25 Lessons Learnt While Travelling In Asia For 3 Years

“Travel is like an endless university. You never stop learning.”

                                                                                                  – Harvey Lloyd

Exploring Bali on a scooter
Exploring Bali on a scooter

 

Time flies. I still can’t believe it’s been 3 years since my first epic journey to China. 3 years ago I was sitting at the Birmingham International airport waiting for my first flight to Chongqing, China. How did I feel back then? I was excited and fearless. I can still recall this moment when I was holding China Lonely Planet book in my hands without having a clue where I was going to sleep. Nothing was planned. I was counting on good luck and some crazy adventurous.

It was supposed to be only 1 year journey, but it turned into 2 and then 3 year adventure across Asia. From China, through Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia to Vietnam, Indonesia and much more. Have I learnt anything from my travels? Sure I did! The more I travel, the more I learn. Every journey is a lesson of history. Every voyage is a lesson of life. People keep surprising you. The scenery leaves you speechless for a long time. The food makes you wanna come back again.

Today is a day of celebration. It’s time to bring back all memories, the good ones and the bad ones, and think of what I have learnt from my 3 year journeys across Asia. It’s high time to ask myself how I have changed as a person, woman and traveller. Was it all worth it? Am I fulfilled and satisfied or I still lack something?

#1 Pack lite.

That's how I pack for a month of travels
That’s how I pack for a month of travels

 

3 years ago I would have never packed lite. Actually, I set off for my China journey with 2 pieces of suitcase (40 kg in total) and I felt like it was way too little. I carried all of my favourite books with me, cosmetics, 10 pairs of shoes and stuff I would never use, but that was just in case. Look at me now! I travel with a small backpack which weight never exceeds 6 kg. I don’t need much clothes. I can easily survive without make-up. I don’t sweat anymore. I feel comfortable. I travel lite.

#2 Loneliness? What’s that?

People on scooter in Bali
Fast and furious in Bali

 

Although I traveled solo for my first year in Asia, I never felt lonely. I was always surrounded by hospitable locals who were like family to me. On my journeys I came across extraordinary travelers whose stories from the road just knocked me down and left me speechless. At first it was scary to just throw myself out there and talk to strangers. Nevertheless, after some time I got used to just saying “hello” to strangers and now it seems like second nature!

#3 It’s totally OK to be myself.

Two people take a picture of themselves
Silly selfie on the plane

 

Everyone is different. For some people I might seem to be cute, adorable, for others I am ugly and stupid. Some people love my smile, others don’t. Sometimes I can play on peoples’ nerves and sometimes I act like an angel. After 3 years of my travels I have heard many times that I should never change the way I am. It’s ok to be childish. It’s totally fine to be myself. It feels great to be childish. I love being silly sometimes. It’s hard to please everyone.

#4 Relationships come and go on the road.

People pose for photo
Bumping into Chinese and Indonesian travelers in Bali

 

People come, people go. It’s sad, but that’s something I had to take and deal with. It’s a part of adventure, right? Although I have met some amazing people on the road, we always had to say goodbye to each other hoping to meet up somewhere in the world once again. I try not to attach emotionally. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. If you get too attached too often, you’ll have nothing but heartache as people come and go.

#5 I do miss home A LOT.

A girl and a mom
Me and my mom

 

Travelling keeps you busy. Sometimes it’s so crazy you don’t even have time to miss your friends and family. However, there are moments and days when I wish I was back home for a week or two. I miss my friends and my mom. Sometimes I just want to teleport myself to Poland where I could have a long night chat with my girl friends and see my mom’s smile once again. Yes, I do adjust to a new environment quickly and I am not a typical family person, but the longer I travel, the more homesick I feel.

#6 Yes, I’m a foodie.

A girl is eating a sandwich
Digging into a salmon sandwich in Bali

 

I never thought that food could be so important to me. I honestly never paid any attention to what and when I was eating. I had my favourite dishes, but once I went travelling, I started appreciate food more. Right now food is an essential part of my travels. I love to try different dishes, experiment with new foods, mix flavours and spices to see what new food combinations they become. I am always curious about foreign cuisines and there is nothing better than indulging in a Belgium waffle, Italian pizza, Chinese baozi, Japanese sushi, Polish pierogi, Czech trdelnik or Indian curry, right? I also went a little bit extreme with eating, for example, when trying Chinese bees, fried Thai cockroaches or Vietnamese bugs!

#7 Don’t trust taxi and tuk-tuk drivers.

A girl in a tricycle
Tricycle ride in Banaue, the Philippines

 

For some reasons all my problems start when I take a taxi or tuk-tuk. I always get ripped off. I get annoyed and angry. I often argued with taxi drivers and stopped trusting them.  They are pushy, noisy and try to take advantage of travellers. Their smile is creepy and they scare me off! Well, at least most of them.

#8  Smile speaks any language.

Indonesian girl smiling
Indonesian girl smiling

 

Kindness is a universal language. You don’t need to speak a local language to express your gratitude. A simple smile says more than 1000 words. It can make your day. Be kind, be polite and keep smiling. People always appreciate that.

#9 Don’t let a fear hold you back.

A girl on a plane
Welcome to the Philippines

 

If you feel like going bungee jumping but you are afraid of heights, don’t think of that, just do it! Don’t let your fears stop you from doing adventurous things in your life. Don’t regret things. Just do them. That will make you stronger than you think.

#10 I’m American.

A girl in tanah Lot temple
Exploring Tanah Lot temple in Bali

 

No matter how hard I try to explain that I am not American, nobody listens to me in China. For all Chinese I am another “Měiguó rén” (Měiguó – America, rén – person). I tried. I tried really hard and then I gave up. Yes, I am from America!

#11 Never compare yourself with others. 

After nearly 3 years of travelling and blogging, I’ve learnt that comparing myself with other travelers and bloggers is not good at all. In fact, it might be very unhealthy and stressful. I do travel on the cheap and I do stick to my $25 a day budget. I don’t want to compare my travel equipment with those people who spent thousands of $ on their camera and laptop. I don’t want to compare my poor writing skills with those bloggers who are native speakers. I don’t want to stress myself out anymore… I just keep doing what I like and what makes me happy.

#12 Always be honest with your readers. 

Unhappy girl
Unsatisfied with Pagudpud

 

Nowadays, everyone is blogging about how wonderful their travel experiences are. The food is always delicious. Locals are extremely hospitable. I always read posts filled with excitement reflecting positive experience from the road : “I had a time of my life!”, “I loved this country and wish I could come back!”, “The food was just heaven”. It’s great to read about good things, but nobody seems to criticize anything. I do. I do tell the truth. I am straight forward and I am very honest with my readers. I hated Oslo and I wrote about it. The street food in the Philippines was disguising so I decided to share my culinary nightmare in “I would rather go hungry than eat Filipino street food again” post. I had the worst Couchsurfing (sexsurfing) experience ever when traveling in Europe and guess what… I wrote a full post on that. No lies. Of course not everyone agreed with me. I was insulted and criticized many times for my blog posts. I was accused of seeking attention and being an ignorant and inexperienced traveler. Did that in any way influence my experience and the way I write my blog posts? Nope, I don’t think so. You can find here nothing but honesty even if not everyone likes that.

#13 I am cheap.

A girl Sleeping at laundry store in Singapore
Sleeping at laundry store in Singapore

 

I’m a tramp. It’s not only a creation for my blog promotion. It’s true. I do spend less than $25 a day when travelling. At least on average (if I spend $40 one day, next day should cost $10). I really do travel on the cheap and count each $. I’m not rich. I don’t have possessions neither saving account. I earn money and I spend it all on my travel and blog. The more I spend, the shorter my journeys are. When you travel on a budget and need to make your money last, it’s easy to be cheap. Guess what… I am cheap and I am not ashamed of that, but I do agree that being cheap only fills you with regret.

#14 Don’t over plan.

Failing to plan is planning to fail, but over planning isn’t that good either. Sometimes it’s much better to just jump in the boat and let the river take you for an amazing ride. You will get to the ocean eventually and it will be way more fun!

#15 Language learning is the key.

A girl is smiling with a boy
Banaue experience

 

Chinese people will be over the moon when they hear you talk some Chinese, often treating you with some nice free food and won’t stop talking to you. Some of them might even ask you to stay overnight at their place. Once you visit the places where tourists are rarely seen, you quickly notice that Chinese people do not speak English much. Therefore, look up some basic Chinese words you will need for everyday conversations such as “hi”, “order”, “food”, “how much”, “too expensive” and go try to speak to them. I’ve learnt to always carry a small dictionary with me. The more of the language you know, the bigger your chances are of having an amazing time and being able to haggle down prices.

#16 Travel off the beaten path.

Monkey forest in Bali
Feeling alive

 

On my travels, I try to avoid touristy spots and keep exploring off the beaten paths instead. Reason? It is much cheaper and definitely more adventurous. Getting to see off the tourist paths in Asia will allow you to spend much less money than you would spend when visiting big cities. All over Asia, people are extremely hospitable and they will often invite you for a meal, drink or even let you stay in their houses for free. After travelling for a week, you will see your wallet is much bigger than you thought it would be. Moreover, you will have a great opportunity to experience authentic cuisine and traditions and no longer feel like a walking ATM.

#17 Teaching is not easy, but it’s fun.

Students in China
My Chinese students

 

I must say that teaching English in Asia has been one of the most amazing experiences in my life. It was a lot of fun, but also a hard work. I spent hours in my office preparing my classes. I was determined to teach as much English as possible to my Chinese and Khmer students so there were days I felt knackered. I got really involved into Chinese education system and used various methods of teaching to become more successful and effective. I could be one of those who don’t care, but I just couldn’t. I took my job very seriously and set up the targets I was aiming to.

#18 People are generally good.

A girl smiling with a woman
Lovely lady who runs a hostel in Banaue

 

If you keep your heart and mind open when travelling, you will always come across good people. Some locals treated me like a member of their family making sure I was fine. Some people were willing to give me more than they possess in order to make me smile. I can recall many situations in which I was left speechless due to incredible hospitality. In these 3 years I’ve learnt that we should not be afraid of trusting others. Not everyone is a murdered, rapist or thief. People are generally good and they want your happiness. Locals are people just like you and me who are trying to get by, to help their families and go about living their lives. There is no race, religion or nationality that is exempt from this rule.

#19 Everything happens for a reason and it all works out in the end.

There were days when I felt like nothing was going according to my plan. I got lost. I missed my train. I lost my wallet. I felt sick. I didn’t know what to do. But suddenly, all of these failures and bad luck turned into something good. I met people who helped me out, ended up in a place where I would never think of going to and became more independent. When things get worse, just keep cool and it will all work out in the end.

#20 Less is more.

Rice Terraces in Banaue
Rice Terraces in Banaue

 

It’s sometimes better to pack less stuff when going for a long-term journey. It’s also much better to go to less destinations and explore them properly instead of going from one country to another like crazy and missing out on many things. I’ve also realized that I don’t need much to be happy. It’s no longer about collecting things, it’s more about collecting memories.

#21 Hard work pays off.

Blogging at the airport
Blogging at the airport

 

Nearly 3 years ago I started blogging. Since that day I never gave up and I have been working very hard to become a successful budget travel blogger in order to reach a big audience. I was blogging on the beach, at various airports, parks, temples and hostels across Asia. I replied to each comment, e-mail and spent hours in front of my laptop editing pictures, collecting collaborative post contributions and interacting with fellow travel bloggers. Today I look at eTramping with a proud face and tell myself “It was all worth it”.

#22 Long-term travel is not a vacation (it’s a full-time job).

A girl blogging on the beach
Working hard on the beach

 

Dear friends and family,

I am travelling full-time. It’s a full-time job, not a 365 day holiday. If you don’t believe me, let’s swap and we will see how long you can live this life for.

With love,

Agness

#23 Travel slowly.

I girl is getting on the board of the plane
Getting on the board

 

Travelling slowly makes you see more and spend less money – that’s the lesson I’ve learnt. Once I slow things down and spend more time in one place, I can get a much better feel for the destination. Moreover, I can take time to really see the sights and explore different neighborhoods without feeling rushed. Spending more time in one place not only allows me more opportunity to connect with people, but also see more places and experience the authentic cuisine.

#24 Yes, it’s possible to travel with a male friend without being in a relationship with him.

Me and cez on the beach
Beach time!

 

Let me tell you for the 100th time that me and Cez are best friends. We are not lovers. We are not engaged. We are not married. We just travel together and yes, it’s possible for a couple of friends (female and male) to travel together, share great travel moments and experience without being in a relationship. This is the power of friendship. You stick together. You help each other. You love each other like a family, but you are not physically attracted to each other. End of story. Nobody seems to understand that in Asia though…

#25 Travelling is so damn tiring! 

A girl with no shoes jumping at Hong Kong airport
Tired, but happy to arrive at Hong Kong International airport

 

Think of all of these hours spent on the train, at the airport and on local buses. Wasn’t it exhausting? Gosh, travelling is tiring! You can feel absolutely knackered after 10 hour overnight bus ride or your 8 hour flight back home. Think of how many times you got stuck at the airport as your flight was delayed or how many times you had to wait for the next bus to come as the last one just left. There are times when you don’t take a shower for a 2 days (or even longer), you sleep on the floor or you don’t sleep at all feeling frightened you might get robbed while asleep!

Wow, I’ve learnt a lot of things. Way more than I expected. The list goes on and on and the more I travel, the more I am going to learn. I will also make more mistakes and fail sometimes, but it’s life. It’s the life I’ve chosen. It’s the life I am proud of and happy about.

What lessons have your learnt from your travels?

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152 Comments

  • Brilliant post Agness! Wow, three years has really flown by for you and what great lessons you have learned on the way. I definitely agree that speaking a little bit of Mandarin in China can really go a long way.
    Keep on being honest, girl. :-)

  • 25 truly wonderful and inspiring reflections of the last 3 years Agness.

    It is wonderful to hear that looking back at what you’ve achieved with this blog makes you feel proud. It should! You’ve both done an amazing job and really connected with a lot of people the world over.

    Stay being you. Never try to be anyone else. Remain honest and true to your values. That is why we all love you.

    Keep the honesty in your articles. Yes, some people will not like it but if anyone thinks you can please everybody then they seriously need to think again. Tell it as it is, not what anyone thinks people want to hear.

    Your friendship with Cez is wonderful and a real blessing to you both. Having met the two of you I know how well you work together and share these amazing travel experiences. You say earlier in the article that you make many friends on the road but then you say goodbye. That is true for the current lifestyle you have. I do hope though that the friendship you and Cez have will only continue to grow stronger through your experience of working so well together.

    No one knows what the future holds. For now, the 2 of you should be very proud of what you’ve achieved and what you mean to so many.

    • The Guy,

      I would like to take a moment and say thank you for all of your positive energy and support. That means the world to me, seriously. The day we met was one of the most memorable days here for me! Yes, I promise to always be myself and keep the honesty in my blog posts.

      I’m saying goodbye to Cez in 3 months and I’m back in Europe. We will still work together, but live differently I guess. We shared some great moments together and hope we can stay friends for a long time.

      I really hope to see you once again!!!

      Keep up the hard work and never stop being frustrated :D (if you know what I mean) :).

      Love,

      Agness

      • Thank you Agness, that is incredibly sweet of you.

        I have exceptionally fond memories of the weekend I met up with you both and seeing that you both are as true and as genuine as you are on here. I promise you that we will meet again.

        Your going separate ways in 3 months will be tough but I’ve little doubt you’ll be travelling again together someday on a trip of some kind.

        You two have a wonderful friendship and a great blogging partnership.

        I feel proud to call the two of you as my friends. x

  • Wow, what a great list! I agree with all of them, but especially packing lite, that a smile is universal and to be yourself. All of these might be lessons learnt while travelling, but you can apply them to every aspect of life. Isn’t that why we travel – to learn more about ourselves, other people and the world? :)

  • Awesome post! The pictures were great but most of all, I appreciated how honest and candid you are. There’s no reason to sugar coat things or not be honest with your readers. Keep it up and happy travels!

  • Girl I’m lovin this post! I like how you Keep it REAL it’s cool that you still reply to comments after having a blog for 3 years! (most big timers don’t reply anymore) .. and still find time to comment on other people’s blogs like mine :) thanks. I think the honest ones are important and you should keep writing them. I didn’t know if you and cez were friends or what , but now I know! & also, I think it’s nice someone admits to being cheap. most backpackers are, but try to act like we arent… but it’s how we get by!

    • Oh Rachel! I love interacting with others. It’s a pleasure for me to follow your adventures and others! I guess that will never change no matter how long I am planning to blog for :)!! Being cheap is nothing wrong and I have finally understood it and accepted that :):):)!!

  • This is wonderful Agness, and really, really funny! It made me laugh out loud at people in China not accepting that you aren’t American! I also completely agree with you about teaching, and everything you said about blogging. I really admire your honesty, and wish you the best of luck!

  • I think this is one of my favorite posts that you’ve written Agness – great job!! I also have traveled with guys who are just my friends and people don’t seem to get that…but on the plus side, they are an instant-husband around for when creepy dudes are bothering you :) best of both worlds!

  • It’s interesting to see how often you mention people judging or criticizing you, but I’ve noticed that most of the time, criticism comes from people who don’t really listen to what people have to say. They just want to complain, and if you explain that what they’re complaining about wasn’t actually what happened, they just complain more. It’s weird, but after it happens a few times, it’s easy to see how they’re just trying to feel better about themselves.

  • Congrats on 3 years of traveling, blogging, living and learning! What a huge accomplishment, and it’s clear from this post that you haven’t wasted a second of this time. We haven’t been traveling quite so long as you, but I’d agree 100% with everything you wrote here. I think traveling teaches you more about yourself and about life than pretty much anything else on the planet!

  • I really thought your in relationship with him :) Anyway I see that most of your photos are from Banaue. That place is so cool right? Though some of the terrace are damage. And the people are very hospitalize and friendly.

  • Awesome and inspiring post, Agness! I really admire how determined you are – speaking (and blogging) in a language that is not your own and dominating the budget travel blogging scene (and sticking with it for three years!). I also admire your crazy lite packing skillz!!!

    Congrats and keep up the great work – blogging is no easy task!

  • WHAT CEZ IS NOT YOUR BOYFRIEND!!!! This blew me away. I agree though, traveling with a partner of the opposite sex is totally doable. If you are going out, they are the perfect wingman / wingwoman too!

    #8 is so true and #4 kills me a bit inside. But you know, now that I am home, I realize that this happens at home too. People move away for business or to reach their dreams.

    #12 is the reason I follow your blog. I too try to call it out when I dislike a place. I try to be positive, but people can learn from your bad experiences.

    This is easily one of my favorite articles.

    • HAHAHA! No, we are just travel buddies and friends :).

      THANKS JULIO xx I’m glad you can relate to #8 and #12 :D!

  • Hi Agness Walewinder, First of all congratulations to you for learning many more things to 3 Years. Traveling is such a wonderful part of live & I love it but I’m Indian & I can’t do solo traveling but I love it so much, Well leave it. This is such a nice post which teach us many thing which you learnt in your 3 years. All photo’s are amazing & Beautiful. My favorite pic is 16 Travel off the beaten path. “Feeling alive” This is awesome.

    • Thank you Monica. I hope you can go travelling one day either on your own or your a travel companion xxx Keeping my fingers crossed for you! xx

  • Well done Agness on reaching three years. You & Cez have built up an excellent reputation and I thank you for your advice and inspiration. I raise a glass to the next three years.

  • I love your list! It’s so inspiring, honest and funny :) I can’t believe you can pack an entire month into that little backpack! That’s amazing! :D

  • Really great article! I can definitely relate to a lot of these, especially the kindness of strangers and tuk-tuk drivers haha!

    By the way, I think your English is excellent – you totally don’t need to worry about native speaking bloggers in comparison, you write really well. :)

  • You are an inspiration! Number 17 is so true, the amount of enjoyment you have definitely correlations with the amount of work you put in. I bet your students love you!

  • Agness I couldn’t agree more with all you’ve said here and a big congratulations on your 3 years anniversary, I wish you many more to come. Going traveling long term has been one of the best decision I’ve ever made, there is always something to be learnt on the road from both good and bad experiences. Keep doing what you are doing, keep being honest (I love that side of you) and simply keep being yourself! :)

  • You’re one of those bloogers who has inspired me to keep going – even when I get exhausted from the constant travel, criticism, and stresses of life.

    I absolutely LOVE your blog – and I’m so glad you stuck with it. Blogging (and travelling) really is a full-time job, and you do such a wonderful job!

    • Thank you so much Grace. Do people criticize you? For what? Don’t worry and keep going! The hard work pays off and it’s just impossible to make everyone happy :).

  • Thanks for sharing the useful lesson that yoy get from your longday trip, that is s perfect summary to inspire anyone and help them start dreaming and travelling like you ! i have to share this article to everybody!

  • Love the roundup Agness! Surely being in Asia and travelling around all the time has taught you a whole lot of things! I hope we bump into each other someday. And PS so understand that Asians just don’t seem to get the whole “just friends” between male and female – I feel your pain :D

  • Totally agree! Too many people are raving about how wonderful everything always is, but quite frankly travelling can suck. People can rip you off, food can make you sick, and it seems we can’t go on public transport without someone projectile vomiting near us. With all that said, we wouldn’t give up this life at all.
    It’s absolutely all about the people you meet (and then often say goodbye to) it’s a great adventure and a great way to learn more about yourself as a person.
    Great article Agness :-)

    • Well said Megs. Travelling is not only about lovely beaches :). It can be a real pain as well and I’ve experienced that!!

  • Agness, this is my favorite post so far. I can totally relate with most of these points, although I didn’t travel in Asia for as long as you have.

    I find it so cool that Cez and you are best friends and do so many things together. Yes, there’s always an idea that a boy and a girl can not be best friends without something physical going on. I love the fact you can prove, it is possible indeed.

    You are one of the most dedicated and honest travel bloggers out there and I truly admire you for that! You deserve all the great and beautiful things you have experienced so far.

    • Thank Yara. So true. Some people don’t really get the whole idea of female-male friendship. It’s hard to believe in, but it really exists. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I really can’t wait to meet you in Athens! :) <3

  • Don’t compare yourself to the others, don’t seek for your failings, but you appear as model of virtue to lots of people!Like i’m really amazed by what you’re dong, your writing skills, your courage and love all the tips u give!

    thanks for that article! I’ll be travelling in china and nepal during the summer (i keep my fingers crossed) so i’ll come back visit ur website for some further informations hehe :)

    Take care both of u!

    • Hi Laura,

      Thank you so much! Wise words :-).

      I’m so excited about your trips in China and Nepal. I have not made it to Nepal yet, but if you need some budget travel tips on China, send me a message –> agnieszka.walewinder@gmail.com and I will be more than happy to help you out :).

      Love!

  • Wow three years already. Congratulations. I really enjoyed reading your post and could notice a lot of similarities on what I’ve learned from travelling so far. I have definitely become a foodie through travelling too. I’ve always enjoyed cooking but with travelling you get so many new ideas of what to try and I love to try new dishes in every country I go. It’s amazing how light you are able to pack. I already pack a lot lighter than a few years ago but I cannot keep up with you :P I hope I will become a lighter packer when I’m long-term on the road again in September. And stay as honest as you are! I enjoy your blog really much and will follow you along the journey! Happy Travels and maybe we are in the same country at some point :)

    • Are you a foodie as well? High 5! Of course we will meet, I really believe in that! Maybe in Athens in October if you are going for TBEX :).

      • Of course I am :) It’s one of the best ways to get to know a culture in my opinion. In October I will be working on the Galapagos Islands so unfortunately I won’t make it to TBEX. But I’m sure there will be a day we’re going to be in the same area ;)

  • Agness,

    I haven’t met you in person but I feel like I know you. I have experienced your kindness and positivity when we have interacted thru e-mail or social media.

    Keep your work ethic (by the way, you articles in here are of excellent quality) and your unique personality. There is nothing more tiring than trying to be somebody you are not.

    Best Wishes.

    • Ruth!

      Thank you so much for such wonderful and kind words! I also feel you and I can’t wait till our paths cross. Are you going for TBEX maybe? If so, I would love to see you in Athens!

      Love and a big hug x

  • Aww this is a great list! You are definitely a seasoned Asia traveler to have come up with these and some of these made me laugh. Unfortunately people in Asia all think white = American lol. You look so happy and cute in all your pictures, it makes me so excited for my trip to Asia. Big congrats on 3 years!

  • Hey Agness,

    That is such an honest post (also as you mention in #12). Loved reading it. What we have learned the most in the last year or so is #25 hehehe ;). And I can so imagine nobody in Asia believing that you and Cez are just friends.

    I loved your rant about the food in Philippines and being a very opinionated person myself, I do end up criticising things often ;). You won’t be able to please everyone anyway, so might as well speak your mind, right ?

    Well done and congratulations for completing 3 years of blogging. You are amazing.

    Cheers!

  • Great list! You are so inspiring, and all your points about blogging and not comparing yourself are things that ring really true for us, too. I admire how much you can stick to your budget though- something we could work to improve on! Also, I thought the point about you and Cez was really funny! I can imagine that must get really annoying trying to explain to people all the time! I hope we will get to meet up one day- maybe on your fourth year of travel on the road? :D

    • Thank you guys! I got used to that, but I am moving to Europe in 3 months and Cez stays in Asia so no more explanations about our relationship :D!!

  • Great post, Asia has taught me so many lessons too! I love number nineteen, there have been times when I’m totally chinad out but everything does happen for a reason and for now I’m meant to b here!

  • Happy travel anniversary! Great list which brings back lots of memories from my travels around Asia. Particularly agree on the bits about less is more – I travel part-time now and try to balance seeing new places with spending enough time in each to get a proper feel for it rather than just ticking them off.

    • It’s definitely much better to travel slow and see more places. I will switch my full-time travels into part-time as well in September :).

  • I wonder why I read this post so late! Very good post. Very inspiring! I agree two people (male and female) can be friends and travel together without being physically attracted to each other. Keep traveling and keep bringing on such wonderful tales.

  • Hi Agness, thanks for sharing things that you’ve learned being on the road. It’s a wonderful read. I believe it’s important to be honest and being yourself. When you are, it reflects in your blog. I think that’s why I’m drawn to your blog because it comes out very genuine. Its also true that we have to believe that people are good in general, because if we can’t trust no travels will be enjoyable. I can see the hard works you put into your blog and I’m happy you’re reaping the reward. I wish you all the very best and more success and a lot more great experiences in your traveling career.

    • Thank you guys!!! I always get a lot of positive energy from you and your travel experience is so impressive that I wish I could get that far in the future!

  • I think it is awesome that you are honest – everything isn’t always going to be a good experience, plus you will be saving others from being in a similar situation! I admire that you are able to travel on such little money – I think that’s incredible! And you are able to travel with your best friend! I’m so fortunate that I came across your blog and I’m a regular reader of it now!

    • Hi Lauren.

      I’m glad to hear that. Yes, people who know me personally always say I am way too honest and straightforward, but that’s the way I am :).

  • Sounds like you’ve learnt a lot! Will definitely be keeping a lot of this in mind when I embark on my travels :) Surprised to hear you’re not a native English speaker, you’re spelling and grammar is better than mine!

  • Dear Agness, what a wonderful post! Congratulations for 3 years of travel and blogging. It really is so much work and like you said, quite exhausting. But a life of travel is worth all the sleepy days and even homesickness. I completely admire your commitment to only spending $25 a day! That must take some serious dedication.! :)

    • Hi Karisa,

      Thank you for stopping by and kind words. It’s quite exhausting, indeed, but also so rewarding! Wishing you happy travels xx

  • So many parallels between your travels and mine! What an excellent round up. I’m looking forward to crossing paths with you one day, Agness! :-)

  • Such an amazing list! As a fellow blogger I really enjoyed reading your honesty in #11 and #12. So true! And I particularly loved #22 and #25. Sooo tiring! Good work on 3 years. After 2 years we’re taking a small break, but we’ll be back into it soon enough! Love the blog!

  • This is such an honest and beautiful post. I kept thinking how amazing it is that while traveling you learn more than in any other situation. I feel like a better person everyday while traveling. All the experiences you have while traveling can really stay forever. I loved the part about food, for me it’s such a big part of getting to know a new country. It’s so exciting to order a dish in a restaurant without having any clue what it’s gonna be…
    The bigest lesson I learn while traveling is not to judge. Just accept that every person/culture/country is different and you should open your heart to let all the beauty come inside and fill you with happiness.

    • Yes, travelling is a constant learning and you can discover yourself and get more independent! I love your “no judge” lesson experience from the road! :)

  • You covered a lot of bases here, Agness. Can’t think of anything to add at the moment. It’s so true that traveling offers all kinds of life lessons, if we just pay attention. I really like your point of smiles speaking all languages. Happy travels and new learning experiences.

  • Great list!! And I agree with you that long-term travel is absolutely a full time. And yes, teaching English is very hard!!! I love your honesty and hope it continues – the times when the food ISN’T great and the people AREN’T nice are much more interesting anyway. And great point about taxi/tuk tuk drivers – wherever I’ve been in Asia, the main problems I’ve had have always been with these fine gents! (And a handful of ladies)

  • Fantastic blog! I agree with all of it. One thing I must say is that being able to fund your travel by blogging – that is seriously a dream come true! How did you do it?
    thanks for sharing Agness!

    Andrew

    • Hi Andrew.

      Thanks for the kind words. I’m teaching some English in Dongguan, China at the moment. That’s my main source of income, but I do earn some money from blogging so I can afford my travels here in Asia. If you have more questions, shoot me an e-mail.

  • It sounds a bit weird to say this, but I feel so proud for you! I guess because of the nature of blogging, we have shared so many of your experiences along the way, and we have felt a real connection with your journey. You write so well, and share so much of what you do with such integrity – good on you! Congratulations on a full 3 years spent in Asia – what a way to spend three years!

    How long will you be back in Europe for? Any plans yet?

    • Hi Tim!

      I feel you and your blog! For some reason, I get an impression we have so much in common and I can’t wait to meet you. I’m back home soon, but I will email you with all the details :).

  • Love this post, Agness! So many great lessons here! And I love that the Chinese think you’re an American. I can just imagine you trying to explain that over an over. My tailor in Shanghai thought I was from England and I just went with it :-)

  • Agness,

    While you traveled 3 years in Asia, I spent 3 years in Eastern Europe.

    The result?

    Same lessons!

    I agree 100%. Well written. I can’t believe you’re not a native speaker!

    Your best lesson for bloggers is to be honest, even if it’s critical. My most popular articles on my website are the most critical. Google “El Camino Santiago” and you’ll see my article that blasts the trail that everyone says is so fantastic. Be contrarian – especially if it’s your honest opinion.

    Also, if you think Asians can’t believe that you and Cez aren’t married, try Africa. It’s utterly hopeless. I traveled a week with a platonic blond friend called Nikki. We quickly declared we were married. We just gave in. She liked it anyway because then African men would not hit on her constantly. I guess there are benefits to being married. :D

  • Hii Agness

    Its awesome you traveling a lot & living your dream. Traveling teaches a lot and best part is you get to know more about yourself. Meeting different people, get to know other cultures, stepping into new environment, exploring places, this is called life. One should never stop traveling. Its learning. I love traveling & exploring new places a lot. For me sometimes its the journey that matters more then the destination.

    Keep Exploring.Enjoy your Journey:)

    • Hi Sachin,

      You are so right about how much you can learn when travelling. It’s so addictive that I don’t know if I could ever stop exploring the world. Thanks for your positive thoughts and energy.

      Keep being awesome and travel far!

      Love,

      Agness

  • Great article as always! I love how you mentioned that everything always works out in the end and that is so true. I made a goal to myself to start actively blogging when only a few days later I broke my computer charger and there were no internet cafe’s at all.

    Here I am, after taking a month long electronics free vacation (which was amazing!) and am back at it.

    So many issue come up while traveling and they always work out for the best. Your writing and your blog is still one of my absolute favorites! Keep up the great work!

    • Awesome! Keep up the hard work Dave and you will see how it all pays off :). Electronics…. I hate it when I travel… there are always some problems with my laptop :-/

  • Wow, what a beautiful post. Really touching and inspiring at the same time! Really, really enjoyed it! Which country in Asia do you like most? Also, I’m heading to Sri Lanka soon, any tips?

  • Thanks for the awesome and well thought-out post. Wow, 3 years on the road. I bet in hindsight it doesn’t feel like 3 years at all. Or at least that’s how it works for me.

    As I’m closing in on 1 year, I can already feel many of these lessons becoming second nature for me. Learning about the world is my #1 reason for traveling so I hope to see myself stumbling upon all of the lessons you’ve included here. Cheers Agness!

    • Hey Matt! Congratulations on your 1 year in Asia and I wish you a lot of adventures and unforgettable moments on the road :-).

  • Good publish Agness! Well done. Thanks for discussing the useful session that yoy get from your longday journey, that is s ideal conclusion to motivate anyone and help them begin thinking and traveling like you ! Thanks for sharing.

  • Not all the taxi drivers and tuk-tuk drivers cannot be trusted. Some of them are rewarded because of their honesty. One taxi driver return a bag that full of dollars and expensive accessories to his one foreign passenger. He went to the one TV station in the Philippines and reported what he found.

    • Thanks for mentioning that. I had bad experiences with taxi drivers and tuk-tuk drivers :-(, but I am glad your experience was different :-).

  • I’m still working on #1! I am the world’s WORST over-packer. Every time I come back from a trip home, my parents take me to the airport and end up taking half my things back home because my suitcase is too heavy haha.

    I feel the same way about you about homesickness – it does get harder over time, which is odd, because you’d expect it to get easier.

    By the way, honesty is one of the reasons I love reading your blog! It’s wonderful to read about all parts of travel, the good AND the bad.

    • Jessica, I used to be hopeless at packing, but it comes with practice. I managed to travel with less than 10 kg small backpack when travelling in the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia!

  • This Agness if chock full of greatness. Awesome tidbits about life on the road and very honest. Completely agree about the Tuk Tuk and taxis! Haven’t learned how to pack light yet. Traveling has definitely taught me how to be open and myself. Best point to make as a blogger — honesty with your readers! I strive for this and I think it’s the most important thing, way more than sugarcoating things. And though I haven’t begun teaching yet, I sis teach 8 classes in my training and wow was it hard. But so very fun!

    Great article!

    • Hi Ryan!

      Many thanks for such a great comment! Yes, I’ve learnt a lot and I am also honest :). You should definitely try to teach in China, absolutely awesome place for inexperienced people :).

  • Hi Agness, I really like this post. You’ve really done a fabulous job and congratulations on your three year anniversary. we could all learn something from your book. Yay!
    What have I learnt during my travels? Keep smiling!!
    The hotel I booked had literally disappeared. Keep smiling.
    I had to sleep at the train station ‘cos I missed my nightbus. Keep smiling.
    I got mugged by a couple of street kids. Keep smiling.
    I forgot the name of my expensive hotel. For goodness sake, keep smiling.
    Thanks for sharing. :)

    • Hi Victoria.

      Many thanks for such positive attitude and kind words! SMILE SPEAKS ANY LANGUAGE, true :)?

  • Hi,
    I raed some pages of your blog and I really have to say that some of your words and thought are inspiring. I also like to travel, and i also try to spend less many and see not only the touristic part of the country.
    I wish you the best and I hope you always enjoy ur life
    greatings from Italy

  • What a neat post, Agness! I had to laugh at #24, I bet questions from strangers must be tiring as heck. :) And the part about people coming and going sure brought on some nostalgia… Sometimes I wish I could still be in touch with nice folks I met while traveling, but I’ve learned to appreciate the time we spent together. Maybe that’s all there has to be. Oh, and packing light – that goes for every freaking trip, and I learned that the hard way too.

  • Your article hit the center. Great stuff. Ive been travelling for over a year on this trip-and it is not the first long time trip i do, and from my own experience i can say everything you write is correct.

  • I never really understood all those “all good no bad” travel blogs anyway. Why is it so important that they have to convince everyone else that they made the perfect choice to give up everything else and go wanderlust? If I become a travel blogger, I will be “all bad no good” to deter everyone else from doing what I do to keep the crowds away and prices down in the travel destinations :P

  • Another wonderful post, Agness! I especially like lesson #11 on not to compare yourself to others. It’s so easy to feel intimidated when looking at established blogs, but that kind of thinking will get you nowhere. We’re better off finding strenght within ourselves.

  • Hi Agness,
    I came across your blog by accident while searching info about Poland. Am planning to go to Wroclaw- 1st stop in amsterdam. FYI, am Malaysian;). Your writings inspired me a lot. It will be good if i can get some info about Poland/wroclaw from you. And do pray for me to meet my long lost friend who is polish;). See ya!

  • Always the happiness and the beauty will lie in the simple things, it is awesome to travel like you do, you sleep where you can, and you spend under $50/day.
    I want to do that myself, to feel free and be happy.

  • I can totally relate to “Less is more”. I had to learn it the hard way, of course. I used to be the kind of traveller who started preparing for the upcoming travel TWO WEEKS in advance. Crazy, isn’t it. God, I even packed 5 pairs of shoes along with shoe dryers. Can you imagine that?
    Now when I don’t sweat it so much, traveling has become much more enjoyable.

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