50 things I’ve learned after visiting 50 countries

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I was 18 when I first embarked on a solo journey. Since then I’ve visited 50 countries. Every time I stepped into a new country, or visited it again, I’ve always tried to put myself as close as possible to the local culture and customs (literally). Today, when someone asks where I am from, I just can’t give one word answer. The truth is simple: your country of birth has very little influence regarding your true identity.

Even if someone might not have traveled as much, or is not even interested in getting to know other cultures, you will only get to know who you really are if you let go of your roots.

The moment you do so, your beliefs, which were once influenced by 3rd parties (national history, taught religion, geographic boundaries, media sensationalism, your parents…) will take a different shape. Traveling will teach you how to question yourself.  It will teach you how to paint your very own reality of the world. The most life can ever offer us is personal experience! You can also travel to different cultures within your own city or state, for example. You will be amazed how much diversity is just a few miles away. So here are the top 50 life lessons I’ve learned after visiting 50 countries.

 

  1. To value experience more than things… but it was this one time when I wished to have a mosquito net.
  2. To stay present… put down the phone and enjoy the moment. 
  3. To ask questions… forget what your mama told you. Do talk to strangers!
  4. To listen… silent is spelled with the same letters. 
  5. To observe… without trying to change. 
  6. To be tolerant… taxi drivers are the best exercise.
  7. To be proactive… go out and earn it. 
  8. To never compare… differences make life unique. 
  9. To be alone… be your best friend. 
  10. To feel at home anywhere… being home is a mindset. 
  11. To love world cuisine… try first before asking what it is.
  12. To be confident… yet humble.
  13. To smile in confusion… palm readers in India are true visionaries.
  14. To be lost in translation… if ever lost, follow a dog.
  15. To accept shelter from a stranger… before Airbnb, it was more exciting. 
  16. To pack extra to be given away… once I left Cuba with no more than the clothe on my body.
  17. To appreciate diversity… Singapore wins in all counts.  
  18. To tell stories… once upon a time I was a mermaid.
  19. To speak 5 languages… otherwise do the chicken dance to order chicken noodle soup in Laos.
  20. To say “ I don’t know”… but never too lazy to think. 
  21. To trust the unknown… except monkeys in Thailand.
  22. To make mistakes… very very clever ones. 
  23. To speak kindly… “could you please” are magical words. 
  24. To take time… if you are enjoying it, there’s not need to hurry. 
  25. To skip planning… dreaming after all is a form of planning. 
  26. To budget… accounting while traveling sucks (period).  
  27. To drop stereotypes… not all Brazilians can dance.
  28. To leave my comfort zone… did you know I am scared of flying? 
  29. To rely on others… kindness is contagious. 
  30. To dress respectfully… stay classy ladies.
  31. To be socially aware… volunteer at least once a year.
  32. To absorb history… aaah Italy!
  33. To love geography… hit the road!
  34. To be an anthropologist… there’s beauty in madness.
  35. To forget my nationality… impossible during the World Cup.
  36. To have fun anywhere… avoid getting drunk on long-haul flights though. 
  37. To be a social butterfly… and there she goes.
  38. To meet locals… they are the best trip advisors. 
  39. To act upon my dreams… work to travel, travel to work. 
  40. To be adventurous… nothing kills me more than routine.
  41. To cherish simplicity… barefoot and free, thats the life for me! 
  42. To love world music… once in Mexico I fell in love with Herbert Grönemeyer.
  43. To care about world news… the shortest way to see the world. 
  44. To discover an underwater world… Bahamas mama. 
  45. To connect to nature… a true source of energy. 
  46. To rest… with a few glasses of Amarone. 
  47. To follow my guts… carefully listen to safety warnings. 
  48. To not care about results… “you can not travel the path until you have become the path yourself.”
  49. To say goodbye… still hard. 
  50. To keep on traveling… go back to number 1. 
No tags 9
34 Responses
  • Heidy
    January 12, 2016

    Amazing layout , interesting content and stunning pictures!

  • Alexis
    January 13, 2016

    So inspirational. I wish to travel as much.

  • Chloe
    January 13, 2016

    Looooove this. Specially numbers 14 and 19. It has substance and its super funny. Cant wait for your next posts.

  • Hailey
    January 13, 2016

    Zen Salad! I love the tittle you gave for the different categories. Beautiful design! Awesome read!

  • Alyssa
    January 13, 2016

    I want to go travel with youuuuuu.

  • Sydney
    January 13, 2016

    “Traveling will teach you how to question yourself. It will teach you how to paint your very own reality of the world.” POWERFUL.

  • Emma
    January 13, 2016

    Congrats!

  • Mia
    January 13, 2016

    This is great. I’ve been following you for a while. So happy to see your blog LIVE.

  • Brianna
    January 13, 2016

    Great content. Cant wait for more.

  • Morgan
    January 13, 2016

    Could you write a post about affordable destinations? I am still a student, don’t have much cash. I’d love to go places you have been. Whats your favorite “reasonable” destination?

  • Lily
    January 13, 2016

    Whaaaaat? You are scared of flying? Me too. That’s why I don’t go anywhere. How do you do it?

  • Kaylee
    January 13, 2016

    Everything you do is always so beautiful. You are so inspirational and substantial. Love you.

  • Maria
    January 13, 2016

    Mango, this list is so powerful. Thank you.

  • Faith
    January 13, 2016

    I’ve been to 32 countries and I totally agree with everything you listed. Traveling has taught me way more than any higher education. Happy to follow your blog.

  • Zoe
    January 13, 2016

    I want to travel so bad. This list is incredible.

  • Jenna
    January 13, 2016

    Bien fait!

  • Alexa
    January 13, 2016

    Life isn’t about getting and having, it’s about giving and being. You do it just as it’s supposed to be. Great share!

  • Maya
    January 13, 2016

    “Home is a mindset” -mango butterfly <3

  • Claire
    January 13, 2016

    I had to share this. Please keep it coming!

  • Steven
    January 13, 2016

    you hot!

  • Sierra
    January 13, 2016

    HA-HA-HA : To be lost in translation… if ever lost, follow a dog.

  • Erin
    January 13, 2016

    “Traveling will teach you how to question yourself. It will teach you how to paint your very own reality of the world.”

  • Brea
    January 13, 2016

    I know what you mean with budging while traveling sucks. I went to Europe last year and ran out of money on my first week. I didn’t know Switzerland would be so damm expensive. I saw on your IG you go there a lot. How can you afford?

  • Izabella
    January 13, 2016

    Great life lessons but I can’t afford to travel. 🙁

  • Miley
    January 13, 2016

    You were here? How did you like Singapore? We just celebrated our 50 years independence. Please come back soon.

  • Liz
    January 13, 2016

    Your blog is B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L

  • Evelin
    January 13, 2016

    <3 <3 <3

  • Caila
    January 13, 2016

    Thanks for making my day. I was super sad when I woke up. This list gave me so much hope. <3

  • Angelica
    January 13, 2016

    The only guy’s comments has to be: you hot! hahahha!

  • Rosemarie
    January 13, 2016

    J’adore ton style , ton blog, ta personalité; t’es vraiment super 😀

  • Carla
    January 13, 2016

    Linda. Muito bonito o seu blog. 🙂

  • Salome
    January 13, 2016

    I follow a few traveling blogs, but yours is so much more refreshing, easy to hear and funny. It has quality and humor. Wish you all the best! Keep on traveling.

  • Kim
    January 13, 2016

    Do you have a favorite destination?

  • Pomegranatenoir
    May 30, 2016

    Hi mangobutterfly. It was lovely to meet you yesterday in the Street Food Festival, and to enjoy some very nice ramen thanks to your recommendation. Now, we’re looking forward to trying the rest of the list!
    Talking about Hong Kong, a couple of places come to my mind: Tim Ho Wan, their BBQ buns are something to die for; and the Dinasty restaurant, delicious dim sum in an elegant place. For a more local experience, cross the island, go to Aberdeen or Ap Lei Chau and try one of their local fish restaurants. Not much English on the menu but amazing fresh fish cooked the traditional way.
    Enjoy your next trip wherever the compass takes you!

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