155 Lessons I Learned Traveling In Asia

A few months ago, I started a list on my phone of random things that I have learned on this trip… and then it grew and grew! The list includes travel advice as well as self-discoveries. I went back and forth, debating if I wanted to post this list on my blog because there are some personal things included. But, I’ve been candid so far, so why stop now? Another thing: I have not edited this list at all! As soon as something popped into my head, I wrote it down, so the list is in a strange order, but I decided not to edit or change anything. It’s as authentic as it gets. 

  1. I talk too much 
  2. Americans aren’t the best travelers… In fact, I don’t really like them
  3. Germans rock 
  4. British girls party hard 
  5. When you don’t know how to feel about a situation, feel suspicious 
  6. Talk to the locals every chance you can 
  7. Kids are the same everywhere
  8. Tourist have a lot of power… too much power?
  9. Add at least two hours onto the estimate time it takes to get anywhere 
  10. Vietnam flights will always be delayed at least once 
  11. If you have to guess the wifi password guess 1-9, it’s right 80% of the time 
  12. Backpackers are the coolest people in the world 
  13. You are never too young or too old to be an explorer 
  14. Planning more than three days in advance is excessive 
  15. I’m a realistic optimist
  16. Even pale girls can tan if you’re in the tropics long enough 
  17. Podcasts are a great way to fill travel days 
  18. I like cities and towns a lot more than beaches 
  19. In general, strangers aren’t dangerous 
  20. The world is a small place (too big to explore it all, small enough to try)
  21. My relationships and friendships affect me more than I thought 
  22. Cyclones move slowly 
  23. The world is obsessed with American politics
  24. Europeans are afraid of what’s happening in American (i.e. Trump) 
  25. People think Americans are lazy because we drive everywhere and crazy because you “can buy a gun at Walmart” (heard that one a lot) 
  26. I never drink enough water 
  27. I want to be in love 
  28. I’m really proud of myself 
  29. Stray cows don’t give a shit about which way traffic is going 
  30. There’s an app for everything 
  31. Karma is real 
  32. I don’t fulfill the typical American stereotype- which I’m happy about! 
  33. Leave your passport in the hostel 
  34. If you leave your toiletries in the bathroom they will be stolen
  35. I don’t need a man. No really, I’m fine  
  36. My comfort zone is a lot bigger than I thought 
  37. I’m a shitty swimmer 
  38. In Southeast Asia I’m a size medium 
  39. If you go night swimming always go in pairs 
  40. If you go naked night swimming someone will steal your clothes if you leave it on the beach 
  41. The best way to fly through your money is by drinking
  42. The best way to end up in a hospital is to rent a motorbike 
  43. You can transport anything from live cattle to desks on the back of a motorbike 
  44. Little kids are extremely coddled in the states 
  45. I will feed into gossip and drama if I’m around that- if I’m not, I’m better off 
  46. Traveling with men is always harder 
  47. If you buy something, get rid of something – backpack real estate is crucial! 
  48. Flakey people suck 
  49. I need to stop complaining about the little things 
  50. Speaking English natively is a major life advantage 
  51. I should learn another language 
  52. Try to learn a little of the language in the country you travel to, it’s very appreciated 
  53. A lot of fears I had were only in my head 
  54. Travel is the best education, medication, and adventure 
  55. This is not a break from real life, this is real life 
  56. I’m fiercely independent 
  57. Eat at restaurants that are flooded with locals – it’s always worth the wait 
  58. Everyone likes a smile 
  59. A sarong is the best to bring on a bus and flight 
  60. Travel with a lot of underwear 
  61.  I have a type 
  62. Travel will always be a priority in my life 
  63. Writing my stories and thoughts have affected a lot more people than I thought it would 
  64. I can survive just fine being unplugged
  65. I care about Instagram too much 
  66. I’m not high maintenance  
  67. The lines on the road are just a suggestion in a lot of Asian countries  
  68. I love what I studied in school
  69. I’m so happy I did this trip after graduating!
  70. I was SO ready to leave college
  71. Reading is better than tv 
  72. Elephants are as amazing as I could have hoped 
  73. Ignorance is not bliss
  74. I will never be satisfied with going through the motions 
  75. Always ask why,even if you don’t want to know the answer… Scratch that! Especially if you don’t want to know the answer 
  76. Travel is easy if you let it be, it’s hard if you let it be 
  77. It’s okay to have lazy days 
  78. Spend more time listening than waiting to speak 
  79. Rolling with the punches results in the best experiences 
  80. We all pretty much want and need the same things 
  81. Everything is connected
  82. I’m hard on my pasted self 
  83. My body is a lot stronger than I thought and can endure more than I thought 
  84. I should take care of my body better 
  85. Always shower after wearing deet
  86. Always bargain, start with 40% off
  87. Always double check that you have your passport before you leave for a new destination 
  88. People are more interesting abroad 
  89. Meeting people is the easiest part of traveling solo 
  90. I am a perfect blend of my parents 
  91. As Linda Jum said, “Never settle for comfortable”
  92. People are more genuine than you think 
  93. Don’t do things that make you unhappy
  94. Don’t do something just because Lonely Planet tells you you have to 
  95. Lonely Planet is a traveler’s bible 
  96. There’s always a silver lining 
  97. Walk around a new city aimlessly 
  98. Canadians are really nice 
  99. A little kindness goes a long way
  100. Be patient with people who are just starting to travel 
  101. People are eager to be inspired- be that inspiration 
  102. Food sickness strikes at the worst time 
  103. The ocean air can fix a lot 
  104. Bring a pair of sock on a night bus 
  105. AC is a double edge sword 
  106. Haggle hard with taxi drivers. Haggle lightly with artists. Those $2-3 don’t really affect you, but matters a lot to them
  107. Volunteering is a great way to say thank you for an amazing experience 
  108. Holiday romances should stay just that 
  109. I want to positively affect the world
  110. I have an amazing support system at home 
  111. Be an advocate for the things you believe in, in the biggest way you can! 
  112. Get educated on the places you travel and the people you met
  113. Dessert can be breakfast
  114. If you find a great local restaurant, tell everyone! It just might change the life of a local shop owner
  115. Everyone loves to talk about themselves
  116. Be bold
  117. Be curious
  118. Karaoke is taken seriously in Asia, it’s an important pastime 
  119. You can be half sleeve packs of Oreos everywhere in Asia 
  120. Music videos are all very dramatic here, and have the same plot: happy couple, man cheats, girlfriend hits and punches mistress but first slowly poisons her, girlfriend reclaims her man, mistress is unhappy 
  121. Women globally are insecure about their bodies
  122. Bugs don’t bother me as much as I thought they did (except cockroaches, FUCK cockroaches) 
  123. Crossing the street is very scary in Vietnam 
  124. Every country has a cheap local food option, you just have to find it
  125. Street markets are the best
  126. There are a lot of old white ex pats that come to Asia to find young (I mean young) brides
  127. When you go to a book store, the English books there will fall into 3 categories: books that have been made into movies (twilight, fault in our stars, etc), cheesy love books (Bridget Jones Diary), and self help books 
  128. To stay motivated I need to stay inspired 
  129. The people around me affect me/rub off of on me more than I thought 
  130. I struggle with the follow through 
  131. Being alone isn’t scary
  132. What I watch affects my psyche 
  133. It’s better to be lucky than smart… But if you’re unlucky, you better be smart 
  134. Have the updated public transportation on a printed map 
  135. Judgement can ruin an experience 
  136. Want to know what the future looks like? Go to Singapore.
  137. Always offer to take the photo of a couple taking a selfie 
  138. Always have tissues in your purse 
  139. Maps.me is the best app ever for travelers 
  140. Buy the dessert 
  141. Don’t feel sorry for yourself, it’s a waste of time 
  142. Sometimes things get stolen
  143. You’re allowed to be sad about material things… but only for a little bit of time
  144. Practicing mindfulness can be very difficult
  145. I want to foster and explore my spirituality more
  146. A cute dog always makes a tough situation better
  147. A postcard can make your loved ones very happy
  148. Family means everything
  149. The new friends you meet later in life can mean more than a relationship you’ve had for years
  150. Jealousy is an ugly reflection of your own securities
  151. Indonesian guys want to settle down with anyone
  152. A little bit of germs won’t hurt you
  153. Bali belly is real… and it’s horrible
  154. The freedom you feel riding a motorbike through the jungle is liberating
  155. To be the best version of myself, I need to continue traveling
TravelBernadette Hopen