Here are a few more traveling tips that will make living abroad more fun and meaningful.
Always keep a journal! Your trip will then last forever.
I was reading my journal, and I realize that one of the biggest advantages of all my traveling has been the friendships I have made. Living in another country allows an opportunity for meeting and learning from people of various cultures. I have lived in Ecuador for six years, and before that I visited over 15 different countries. In each country that I’ve visited I’ve made a point to connect with the people who live there, and I’ve always ended up making great friends and learning so much from them.
Give freely without expectation.
(Left) Two friends who live in Guaranda, Ecuador. They have learned Kichwa, and are originally from Korea and Japan, respectively. I have never been to Asia, but in Ecuador I have met several people from this continent.
From my dear Korean friend I have learned that if I give freely without expectation I will receive in many different ways. She is one of the most generous people I know; she gives wholeheartedly. In addition, she always tells me to take care of my health because with good health I will be able to help others.
She has also taught me how to do a body cleanse every year and eat healthy every day. I definitely have a lot more energy because of this practice, so she is a great influence.
Study hard. Your efforts will pay off.
From my Japanese friend I have learned that it truly pays to study hard. Since coming to Ecuador I’ve learned to fluently speak Spanish and Kichwa. That was not easy, but my friend was very helpful. She speaks seven languages and started learning Kichwa the same time that I did. In watching her I realize that if I put forth the effort, I will be blessed. She learns new languages in order to help others, and that has inspired me to remain committed so that I can do the same for someone else.
Learn about tradition and culture.
An Ecuadorian family tradition is making humitas. It takes the entire family all day to make them. When visiting a friend (far left) that lives in the northern part of Ecuador in a city called Atuntaqui, we made humitas.
When making humitas, first you have to grind the corn. This is done manually and requires a lot of strength, so this is what the men do all morning. When they finish the women gather in the kitchen to mix the ingredients and stuff the corn husks.
I loved being a part of this tradition because it is a time when the whole family is together, talking and laughing. A big part of the Ecuadorian culture is the closeness of family. The house is always filled with grandchildren, in-laws, and a lot of noise.
Even though I am from another country every time I visit I am instantly made to feel like a part of the family; this usually means a lot of eating! I have learned the importance of family from these experiences, and that no matter how far they are from me, to stay close to them and keep sharing in their lives.
Be willing to learn from all age groups.
Not all of my friends are adults. Children are wonderful to have in your life, and I have learned to relax, have fun, and be patient from them. They have their own problems, but they see the positive side of everything. I like inviting children over to my house just to play (those are my stuffed animals that you see in the photo below!).
Open your mind to new experiences!
It is so nice to meet people from all over the world because it helps us to open our minds. I encourage everyone to be open to new experiences and listen to others as they share their experiences. At the end of the day, you will have gained some great lasting friendships.
Erika is the Travel Contributor for the Phoenix Rising Collective. She is an English as a Foreign Language Teacher, who lives in Cuenca, Ecuador. To express her passion for sharing her traveling and cultural experiences, she shares a verse from her spiritual practice, “Jehovah himself gives the saying; the women telling the good news are a large army.”(Psalm 68:11) Furthermore, “why should women travel the world? Learning about women of all different cultures all around the world helps us to become connected and understand ourselves better. Many women around the world don’t understand their true worth, we must help and love each other.”