I am convinced, traveling is the best and the funniest way to improve your core abilities. It doesn’t matter how we are going to call it – skills, expertise, know-how, techniques, competences, mastery, but these are the crucial strengths that determine the career path, abundance and life satisfaction. There is no other school like the world travel with such a talent to shortly develop a large number of essential skills. And all this in a pleasant way, while enjoying the journey, not being stuck in a classroom or annoyed by boring lecturers.
Does it sound appealing? Come on, there is no other answer than YES. I guess, just a few of you visualised the number of skills, able to be improved and developed by travels. Getting better unnoticeably, without making hard efforts is everyone’s dream. If there is a chance for achieving it by just traveling the world, why not to start immediately?! Perhaps some are still in doubt and can’t clearly see how to accomplish the desired improvement.
Here comes my TOP 10 skills list to be improved by travels. The evidences and proofs could be found below. It’s easy and playful to count on travels. Feel free to add more or to suggest other by follow up comments.
I love just sitting somewhere and observing the people passing by. It’s fun while walking, talking by phone, playing in the park or juts drinking cappuccino with some friends. It gives tons of information about right, wrong or neutral ways of life daily behaviour. Sometimes, it makes me embarrassed, sometimes it makes me laugh. Observing reveals the real likes and dislikes. Also helps to define the preferences, to prioritise and to examine the ego. Looking at others’ actions prevents to make the same mistakes and to comply harmful stupidities. Or it could inspire to try forbidden and even impossible things.
As many different types of attitude and habits you face, as much experience you would collect and then adjust it to the personal life. By visiting remote places with unusual inhabitants, enlarges the perspective, diverse more possible solutions, supports decision making, detects limits and freedom. So, don’t be afraid to step out of your daily line. Dare to observe more and beyond, as it proves the ability to evaluate and appraise. That leads to lack of confusion and in addition clarifies the vision for life.
Making a plan for the trip, guides you to prioritise and order. Everything starts with flight and accommodation booking. Looking at the best options, then matching them with your expectations and preferences. How it works? Usually there is a set up budget. Then comes the offers inspection. What follows is to find the best value for money and the final one is to complete the booking. That navigates the journey planning, along with the activities, surrounding that plan. Sometimes it’s worth it to calendar the trip, day by day – where to go, how long to stay, how much to spend, whom to meet, what to ask for. It sounds like a daily routine, to face challenges and to solve life issues.
At the same time, some questions pop up while making the plan. WHAT IF.?.. This is a very supportive question, that leads to a backup plan design, in case something goes wrong with the main one. It means to quickly reorder the priorities and to set the mind ready for a sudden change. When this type of planning, including the back up plan, was trained many times in different trips, it becomes a habit and unnoticeably starts applying to the daily routine. It works, I tested it.
Organisation goes along with the planning. After making a plan, you should find the way to complete it. Here comes the organisation. Which airport to take off from, where to make the connection to the next flight, how long the layover takes, do you have time enough to switch the planes, what transfer to book, if the breakfast is included or not…In addition could be – which sightseeing to visit, where to book a dining at, plus all the activities you would attend on site. It all depends on your organisational skills.
I would recommend firstly to collect as much information as can. Also to interact with the locals, to check the price in advance, to get familiar with the facilities, that would support the organisation. The final step is easy – all wishes should be coordinated with the existing reality. Sounds difficult in the beginning, but every next travel makes it easier and simplifies the procedure.
After some travels, the day comes and you already feel capable of organising everything in your life. From cleaning up the house to a big wedding event, with no fear. It was trained, by organising the trips, making mistakes and learning from. Any other issue seems insignificant, after a long trip, crossing the half world. No doubt, the opportunities, provided by travels, become highly appreciated.
There is nothing wrong to get lost. I adore getting lost, because it guides me to unexpected places and meets me with interesting people. With every next trip the orientation ability gets better and better. The risk of being lost gets reduced. Visiting different countries, cities, crossing oceans, hiking mountains, assures better assumption of location, also the optimal ways and techniques to find and reach any spot on the map.
Detour is not something bad, neither. The traveling coaches how to overcome the obstacles, to avoid blind alleys and difficult terrains. It hints when it’s better to detour than crossing through. It trains to assess the danger and to find the way to bypass it. The outcome is, in the daily routine you prefer to deal with pleasant environment instead of stepping into quick sands.
I vote with two hands for this particular skill improvement. My Middle Eastern travels taught me how to negotiate a bargain, in addition made me more observant. Let me share some stories.
To deal with a seller in the Middle East is kind of a game. I adore that game. Both sides are meant to enjoy it. The negotiations are even required and expected. If the first bid is immediately accepted and the deal closed, the salesman consider you a mediocre customer.
Rule number 1 – Never accept the first offered price. Cut it half and start negotiating from there. My best ever bargain was a travel bag (on the photo right) from camel leather in Tunisia. The start price was 240 Tunisian Dinars. The deal was closed at 40. It took me half an hour, lots of acting, plenty of smiles and hard resistance.
Then in Luxor, Egypt – three alabaster scarabs offered at a price of 150 Egyptian Pounds, but finally were bought for 65. In Marrakech, Morocco handmade tagines (traditional Moroccan pots) were finally negotiated at half price. Meanwhile, I got detailed info about the vendor’s family tree and how my “cruelty” dooms that family to an endless poverty. It’s the usual game.
Rule N 2 – Do not pay much attention to the salesman’s complaints. For example, he would complain about his awful wife, five kids (could be more) and would repeat if he sells the product with discount, all the family will remain clotheless, barefoot and starving. The usual end of this made up story is he would be kicked out of home by a furious wife. The scenario above is just part of the game. Be patient, keep smiling and anytime the vendor doesn’t offer an acceptable discount, just politely mention you would then go to the next store, buying the same item from his neighbour. It always works.
The seller takes you back from the doorstep. He claims the offered price is the best one, designed just for you, because he genuinely likes you. Keep calm and patient, while he performs, try to enjoy the spectacle and to appreciate his acting efforts.
Rule N 3 – As smiling and polite is the salesman, as overrated and high is the price. At the moment he starts losing his temper, becomes nervous and his smile fades, it means you are getting closer to the real price and can shortly close the deal.
Rule N4 – Never be embarrassed to negotiate. I don’t advise to be rude. Don’t be arrogant or offensive, but resist all the tricks and made up stories. I promise you to finally get what you aim, just don’t be shy to ask for a proper discount and to play the negotiation game with a grace and pleasure.
It’s the best and very useful skill – to build bonds with new people, enlarging your circle of friends and potential business contacts. While traveling abroad, you meet plenty of strangers, who live in another world, having often nothing in common with yours. Adding those people to your circle, I consider a fantastic achievement. It enriches your sector of ideas, creativeness and knowledge.
For example, being in Qatar for years, I built great friendships.Those people were from different background, nationalities, religions, skin colour, type of thinking, level of education, manners and etc… I found myself blessed to only pick mates who correspond my current vibe of positivity and curiosity. There is a time in life when we are “omnivore” and inclined to accept everyone who crosses the path. Then we become more selective and reluctant, but that’s for good and is part of the learning process. My unintentionally selective mind tolerated a new circle of people from Australia, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, South Africa, Spain, Philippines, India, UK, Canada…. Now my network of contacts is spread beyond oceans. I can say with hand on my heart, all those fellows taught me a lot and improved my ability to interact and communicate.
Communication is deeply connected with the networking. Traveling to different countries, getting to know different type of nationalities, cultures and habits, is kind of a lesson to better communicate wth others. The travels define your way of communication, depending on the origin, culture and viewpoints. At the same time, it trains your flexibility, adaptation and creativity, because it requires versatility while interacting with quite contrasting people.
I witnessed how even an introvert(a person who tends to turn inward mentally, avoids large groups of people, feeling more energized by time alone), not used to communicate with strangers, step by step opens up, becomes friendlier and turns to an active listener. A not born communicator, becomes eager to ask, discover and explore the others perception of life.
Meeting distinct people, habits and beliefs, challenges your patience as nothing else. When your life habits suddenly encounter opposite ones, could be really stressful. The first reaction is to force “the odd” to accept your way (could be considered rude and even aggressive). The variety of opinions, different environment and weird traditions, “hits” your structured daily routine and shocks you. Then comes the appetite to shorten the distance, to learn more, to understand the opposite side.
You might not understand the language, but it doesn’t mean the person who speaks it is beneath. You may not have information about their rituals, but it doesn’t mean you should belittle it. You could be scared of their way of living, but it doesn’t mean you should underestimate it.
When I was in Sri Lanka some local people asked me how do I know what is good and what is not. No doubt, my determination of good and wrong depends on my culture, background, values and environment. But all those features are different to the different countries. I found myself stuck in a dilemma. I had no clue what is the right answer. I realised I am unable to judge – could be always wrong. This conclusion led me to the idea I should be patient to the diversity.
In Cape Town, South Africa I found the ugliest language ever heard (Afrikaans). It sounds very rude to me, like someone is shouting or roaring non-stop at me. But the people who spoke it, were absolutely adorable and I built friendships in there.
In the Middle East most of the traditions and rituals are based on the Islamic religion. No one forces you to understand or follow them, but it’s required to respect them, while on site. It really tests your patience, it doesn’t matter if you like it or not.
On Bali island, Indonesia, is full of Australian tourists (about 80% of all visitors). They are usually noisy and drunk, also lack of manners is expected, but it’s their vision for a well spent holiday. Such behaviour examines your patience, as you are unable to change anything.
The easiest to be improved and achieved through travels skill. Generally we are incline to judge the others, by dividing them in groups and branding them. The devision could be white or black, christian or muslim, rich or poor, educated or ignorant….etc. The travel is the best cure for getting rid of this suicidal habit to classify by origin, skin colour, religious belief or lack of education.
If you thought a particular skin colour, religion or sophisticated education is better, just think again. Go to Rwanda and meet the people who survived the genocide in 1994. Then millions were killed because of their non-identical nose measurement (a ridiculous reason). Get closer to the apartheid history of South Africa, the humiliation and pain to understand the anger and the bitterness of the natives.
Pass through the Middle East to see the most amazing architectural structures, built by completely limitless minds. As East further you move, as humble relations become. A lot of poor or far no solvent, but smiling, calm and happy people could be met. Does it make you confused? No, it trains your tolerance. Just travel, meet, observe, chat, analyse to finally realise how lucky you are and how valuable the simple things are.
Just check on the all nine skills above. If you possess all of them, well developed and applied to life, sure it leads to your 10th one – self-confidence. Not so many people managed to develop all those mentioned abilities. Time to recall what was already achieved by travels. Maybe you have already flown many times by plane, crossed the planet, saw unbelievable places, met remarkable people, collected unexpected information at unusual events, learnt new incredible stuff. Meanwhile, you improved your core skills, which gives you a life advantage, makes it easier and better. Well…self-confidence is absolutely required in this case and you accomplished it without even noticing, just struggling, enjoying or completing your world trips. An important lesson, learnt while having fun.
Congratulations! You just hit the target, achieving the improvement and development of 10 core skills by traveling the world. 🙂