27 Life Lessons Learned in My One Year of Travel

It’s been a year now since I left home in the US. 2011 was a big year! It was the year I quit my job and embarked on my biggest adventure.

As I celebrate my 1 year travel anniversary today, I share here some of the important life lessons I learned: from the planning stages of my trip until my actual trip; from my very own experiences to the people that inspire me and the people that I met in my travels. I am a solo traveler but I’m rarely alone. I am incredibly grateful for the wonderful people who shared my journey and made my year of travel extra special. The people I meet, the lessons I learn, and who I have become as a person after these experiences are the main reasons why I travel.Anna in Kuta

1. The normal life is so overrated. Who says you have to live like everybody else?

2. The world is meant to be discovered and experienced, not only to be read.

3. You can achieve whatever it is that you set your mind to do but hard work is mandatory.

4. Materialism breeds discontent. Avoid debt at all cost. The secret to happiness is having less.

5. You really don’t need a lot to be happy. The great things in life are free (or if in Asia, can often be negotiated).

6. If you’re not doing one thing a day that scares you, you are not really living.


7. Learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable is strength training in life.

8. Don’t follow the majority. Most of them have no idea where they’re going in life either.

9. You are a special person and you don’t have to be like everybody else. Embrace your uniqueness.

10. Give up your excuses but never your dreams.

11. Someday is a myth. Set goals and don’t defer life to the future.

12. Treat the world as your classroom. Mistakes and life experiences are the best teachers.

13. If you believe the world is out to do you good, it will. Open your heart to the world and the world opens itself to you.


14. The hardest part of this whole traveling thing is the decision making part. Sometimes all you have to do is just set a date, pack the essentials and go. You will figure out the rest along the way.

15. Traveling light is the best kept secret of happy travelers. Owning less stuff is the best kept secret of happy people.

16. When in doubt your instinct is your most powerful weapon. Most especially if you’re a woman.

17. Don’t forget to take the time to slow down and enjoy life. That’s what sunsets are for.


18. The grass is never greener on the other side. The grass is greener where you water it. Love what you have and care not for what you don’t have.

19. Mediocrity is unacceptable. Don’t settle with anything or anybody who doesn’t help you become the best version of yourself.

20. Staying positive in any situation can make a bad experience one of the memorable ones. It will teach you valuable lessons. Smile and say no to wrinkles.


21. Change is inevitable. The best travel experiences are those that happen when you find yourself on an unexpected turn. The bad events can be the luckiest ones with just a change of mindset.

22. Good girls go to heaven. Badass chicks go everywhere.


23. There are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet.

24. People too weak to follow their dreams will always find ways to discourage you with yours. Ignore them.

25. You are capable of doing bigger things. Yes, you are more than you think you are.

26. Learn to acknowledge your fear but never let it stop you. The world needs more people who have come alive. 

Sand Dunes

And most importantly:

27. Go live the life you dream about. Live life passionately.

Remember One life baby! ONE LIFE!

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31 Responses to “27 Life Lessons Learned in My One Year of Travel”

  1. June 1, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

    hon, this is the best post you’ve written. i especially love points 5, 6, 10 and 22!! love and miss you my traveling soul sister. xXx

    • June 2, 2012 at 11:07 am #

      Thanks so much for the sweet message hon. Love and miss you too! I’ll see you soon xxx

  2. June 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    Holy cow, that sunset is F’ing beautiful

    PS: I totally second — and third, and fourth — your minimalist approach to life. That’s truly the secret to happiness.

    • June 3, 2012 at 9:24 am #

      That sunset was an iPhone shot. Amazing right?

  3. Marja
    June 2, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    Really awesome post Anna! You inspire me a lot to become a real minimalist! Why don’t you come over my place and help me re-pack my luggage ;-)

    • June 3, 2012 at 9:25 am #

      It was lovely bumping into you yesterday! I had so much fun! OK why not but I am charging for my packing services. $100 per hour but since you’re my friend I’m giving you 10% discount. ;p See you Marja! :)

  4. Lady May
    June 2, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    Nos. 4, 7,8 and 18 struck me… love the post.. =)

    • June 3, 2012 at 9:26 am #

      Thanks Lady May! :)

  5. Amanda Purdy
    June 2, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

    Anna, you are awesome girl!

    Randomly came across your site from a Facebook friend and i was instantly captivated !
    Your 27 lessons put a smile on my face, love them

    Going to continue exploring, but thought I’d send a little love from Canada

    • June 3, 2012 at 9:27 am #

      Miss Amanda, that was really sweet of you. Thank you. Sure did make my day. Warm wishes from the Philippines! :)

  6. June 3, 2012 at 1:02 am #

    Found your blog via mutual friend on Facebook. I also celebrated a year of travel back in March and I agree with so many of these points. It’s important to remember these things for a better and happier life and I think you put these points in a very simple and accurate way. Good luck with your travels.

    • June 3, 2012 at 9:28 am #

      Thank you Dustin!

  7. Jill Amores
    June 3, 2012 at 2:18 am #

    Good girls go to heaven. Badass girls go everywhere.

    • June 3, 2012 at 9:29 am #

      You knew I always had that don’t you? ;p When I come back to Thailand, let’s do Tonsai ok? Miss you Jilly! x

  8. Wing
    June 3, 2012 at 3:38 am #

    Hi sweet!
    Beautiful written! And so true! Be very proud that you fulfilled your one year
    Journey!! Keep on travelling and make your dreams come true! <3

    • June 3, 2012 at 9:30 am #

      Wing! Thank you! You’ll always be a special part of my first year. From our time in Bandung all the way to Phi Phi. Miss you and hope to see you again soon. Amsterdam perhaps? x

  9. June 3, 2012 at 4:27 am #

    Awesome post.

    I had to do a double take with the tiger picture! How did that happen?

    • June 3, 2012 at 9:31 am #

      Thanks Will! I think the tiger is also vegetarian. ;)

  10. jan
    June 6, 2012 at 11:18 pm #

    Wow, awesomeness! Your words were simply inspiring! :)

  11. Shirley
    June 7, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    great lessons Anna! i totally agree :) happy travels!!!

  12. Adrien Zafiropoulos
    June 11, 2012 at 3:30 pm #

    Fantastic, i agree with your word, especially the 18 for me :)
    I am happy to have meeting you, i hope to see you soon in the US,
    i’ll try to apply your life lessons.

    see you soon



    • June 11, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

      Merci Beaucoup Adrien! It was so nice meeting you as well. Looking forward to seeing you guys in New York soon!! x

      p.s. remember the sunset shot? :)

      • Adrien Zafiropoulos
        June 11, 2012 at 11:32 pm #

        ahah :) of course, koh Lantah sunset :)

  13. Bee
    June 12, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    Girl, I’m so proud of you!

    • June 12, 2012 at 9:07 am #

      Thank you Ate. <3

  14. June 14, 2012 at 1:13 am #

    Good points. My favorite- The normal life is so overrated. Who says you have to live like everybody else?

  15. Joey
    June 15, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

    I’m so proud of you, B.. This post made me smile.. Stay anna-mazing! :)
    *kisses from Sg*

    • July 6, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

      Thanks S! So happy to see you again in Sg. Hugs from Switz! :)

  16. Cathets
    July 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    ♡ this post Anna! Cheers to more travels in the future :)

    • July 5, 2012 at 3:11 am #

      Thank you Cathets! :)

  17. Josie
    October 29, 2012 at 5:27 am #

    I love this! Really inspiring – thank you Anna! xx