way of returning the favor down the line.

6. The best experiences won’t cost you anything.

7. The best highs are when you’re sober.

8. Travel teaches patience and how to chill out. Sure you might start out apprehensive about every move you’re making (and so was I), but eventually you build the confidence go with the flow and I’d even go as far as saying you start to crave uncertainty.

9. Live in the present.

10. Traveling builds self-confidence (even in those that consider themselves very confident to begin with).

11. You don’t travel to see the world you travel to see yourself.

12. Book a hostel for only one night then rebook if you like it or move to another one if it’s not really your vibe.

13. If the temple doesn’t have at least 300 stairs to get there it’s not worth your time.

14. The experience is half the places you go half the people you share those places with. A shitty place can be salvaged when in good company but less is true of the reverse.

15. Personal preference: driving through the mountain side >>> laying on the beach.

16. The butterfly effect is real.

17. You’ll make deeper connections with some people you’ve known for 2 hours than some people you’ve known for 2 years.

18. The places you travel to are just a setting in which you build connections with people you meet.

19. It’s useless to pity yourself.

20. Save where you can so you can splurge without regret when you need to.

21. A trip isn’t encompassed in any one photo but in the countless moments that made you smile, laugh, put you in awe and made you appreciate your life and others around you.

22. Make your own fun.

23. Personal realization: I have a natural knack for getting people together.

24. Your health is your number one priority but don’t let that stop you from being adventurous. Just be calculated in the risks you take. Getting on the back of a scooter with a decent driver is okay, racing against your friend through busy streets isn’t.

25. Walking is the best way to take in and get a vibe for a new (and even familiar) place. If where you need to go is close, walk it. Save money, be healthy and really get to know a place. Win, win, win!

26. Some of the best conversations I had were during the most mundane situations.

27. Experience both sides to travelling. Travel fast and just scratch the surface of a lot of places then slow down and understand a single town deeply.

28. You aren’t true friends with someone unless you can openly talk about your bowel movements.

29. Be yourself, and own the shit out of it.

30. If you’re not a little scared you’re not living.

31. Embrace the unexpected.

32. Sometimes you don’t get the experience you wanted but the experience you needed.

33. Life exists outside your cellphone screen (exceptions: snapchat and Instagram)

34. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and your values no matter what.

35. You don’t really need to shower as much as you think.

36. Bring your student card with you (even if you’re graduated) when you travel to save big bucks on things that offer student pricing.

37. The best souvenirs are the friends you make, the pictures you take and the stories you’ve lived.

38. Bring those that matter to you on the trip with you. Calling your family and friends is nice but try facetiming them when you’re hiking a volcano at sunrise for example. They’ll really appreciate you sharing the experience with them.

39. Travel alone. Of course it’s a little daunting at first but it’s well worth it once you get over the “but I’m worried about being lonely” part. Going at it alone you’re much more likely to engage and get to know more people and you still retain the flexibility to move at whatever pace you like and see/eat/do whatever you like without having to comprise.

40. Take the initiative to introduce yourself, ask what peoples names are and then actually remember and use them.

41. Experience is the best teacher.

42. Laugh off your mistakes and loses, sulk for a bit but always move on.

43. Get dirty.

44. Communication truly is 90% body language.

45. After days of blazing through different places, meeting countless people and seeing so many different sights you tend to disconnect from your surroundings and the amazing things you have the privilege of experiencing lose their meaning. Make sure to take the time to slow down and recharge so that you can go back to appreciating each moment to the fullest.

46. Getting sick/injured while travelling is the worst. Don’t be foolish on a scooter and try taking at least one day off a week from drinking so you don’t get sick. Your health is the most important. It’s unfortunate that many people (including myself) only realize this once they lose it (see #41).

47. Learn how to play Shithead and teach everyone you chill with (on that note travelling with a deck of cards never hurts).

48. Life isn’t always about winning, but it is about not being a shithead (see #47)

49. Don’t over plan. Some of my most memorable days came about from picking a direction and just going.

50. Recommendations are great but everyone’s preference and likes are different. Some of the best recommendations I received from good friends I liked the least.


Check out part 2 here!


Thanks for taking a read. I hope you resonated with certain parts and found the rest somewhat insightful. I will be posting part #2 next week. Until then feel free to follow me on twitter @anujchaman or instagram @rods_and_cones. I write about all things insightful and funny(hopefully) as well as showcase my personal photography.

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