What lessons can you learn from traveling in Africa?

Traveling is transformative. By leaving your city, country, and even your continent to explore somewhere for the first time, you open yourself up to completely new experiences. How not to be affected in some way when encountering different cultures, lifestyles, landscapes and wild creatures. It’s the kind of change that often happens without you even realizing it at first.

This is one of the greatest things about travel – you learn and grow naturally, without really thinking about it. This is the best kind of tutorial! Traveling can be challenging and intimidating at times, but it’s totally worth it because it broadens our perspective and so much more. These are some of the lessons it should pass on to you in Africa and in general around the world.

Experiences can bring you happiness that lasts longer than material things

While he was in his early twenties, famous Brazilian author Paulo Coelho left his hometown of Rio de Janeiro to see as much of the world as possible. Discover South America more, then travel through Europe and North Africa, embracing the unfamiliar in all areas of life – food, culture, language, landscapes, and wildlife. And know that one of his most famous quotes is “Be brave. Take risks. Nothing is worth experience.”

It is true that travel, especially international travel, is often expensive, although it depends on where you are traveling to and from, and the exchange rate. Is traveling to a different city, country or continent worth it? Many will say without hesitation, that traveling gives you the best return on investment. While you may not be able to pinpoint it precisely, a ‘trial purchase’ will leave you with a deeper, richer sense of happiness than the money spent on another ‘physical purchase’.

During your first visit to one of the many, many amazing places in Africa, you will quickly get a lot of first-of-its-kind moments. And of course, there are plenty of differences in culture, lifestyle, and natural environments across the continent, so even on your tenth trip to Africa, you’ll undoubtedly still have new experiences.

Investing in leisure time is an essential part of a happy and healthy life

Just ask your mind! There is mounting scientific evidence to show that travel is very beneficial for your mental health. Traveling is never boring. And this is exactly what you need to rejuvenate all of you – mind, body and soul. Staying interested in the world around you is a great way to stay young. Traveling is one of the best teachers because it exposes you to the world beyond what you know – you can never be sure when you might learn something wonderful while exploring a new place.

When the monotony of daily routines and many of the stresses of life—maybe professional or personal—become too much, a change of scenery can energize your mind, take it off autopilot and focus it somewhere inspiring. Whether you’ve traveled domestically or internationally, you’ll likely agree that you’re taking a certain sparkle of happiness and a sense of well-being back home with you after a vacation. Just remember to incorporate your “digital detox” into at least some of your time away.

The adventure begins outside your comfort zone

You owe it to yourself to get out of your comfort zone. Traveling to a completely new place is challenging you in different ways. By immersing yourself in the familiar and taking an open-minded approach while doing so, you will learn to become comfortable with the unfamiliar. This is incredibly empowering! You will likely realize that you have been underestimating yourself; This, in fact, you are capable of much more than you give yourself credit for.

In order to grow and live fully, you have to do new things, and you will find that it is easier than you think. Whether you use the few food-related words you know to order a meal in Swahili or explore the bush on foot on your first bushwalking tour, traveling in Africa stretches you and that’s exciting. For those who want a life full of different adventures, special moments and long lasting memories, you will need to dive into new situations and turn them into amazing experiences.

Don’t take yourself or your plans too seriously

It is always advised to make a plan while traveling. However, making this plan completely rigid and expecting to see it completely may make your travel experience more stressful than it needs to be. When you are traveling in Africa, especially if it is your first time, it is a good idea to plan and book through a reputable travel agent or safari company. Unplanned events can happen while traveling, and a professional will know the easiest ways to overcome any obstacles along the way.

Regardless, just look at your plan as an outline so you don’t become a slave to an overly restrictive schedule. Make sure that you are open to unexpected change, and that you allow your trip to be flexible. Allowing yourself time to go out of the plan often happens when those magical moments happen! And when you face a challenge while traveling, you will learn to think carefully and solve problems efficiently.

It often takes just a smile to start a conversation with someone while traveling in Africa. Making friends requires being able to make fun of yourself for silly language mistakes and innocent cultural mistakes. There is nothing quite like realizing that even though there are many differences between the two of you, you can share the gift of laughter and friendship.

What lessons have you learned while traveling in Africa or anywhere else in the world? Share them in the comments section below.

Calvin Cottar is a manager and owner of Cottar Safaris in the 1920s. 1920s Kotar safari is an award winning luxury 1920s safari camp and private shrub villa located in the famous ‘seventh’ natural wonder of the world, Maasai Mara in Kenya, owned and operated by the oldest well-established and continuous safari family In Africa.

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