50 Lessons I’ve Learned from 50 Countries

I just got back from a 3 week trip to Taipei, Bali and Sydney.   It was one of the best trips I’ve ever taken! My visit to Australia marked the 50th country and 4th continent that I’ve been to thus far on my journey.

I just turned 23 and I achieved 2 lifelong goals during my vacation.  First, I filled out every single page in my passport.  Second, I visited 50 countries before I turned 25 years old.

Life has been so amazing in the last 3 years that I just can’t stop doing what I’ve been doing.  Since I studied abroad in Prague in 2012, I’ve explored 43 Countries and I feel like the party is just getting started.

Looking back since 2012, I have grown and matured in more ways than I ever imagined.  In my mind, traveling and experiencing new cultures is the best education possible.  It has taught me about the world, how to interact with others, but most importantly, about myself and who I truly am.

With that being said, here is my list of “50 lessons that I’ve learned from the traveling to 50 Countries.”  Please comment below with your thoughts! I hope you enjoy 🙂

1. You’ll make incredible friends

Meeting new people is my #1 favorite thing about traveling.  I have made some amazing friends spanning over 40 countries and 6 continents.   I’ve cherished every single friendship and fun memories that I’ve shared with these new people.  Having interactions with people from different cultures is what shapes me as a person.  And much thanks to Facebook, I can easily stay in touch with my new friends.

2. Traveling is easier than you think

Seriously. Get rid of all your negative thoughts and stop procrastinating.  It takes me no longer than 5 minutes to book a flight, and airplane tickets are more affordable right now than I’ve ever seen.   I’m tired of hearing excuses for why you can’t travel, because you have no one to blame but yourself!  The world becomes more and more connected everyday, and traveling has never been easier than right now.

3. Always go on a new adventure

Although every new territory I discover is a “new adventure,” I am specifically talking about doing something that is extreme- something that required me to step out of my comfort zone.   My best experiences on the road are bungee jumping in Switzerland, Hitchhiking in Bosnia and exploring Christiania.  Going on adventures like these is where my best stories and memories come from.

4. Overcome your fears

Are you scared of heights?  Go skydiving.
Are you scared of the dark?  Explore a new city at night
Are you scared of boats?  Take a cruise somewhere

It’s as simple as that.  Traveling gives you the opportunity to overcome your fears and carry on as a more confident person.

5. Life is all about the memories, so create them.

My advice to you is to take a million pictures, film lots of videos, and do as many things as you can.  Because these memories are the most important things that you will have forever when you’re older.  When I am older, I can’t wait to look back at all the fun times and experiences that I have had around the world.

6. Don’t be too cheap

I have seen too many people who will do anything to save an extra dollar on a hostel or an extra quarter on a food dish.  Sure, you are traveling on a budget (everyone is), but 99% of the time it’s worth it to spend an extra few dollars on a nicer hostel room or a better meal so you won’t get food poisoning.  An extra dollar goes a long way.  Trust me on this one.

7. Relax a bit

Many times I force myself to do too much.  With my fast-paced travel style, I am always on the go because I want to make the most of my limited time.  But time and time again, I’ve realized that it’s so necessary to take a break and relax when you can.  Even if it’s for an afternoon at the park or for a few hours on the beach.  It’s a great way to recover from the lack of rest that your body needs!

8. Learn how to speak more languages

Wow, I cannot stress the importance of this one!  Being able to communicate with locals is one of the most rewarding feelings that I can get.  When I lived in Prague, I studied the Czech language everyday and I was able to communicate my way around town.  I could strike up a conversation with anyone, order in a restaurant, get home in a taxi, etc.  It felt rewarding.

These days, I am conversational in Korean after only living here for 1 year.   I have put the time and effort into learning Korean, and my experience here wouldn’t have been the same if I couldn’t speak the language.

If you don’t have time to study the local language, then at least memorize the Top 10 Words so you can get the basics down.  People really appreciate it when you can simply say “please” and “thank you” in their language.

9.  99% of local people are good people

If you remember one thing from this blog post, then please remember this one.   99% of all the locals that I have met around the world are kind, friendly and warming.  People go out of their way to welcome me into their country.  They help me when I am lost.  They recommend their favorite food place to eat.  They genuinely want to get to know me and want me to experience their culture.   And more than likely, the person will gladly show you around their town! It’s awesome.

Hanging out in the Bali Rice Fields Hanging out in the Bali Rice Fields

10. Most joy comes from the simplest moments

It’s true.  Some of my best travel memories are just that simple like:
– Sitting on top of Sri Pada mountain in Sri Lanka and gazing out at the landscape during sunrise
– Hanging out at the King’s Garden in Copenhagen and watching the locals interact with each other on a beautiful summer day
– Sitting on a bench in Old Town Square in Prague, all by myself, taking in the precious scenery
– Laying a hammock overlooking the entire island of Koh Samui, Thailand
– Being stunned by the beauty of the fjords in Norway from the boat tour.  I couldn’t blink it was so amazing.

Sometimes, it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to create amazing memories.

10. You don’t need to pack a large wardrobe

When I first started to travel, I packed my backpack full with unnecessary things like extra underwear, socks, shirts that I never wore, and stupid accessories.  It’s all nonsense!

After going on several backpacking trips, I’ve learned to pack super light.  If I forgot something, then I can just buy it wherever I am.  I learned to wash my underwear and socks in the sink, wear dry-fit shirts (because they are easy to wash and dry fast) and buy toothpaste on the road.  It’s SO much easier, and my backpack is so much lighter.

On my recent 3 week backpacking trip, I packed enough clothes for only 1 week.  Did I survive?  Hell yeah I did.

11. Sometimes, a smile is all you need

One of my favorite quotes is, “Everybody smiles in the same language.”  And it’s SO true!  Most of the time, I cannot speak the local language other then a few words or a basic “please” or “thank you,” so I just smile.  I smile as big as I can, and almost everyone reciprocates it back to me.

Basically what I am saying is that, if you are friendly, others will treat you with respect.  It’s a pretty easy theory  to understand, and it’s proven to work every single time.

12. Don’t overplan

This is another thing that I was guilty of when I first started planning trips.  I would do hours of research online to find the exact places to eat, to sleep, to visit, and more.  It’s just a waste of time.

Nothing is going to be easier to figure out until you are physically in the place yourself.  When you are at your destination, you can easily talk to the locals, ask your hostel and get a map and figure it out for yourself.  In fact, it’s actually fun to land in a foreign city and try to figure it out for yourself.  It’s like a puzzle.  You learn to go with the flow, and that’s really the best way to do it.

13. Everyone wants the same thing

All people, no matter where they are from, generally want the same things.  Everyone wants to be loved, they want to spend time with their family, they have hopes and dreams just like you do, and they hope for a better future.  We have the same basic desires- but most of the time, we are much more fortunate then others.  It’s easy to relate to people if you look past the superficial things that stand between you and them.  

14. It’s now or never

I love this sentence.  The only thing that is relevant in your life is NOW.  Don’t wait for tomorrow.  The only place where life exists is in the present, so do what you want to be doing!

15. Traveling is the #1 best education that I’ve had

I can’t stress this enough.  I’ve learned more from traveling than any college textbook, National Geographic documentary or Vice video has taught me.  Being in a place and seeing the reality of it with my own two eyes has taught me so many things that I never knew.  Before going to Rome, I didn’t know much about the Roman Empire or the Colosseum, but now I can write you a novel about it.  Before I came to Korea, I had no idea what Korean culture was like, and now Korean culture is in my veins.

Furthermore, I have discovered things that I never knew existed-  Like Magellan’s Cross in Cebu City, or some beautiful beach towns along the West Coast of Sri Lanka. You just gotta get out there, and let life take you along the journey.

16. Don’t be jealous of anyone

Who cares if your friend is becoming the CEO of a fortune 500 company.  Who cares if your cousin has made a million dollars at his investment baking job. Who cares if your buddy won the lottery and is now trekking around Antarctica. Why would you let it affect you?  You do what you want to do, and whatever makes you happy.  Enough said.

17. Don’t watch too much TV

Do you want to be antisocial?  If you answered yes, then watch all the TV you want!

To me, watching TV is just a distraction.  I don’t watch a minute of TV unless it’s a big sporting event or an occasional movie.   I just find watching TV a waste of time.  I’d rather spend my time getting outside, exploring something or going on an adventure of some sort.  Okay, maybe I am taking this to the extreme… But the point is to watch less TV because it’s usually wasting your time.

18. Outdoor activities are amazing

I wasn’t always the most outdoorsy person until I started traveling.  It didn’t take me long to realize that nature is the coolest thing that exists. Period.

Some of my favorite things to do when traveling are hiking, cliff jumping, snorkeling, bike riding, kayaking and swimming.  Even just sitting in a beautiful park and having a picnic with my friends is so much fun.  Basically, I try to do as many outdoor activities as possible.  It is a great way to appreciate nature, get a taste of the local environment and appreciate life on earth.

19. Step out of your comfort zone

This is so important to me, that I have written an entire blog post dedicated to this.  And it goes along with many of the themes that I’ve already talked about in this post.

Step out of your comfort zone.

This can mean many things to different people, but to me, it means approaching random strangers and asking them questions, doing an extreme sport like bungee jumping, and exploring that abandoned building.  It’s the only way to live life.  Be alive.  Be active.  And take advantage of these incredible opportunities that you may only have one time to accomplish!

Bungee Jump in Switzerland

20. It’s good to make mistakes!

The best way to learn is to make mistakes.  Fail once, fail twice, and then figure out how to succeed the third time.

For example, one of the biggest travel mistakes that I made was showing up late to my flight in Serbia because I misread the departure time.  I showed up to the airport 15 minutes before my flight, and somehow made it after a LOT of stress.  You can read more about that story here.  I learned my lesson to never show up late for a flight again.

21. Always check in with your family

Some of you might not realize it, but your family cares about you a lot.  I know mine does!

I always make it a point to contact my parents, just to tell them that I am safe when I am in a new destination.  Whether it be a Facebook message, a text, an email or a skype phone call, I always try to keep them aware that I am alive and well.  This is very important to me, and I hope it is to you too.

22. Stop trying to impress people

Nobody likes to hear from people who have big egos.  If you are just meeting someone for the first time, there is no need to show off and brag to them about how “accomplished” you are.

I am saying this only because I’ve met some other foreigners, who are arrogant assholes.  Nobody likes you, bro.

23. Mingling with foreigners is also fun

Traveling is not only about meeting locals and experiencing local culture.  There are also lots of foreigners that I’ve met in hostels and other places that have become my good friends!  It’s fun and it also forces me to step out of my comfort zone.  I can think of about a dozen quality friendships off the top of my mind that I have made on the road.

Try it the next time you walk into a hostel or a foreign bar.  All it takes is a smile and a friendly “hello.”

24. Wear sunscreen

This might not apply to everyone, if you aren’t a ginger or as fair toned as I am.  But, I have learned my lesson.  WEAR SUNSCREEN!

I don’t know if Asian sun is stronger than American sun, but I have gotten burnt to a crisp lately on some of the beaches in Asia.  Literally fried.  Now, I always carry sunscreen with me and put extra on when I go to the beach.  Because it just takes one sunburn to ruin your trip (trust me, it’s happened to me).

25. Go the extra mile

There is no such thing as too much.

If there are 10 things that you want to accomplish in one day, then try to accomplish 11.  Why not explore that town that is 20 kilometers away from the city center? Who cares if it’s a bit dangerous to get there! When else are you going to have the chance to see it?  Go the extra mile and do it.

26. Eat it, even if you don’t like it

You should really open up your eating habits and try everything.  Even if you are a vegetarian, a vegan or your have allergies, then there are still ways that you can explore some new food items.  But for everyone else who isn’t a picky eater, then you must realize that eating is the best part about traveling!  Try local foods that you can’t get anywhere else in the world.  Even if you don’t like it, then you at least know what the locals enjoy eating.  And I think you’ll be surprised by the delicious foods that you’ll discover on the road 😉

27. Have courage

In Webster’s dictionary, courage is defined as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.”

To me, “Mental strength” is the key part to this definition.  You can do anything you want.  It’s all inside your head.  Set your mind on something, and just do it.  It might be challenging at first, but it comes easier with experience.

28. Have respect for other religions

This should go without saying.  Always remember that you are a visitor in their country.  Therefore, you must respect their customs, values and religion.  If you need to protect your head in a temple, then protect your head.  If they require you to take off your shoes, then take them off.  Don’t even think twice about it.

29. Use a city map

iPhones aren’t always the only way to navigate around- and something you don’t want to be flashing it in public places.  How about getting your hands on a physical map and figuring out how to get around town?  Most likely, the map will also have good suggestions and recommendations for things to do around town.

Side note: I hate looking like a tourist and whipping out a giant map in public spaces.  So, I usually fold up the map as small as I can so only the important places are showing, and use it without causing a scene.

30. Blend in with the locals

One of the easiest ways to draw unnecessary attention is your attire.  Leave all your crazy designer clothes, favorite American football shirts and plaid shorts at home.  I pretty much only wear solid color shirts, shorts and simple shoes.  It just makes life a lot easier.

31. Eat street food

You are a fool if you don’t eat street food!!

Many times, the best local dishes are only available from street vendors.  I can’t even tell you how many meals I’ve eaten on the corner of the road.  It’s quick and it’s a great way to save money.   Okay, so it might not be the healthiest option, but who is counting calories on the road anyway?

32. Air BnB is legit

I only recently started using Air BnB and it is AWESOME.  It’s so much better than staying in a hostel.

If you aren’t aware, Air BnB is a free website where you can rent out places to stay in over 33,000 cities and 192 countries worldwide.  Basically, friendly people let you rent out a room in their house or apartment for really cheap.  All you have to do is register an account, create a profile, and then you are free to search for places to stay. I’ve only had incredible experiences using Air Bnb, where I’ve met friendly locals who go out of their way to show me around and provide me with a comfortable stay.  If you are traveling with friends, then this is DEFINITELY the way to go, because you will save lots of money.  It’s much cheaper than a hostel when you split the price with your friends, and the quality is so much better.

33. Respect people in your hostel room

This one is pretty important in my opinion.  When you are in a hostel room and you are sharing the room with several people, don’t be obnoxious.  Respect their own space and sleep.

I’ve stayed in rooms before and has people light up a cigarette inside, play their music really loud, turn on the lights at 5AM when they come home drunk, and talk loud on the phone when people are sleeping.  These are rude and disrespectful, so don’t do it!

34. Bad karma exists

What goes around, comes around.

I am a firm believer in Karma, and I can almost prove that it exists.  If you are nice to people and you respect the customs of a country, then you will have a pleasurable experience in the future.  However, if you are an asshole, you are causing trouble, and stealing things, then expect the worst to happen.

35. Sometimes, beer is cheaper than water

In Prague, beer is literally cheaper than water.  What do you think I drank with all of my meals?

The point of mentioning this is because you never know what specialties you can find on a menu!  I have come across many cheap alcoholic beverages in foreign countries- especially in SouthEast Asia.  Always check and see what you can discover.

36. Always carry medicine with you

Getting sick on the road can be a disaster.  Unfortunately, I have been sick several times and it’s not fun at all. Going to a foreign hospital or doctor is my nightmare, and I will stay away at all costs.

So, I highly advise you to bring a bag with every medicine that you think you’ll need.   When I travel, I carry cough medicine, stomach pills, dayquil, couch drops, sleep medicine, vitamins and a lot more. Trust me, it can be a pain in the ass to find medicine that you trust in foreign countries…

37. Buy souvenirs

I might take this to the extreme, because I am obsessed with all of my travel collections.  Buying physical souvenirs from around the world is important to me. Most of the time, I find super cheap things from local markets and buy them.  In the future, whenever I look at the item, it will bring back lots of memories that I have from that place!  In my future home, I plan on decking out a room in all of the things that I’ve bought from around the world.

38. Get a good travel backpack

If you are planning on going backpacking or doing long trips overseas, then it’s imperative that you have the proper gear.   I have a backpack that I bring with me for all my travels, and it’s extremely necessary.  I bought it at REI for $150.  You can get any decent travel backpack in the $100-400 range- depending how nice you want it to be.  These backpacks also last forever, so your money will go a long way!

39. Be adventurous

I have repeated this message about 10 times so far.  Be adventurous.

Traveling opens up some amazing opportunities to do awesome things, so do them! Do thing that you normally wouldn’t do.  Explore a random cave, jump off a cliff and go skydiving.  This is where all the fun and thrill comes from traveling.

40. Most people don’t care about America

It’s true.  I’m not necessarily saying that everyone hates America (although many do), I’m simply saying that people just don’t really care about Americans.  They aren’t into American culture, they don’t want to know about America and they give us a bad reputation.   This might be due to the fact that some Americans are arrogant, ignorant and loud.  But who knows.  Of course there are some exceptions, like where I live in Korea but not everywhere is like here.

41. Traveling with one likeminded friend is a good idea

I’m not a fan of solo travel.  I’ve done it once, and I realize some of the benefits from it, but overall I am not a fan.  I’d much rather team up with a good friend, who has similar motives and goals as me, and travel together.  It’s so much better to experience the world with another person, so you can laugh together when something is funny and help each other out in certain situations.   This is just my preference, so don’t take it too seriously.  I know lots of people who prefer to travel solo.

42. If you’re going to travel, then just travel

It’s hard to work efficiently on the road.   If you are trying to run a business and travel at the same time, then good luck.  Most wifi connections around the world are horrible.  You should just focus on having the most fun as you can.  Explore as many places as possible, and don’t stress about work.  Save it all for when you get home.

43. Learn about yourself

Before I stated traveling, I didn’t really know who I was.  I didn’t know what made me happy, what made me sad, and many other things that I preferred to do.  Now, after visiting 50 countries, I have a much better idea of the real Drew.   I have a MUCH clearer picture of what I want in life, and how I want to spend my time.  I can assure you that traveling and exploring new places will do the same for you.

44. Make new friends, but don’t forget about old ones

Never stop making friends everywhere you go, but don’t forget about your old ones.  Stay in touch with the people that know you best.  Your childhood friends.  Your college friends.  These are the most important people in your life, so don’t lost touch with them.

45. Go with the flow

Don’t spend too much time planning a trip.  Just go with the flow.  You can plan along the way by talking to locals and figuring it out.  It’s much easier and more fun this way.  And you will come across more interesting things along the way.

46. If you help others, they will help you

This goes along with my “bad karma exists” post.  If you help others, then others will help you. It’s just how the world works. I have seen it time and time again.  I always try to help others, whenever I see the opportunity.  Even just smiling and making friends with strangers will go a long way.  Believe me!

47. Almost everywhere is safer than home

I try to explain this to my parents all the time.  I think every country I’ve been to (with the exception of a few places), are safer than at home.

In the U.S., there are shootings, robberies, and crimes that are committed every minute.  Just turn on any news station or read any newspaper.  When I am around the states, I frequently feel unsafe at night.  If you’re not from the U.S., then I’m sure you can still relate to this somehow from your own country. When I am in a foreign country, I generally feel more trust in people and the environment.  That being said, there are always sketchy areas that you want to avoid in any city, so use your brain and don’t be dumb.

 

48. Question everything until you get an answer

I remember one of my elementary school teachers telling me, “The best way to learn is to ask questions.”  To this day, her advice proves to be 100% correct.

What am I talking about? Asking locals if you don’t understand something about their culture.  Asking the chef which amazing ingredients he used to make that dish.  Asking your hostel how to navigate around the city.  Basically, using your mouth to find things out.  You can learn SO much more by just asking simple questions. I can’t stress the importance of this!

49. Everything happens for a reason

I realize how cliché this sounds, but it’s the truth.  In the end, everything will work out, so don’t be stressed.

Just looking back at my life, this has proven to be correct.  I am in Korea right now because I decided to go to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I discovered this program to teach English abroad.   Whatever happens in the future is going to happen because it’s the right thing at the right time.  It’s not just optimistic thinking- it’s reality!

Ever heard of the butterfly effect? This is the kind of the same thing!

50. Trust your gut instinct

Trust your gut, and do whatever it tells you to do.  Don’t second guess yourself, because it has been proven that your first instinct is the most trustworthy.

If your gut tells you that this hostel is too sketchy, then don’t stay there.  If your gut tells you that this area of town is unsafe, then avoid it.  If your gut tells you that you should approach that smokin’ hot girl (or guy) at the club, then you better do it!

51. Do what makes you happy

I realize that I just went beyond 50, but this is the final one.  And thank you so much if you’ve stuck around to read this entire post!

Do what makes you happy right now.  I am living a very happy life, because I always am doing what I want to be doing.  If something isn’t going right, or I am becoming sad, then I will make adjustments and change my lifestyle.  There is no reason to be unsatisfied with your life.

Thanks for reading!  Please comment and let me know your thoughts 🙂

63 thoughts on “50 Lessons I’ve Learned from 50 Countries

  1. “TV is usually wasting your time” ? I’m not watching TV as it is, but how about some educational purposes? Is reading a book also a waste of time then? 😉

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed your post, Drew! I just returned back to the states from my first trip overseas and I was fortunate to learn many of the same lessons during my one month trip! Your post brought back many great memories, so I wanted to thank you by leaving a comment and asking a few questions.

    Number 36, “Always bring medicine with you”, caught my eye. The first thing I thought to ask was: Do you take Vitamin D3 supplements daily? This is part of my public health research and we learned having optimal levels greatly reduces the chance of getting sick. I personally take 5000IU per day. You can learn more in 10 minutes by watching one of Dr. Hollick’s YouTube videos.

    Also, have you written a post about what you learned about yourself from traveling, or are you working on a book? That is something I would like to read!

    Cheers! Keep up the hard work, and safe travels ^^,
    Will C

  3. Thanks for this great post! I lived in Japan for one year and it really is true that the most simple things are the ones that count. For example I dived and snorkeled in Okinawa and I still remember the way rain looks like from underneath the water, really cool,or watching the sunrise on top of Mt. Fuji. I’m thinking about going back to Jp but that would mean I can’t explore Europe as much as I would’ve liked because of a tight schedule. Prague is also really great by the way. Anyway I’m thinking about my next trip but I haven’t really decided what to do yet. Good luck with your blog!

  4. hey Drew! im following your blog and your posts and really like the idea of travelling. i wanna try too in 2016 to visit asian countries. Can you tell me what would be the 5 things to pack while travelling?( dont say plenty of money as i know that but helpful things?) all the best

  5. You speak some truths but your advice is full of paradoxes. Travel teaches a lot but you don’t seem to fully appreciate its lessons yet. Like trying to learn a language, yet you seem more focused on getting stamps in your passport now. Not worrying about money, yet clearly it appears to be your inner motivation, that and your fake friends. Don’t like to pay you out but I think it’s important people put your advice in perspective

  6. Hi Drew Goldberg,

    You missed Vietnam! I hope you have time to visit this country where you are able have good time there.

    Kev

  7. Hey Drew! I am new to your blog, but I love it already!
    Thank you for sharing your amazing stories because they are so incredibly inspiring!! I’m only 15 years old but I can’t wait to start traveling just like you!
    I hope you never stop dreaming and being positive because you have to realize how many people look up to you!!
    Safe travels and greetz from Belgium! 😀

  8. Do you know when you will stop your journeys? ??
    What are you planning to do after???
    Do you think you will be able to get back to a regular life after all this?????
    Please answer thank you
    (I’m following you and all you posts and pictures)

  9. Hi Drew
    Stumbled upon your blog while doing some research for a trip to Myanmar later this year. Great insights and advice. I am really impressed at your attitude and approach to travel…as a 49yr old who started hitting the road solo in my mid 30’s, it’s refreshing to hear a ‘youngster’ with such a great ethic. I’ve been trapped in many a hostel room with idiots (of all ages!) who have no respect for the experience they are having or the people around them. (I’ve always said their travel budget should be diverted to me and they should be sent home to their rooms!!)
    Just wanted to give you the positive feedback. 🙂
    if I had my time again I’d be doing what you are doing ….but I can’t complain..up to a 31 country count…an Aussie now living in UK (once in France for a bit). Always thinking of the next trip!
    Keep up the inspiration and thanks for the Myanmar tips!
    Happy trails. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much Becks!! I’m thrilled to hear this type of comment coming from you 🙂

      Let me know if you have any questions about your trip to Myanmar. I’d love to help you!

      1. Hey Drew,
        I really can’t wait to go to Myanmar in october. Do you have any information on the present weather situation especially flooding-wise!? Is it still pretty bad or getting better? Would be really cool if you could give me some info 🙂
        Thanks in advance,
        Sandy

  10. Great post Drew, full of life lessons! #6 stood out for me (Don’t be too cheap) as I was in India about 2 months ago. Trying to stretch my money out, as I will be travelling for a year, I found myself watching my Rupees. You’re right, sometimes it’s just better off to spend an extra few bucks. I started thinking to myself, “What are you trying to prove?” And in in the end it all boils down to #51: Do what makes you happy. Cheers!

    1. Thanks for the comment, Wayne!! Yes it does all boil down to #51 🙂 And I can agree with what you said about India.. I just got back from a 2 month trip around India and I also agree!

      Cheers from Arizona

  11. Awesome Drew! To do what you love is the most wonderful thing and i consider that’s the luck which we choose where others just say he is lucky that’s why he is happy. Thanks a lot for sharing this every point of your makes it 100% correct according to my perception. world is small hope we all explore every corner 🙂 Why am i reading your blog so late 🙁

  12. I love how your blog is set up! I currently have one as well http://www.sabrinatakessweden.wordpress.com

    I also went on an exchange year (to Sweden) and got bit by the travel bug just like you 😉

    Actually, it’s funny you play hockey, as I am currently living abroad in Budapest playing ice hockey for the year and traveling a bit.

    -Sabrina 🙂

    1. Hi Sabrina – no way you play hockey! That’s so cool! I played my entire life until I went to college. I am so jealous that you’re living and playing in Budapest – one of my favorite cities in the world. Will you be there in August? I plan to go back and visit 😀

  13. Reading this I started to say ‘Ooooh I love 33 and…’ But the list got too long so I will just go with I love this post!

  14. I’ve traveled a bit. It’s all fun and games when people still want to fuck you. Try to do this in twenty years and tell what wide welcoming world this is then.

    1. If that’s what he wants in 20 years time he can always head to south east Asia and fill his boots . It’s a good blog why so negative ?

  15. It took me three days to read your entire list since I analyzed every point meticulously. It was so worth it I’d read this year by year just to see which tips I’ve applied in my life. Go beyond, man.

  16. Drew what an awesome piece! I have had the pleasure of experiencing many people, places and cultures and agree with your outlook 100%. The world is rich with beauty and adventure. To truly live is to experience the outer regions of our individual worlds. I believe courage is the key…step out of the comfort zone, put on a smile, throw off the cloak of ego and engage with the world around us! Thank you for being such an inspiration! Happy travels my friend!

    1. Leah- This comment just made my day! I don’t know how to respond. Thank you so much, and I am glad that you found this post inspiring 🙂 Cheers and happy travels to you!

  17. Drew, this is such a cool post, very inspiring too. I can’t believe all you have experienced. 35 is my fave, brilliant problem to have I say. But the finest point you make is 51, do what makes you happy. 🙂

    1. Anna- I really appreciate your kind words 🙂

      Haha and yes, #35 is one of my favorites too. That was one of my favorite things about living in Prague!

  18. Thanks Drew… great Post.

    I fully agree with you in all your comments (well most of them). I also enjoy traveling and feel is the greatest school for anyone.

    Will try to read your other posts.

    Have a safe journey!
    Rafael

  19. Thank you because of this post . It was complete . I have a suggestion : it can be interesting if you write about entertaining points in different cultures which you became familiar with .
    ;-))

  20. This is fantastic! I’ve only been to 3 countries and my heart has been telling me to explore the world and be inspired by it. So I actually made the decision to switch careers this year so that I’ll have more time for myself and I’ve started making plans to travel more this year and in the near future!

    I’m SO excited about finally being able to explore and go on a real adventure and I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve said so far about karma, connecting with people, discovering yourself through peace and solitude etc. Thank you SO much for sharing these tips!!!

    1. Liz- Thanks for sharing! I am excited for you to have more freedom in your career to travel and see the world. I think it’s one of the most important things that anyone can do!

      Keep me posted on your upcoming travels, and let me know if you need any general advice!

  21. Drew,
    I am infinitely amazed at the wisdom you have at your tender age. I too, am a restless spirit who thrives on seeing & doing new things. While I’m unable to travel as much as I’d like and am not quite as adventurous as you are, my passion is experience.

    You must have amazing parents! The greatest gift my parents gave me was the experiences we had while vacationing – growing up we took 4 a year. Nothing can take away the memories I have of the places I’ve been. I haven’t been to 50 countries (yet) but have been to many amazing places. I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve given me!!!

    I agree with your tidbits of advice. You’ve managed to figure out in 23 years what it’s taken me nearly 40 to learn. That’s a testament to your upbringing and your thirst for adventure.

    I’m proud of you & don’t even know you. I look forward to your posts on G+ and envy your ability to go see & do and grow & learn. I’m tied down to life more than you are and wish I would’ve known earlier that I should’ve seized the moments when I could have.

    What great stories you’ll have and be able to cherish forever. Appreciate this time in your life and thank your family – they’ve obviously given you an amazing gift. Safe travels and please keep sharing!!!

    PS – I’d add a #52….. Take some tissue/toilet paper with you – ya just don’t know when you might need it. I won’t tell you why I know this to be true but I will say that I’ve recently visited Thailand – enough said.

    1. Wow, thank you for this heart warming comment. I really appreciate everything you said. You really just put a smile on my face!

      Yes, I do in fact have amazing parents and I am very thankful for them. If it wasn’t for their support, they I wouldn’t be able to travel to all of these places. I thank them nearly every time we speak.

      And yes, I should have added to always bring toilet paper! Not just for girls but for guys too! I also just got back from Bali, and I needed to carry it with me as well (haha).

      Cheers and keep in touch!

      Drew

  22. Great post Drew! Of course #21 is my favorite one! Yes, you do a great job of communicating and letting us know you are safe. I am so happy that you have had the opportunities to explore 50 countries so far! I know you are so happy and doing what you love to do… travel!

  23. Great post, Drew! I agree with you on everything you have written here! For us it’s really important to try to pick up the local language (otherwise how would we communicate with our drivers?) and believe that most locals are good people (they are!). And of course, you should be adventurous, approachable and friendly, not scared of getting lost, ready to try new things and experiment with your tastes. And you are absolutely right that “almost everywhere is safer than home”. We lived in 5 different countries so far and in three of them (England, France and Spain) I felt occasionally more threatened than in Azerbaijan, Ukraine or Cambodia put together.
    Lovely piece of writing, mate! It would be cool to meet you somewhere on the road one day. Peace!

    1. THanks so much for this lovely comment!

      Yes, Learning the local language is probably the #1 most important thing on the list! I am glad that you pointed that one out.. And I’d love to meet up somewhere! Do you have any plans on coming to Korea or Asia in the next 6 months? Or I will be in Europe next summer as well!

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