In one year traveling around the world, we have learned an awful lot, but here are 99 lessons that we think will stick with us:
1. The world is huge. I mean, really, really huge. Bigger than our minds can imagine.
3. Potato chips are sold everywhere.
4. Ham and cheese flavored potato chips tastes just like a ham and cheese sandwich.
5. Quality of internet has no correlation to socioeconomic status of a country.
7. A forty-five minute train connection is not possible in China.
8. Thailand is the Land of a Thousand Smiles.
9. We are braver and stronger than we expected.
10. We are weaker and dumber than we expected.
11. Chewy and Abby are our hearts and souls. We can’t live without them.
12. Squat toilets are more hygienic than Western-style toilets in public restrooms.
13. Douglas Adams was right: the towel is the most useful piece of gear for a backpacker.
14. Tofu is amazing.
15. Nothing causes a traffic jam quite like a cow in the middle of a busy Indian street.
16. There is a whole beautiful world beneath the waves.
17. Kids are kids everywhere.
18. Waving at kids by the side of the street never gets boring.
19. The cruelty of a few can ruin the lives of the many.
20. But, the vast, vast majority of people are good.
21. Wearing the same four pairs of pants week after week isn’t as bad as it sounds (unless you choose not to wash them.)
22. Laundry sucks. Always. Laundry always sucks (unless you have a husband to do it for you.)
24. Things disappear in the mind but memories of moments linger.
25. “Close” in New Zealand is about a thirty minute longer walk than “close” in the United States.
26. It is entirely possible to take too many photos.
28. It is okay to not see everything and do everything.
29. Sometimes, you need to take a vacation from your travels and just do nothing.
30. It is entirely normal to feel like you are in a life-sized MarioKart game when sitting in the back of a tuk-tuk weaving through traffic.
31. Our parents are more awesome, encouraging, and open-minded than we have ever given them credit for before.
32. Amazingly, we rarely get bored with each other.
33. Patrick is terrible at accents but he tries anyway.
34. Patrick is a celebrity in Asia; he has taken more pictures with Asian tourists than he can remember.
35. Sleep and a good meal can cure an otherwise horrible day.
36. When all else fails, a meal is never further than the nearest convenience store.
37. Food is the great uniter. Everyone, everywhere, eats.
38. Language is the great divider. But, smiles and hand signals can usually get you what you need.
40. You haven’t really eaten Chinese food unless you’ve eaten it in China.
41. Not all guidebooks are created equal.
42. Luxury and poverty are relative terms.
43. Having an en-suite bathroom is luxury.
44. Being able to drink pure clean tap water is decadent.
45. Never leave home without toilet paper, especially in Asia.
48. Grilled kangaroo tail is as unappetizing as it sounds.
49. Koalas are even more cute than you think they are.
51. Our homeland is as unique as those places we fawn over in travel blogs and magazines.
52. You can’t boast that you’ll eat anything until you’ve been offered fried cockroaches on the streets of Chiang Mai.
54. Television watching reduces by orders of magnitude when traveling but you won’t even miss it (except for LOST).
55. It is possible to travel the world as a vegetarian and not starve.
56. Street markets should be required stops for every traveler who wants to eat good food.
57. Pantene Pro-V is the hair product of choice across the world.
60. The fastest way to get from Point A to Point B is often not the most interesting.
61. The cost of sunscreen has a direct correlation with how much you will need it.
62. The golden rule of restaurant choice generally holds true: the less people in the restaurant, the less delicious the food.
64. Necessity is the mother of invention.
65. Meeting other travelers can be as fun and informative as meeting the local people.
67. But, Americans travel for less time or to fewer places than those travelers from Europe and Australia.
68. Two weeks is not enough vacation time.
69. Portable chairs in China are not weight-tested for American males.
70. The Great Barrier Reef is as great as everyone says.
71. Gazing at the Milky Way makes you feel both insignificant and important in this universe.
72. Your life is what you decide it is going to be.
73. That is because there are as many ways to live a life as there are people in the world.
75. American marshmallows are hands-down the best marshmallows in the world.
76. Getting Akila out of bed in the morning is like pulling teeth.
78. Despite thirty years of research and innumerable ad campaigns, this is still a smokers’ world.
79. There are things more important than traveling; there are reasons to come home.
80. While doing as the locals do will help enrich your travels, urinating on the side of the street is not a necessary requirement.
82. Cell phones, internet, and television shrink the world.
83. But, visiting a place and meeting people expands your world and theirs.
84. Keep your temper in Thailand . . . and, for that matter, the rest of the world.
85. The true meaning of bat out of hell is a baby lamb waiting to be fed.
87. Wooden toads are the most annoying souvenirs ever created.
88. Australian security thinks decorative boomerangs can be used to take over a plane.
89. Traveling and making money are not mutually exclusive.
90. Jumping into canyons is way more fun than it sounds.
91. The deliciousness of American fast food restaurants is proportional to the distance away from their home location.
92. Despite its demise in the United States, Kentucky Fried Chicken is the king of fast food across the world.
93. Locking suitcases and computer equipment makes good sense whether staying in a five star hotel or a basic backpackers.
95. Racial diversity does not always mean racial integration.
96. International politics is more complicated than any newspaper makes it out to be.
98. It is a lot easier to come up with 99 lessons learned than 100 lessons learned.
99. And, last but certainly not least: The world is a good place and there are good people here. Including you.