The Lessons I Learned in 2011

At the beginning of 2011, I wrote a post very similar to this one, about The Lessons I learned in 2010. At that point in time, it was a post I really wanted to write, however it was also a post limited by a year that I only made good use of in the second six months. Now I am looking back at the year that I have just experienced and want to expand on two area’s.

The first area is the lessons that I have learned in 2011, as there are a few. But I also want to look back at how some of the lessons I learned in 2010, have developed into greater lessons this year. You will also notice that I am sharing this a little bit earlier then the post for 2010 which I shared in January. This year I am sharing it earlier, because of one of the lessons I learned, and this exact process is a really good example of the lesson, so read on to find out more.

Lesson 1: Travel Often, Near and Far

Getting to see the world that we live in beyond the shore of where we live is a fantastic experience. The thing to remember is that you do not always have to cross oceans to have some of the most amazing experiences. Although it can still be well worth it to cross oceans.

I learned this lesson best only in the last week, when I took my third trip of the year, which instead of travelling to Canada or Hawaii, was to Melbourne Australia. Just a short two hour trip by plane. But in another way as well, I also learned this less earlier in the year when I travelled to Seattle, USA for a few days. Let me relate quickly the experiences that I enjoyed, and to be honest this is the reason why it is good to Travel Often, Near and Far.

By plane, Melbourne is just 2 hours from Brisbane, once you arrive in Melbourne, there is a tour you can take down to a small Island by the name of Phillip Island. This island is full of opportunities to experience wildlife, and in particular one of the largest colonies of Little Penguins in the world. A visit to the Phillip Island Penguin Parade is an amazing experience. (You can read about my own experience here)

Around two hours south of Seattle, WA in the United States is Mt Rainier. This was my second time visiting Mt Rainier in less then 12 months, however it was a very different experience both times. On the first visit the mountainside was covered in wild flowers, without much hint of the effects that winter has on this area. While on my second visit it was vastly different, even though it was actually a warmer time of year, it was not much different location to my last visit where I was walking around snow and ice left from the past winter. A first time experience that amazed me, where I was walking through snow and ice in shorts and a t-shirt.

Lesson 2: Plan, Execute, Review and Adjust

This is as much a play on Take Action if ever there was one. I have found more and more that you need to plan, plan, plan as much as possible to really be sure that anything you want to get moving is going to move in the right direction. However the biggest lesson I learnt here is that it does not matter how much you plan if you do not execute then nothing happens.

In the same breath though you really need to follow these four steps in order, or at least the steps you are going to follow need to be in this order. This lesson I learnt in attempting to organise a trip to visit Europe. I put the execution first booking flights and a cruise before doing any other planning. This ultimately led to getting a little to close to the travel date and having nothing booked or planned except for the flights and cruise. Not the way that I have found I like to travel. As such it was a lesson I learned through spending more money to move the flights and such.

In all cases getting these four in order I believe is essential, and it is a lesson I am glad that I have learned. If you start with the planning, before putting anything into execution, you can get a much better start. Just the same once you have put the time into getting the planning and execution right, you need to review your progress. Of course finally the whole point of reviewing your progress is to analyse if the path you are taking is the right one or not. If it is the wrong path you need to adjust accordingly, however even if it is the right path, there still may be ways that you can adjust it to be even better.

Lesson 3: Don’t Book Anything On Impulse

For me this year, this lesson is specifically in relation to travel planning. However it is something that could quite easily be applied to many different areas of life. Booking things on impulse, while it may seem to be the easiest way to get something started and force you to take action, it can also be the quickest way to cause problems. Which coincidently is exactly what happened for me.

Before heading out on my first trip for the year, I had this great idea to book some parts of the second trip I had in my mind before I left. This was in my mind at the time a way to create action to get things started. Well it really did not work out that way. I end up returning from my first trip with barely two months until the next trip booked, and almost completely unmotivated to look at planning anything, still getting over the trip I just finished.

As a result things just did not get started, and I end up learning this lesson fully when I decided to change the flights and the cruise and pay for the change. It did not end up being quite as bad as it could have been, in the end only needing to pay about $500 to change two flights and buy a new flight to get to the start of the cruise. However it could have been much worse, if I had not been able to change the cruise, that could have been $1200 out of pocket as well.

A lesson learned though and something that I am going to try and avoid repeating any time soon. Or at least not to this extent.

Lesson 4: How To Make It Through Airport Security In One Pass

This is not such a bit life lesson, as it is a lesson in how to save time in an Airport. Having clocked up 16 flights in the US and Australia plus another 12 last year. I knew that there was something I would need to do to make it a quicker and easier process getting through security at the airport.

Basically it comes down to prepping for security. After I check my bag, I make my way for the toilets or some area that is not overly busy. Here I get anything and everything that may contain metal and put it into y backpack. This includes Wallet, Phone, Coins, Belt, Money Belt, etc. Then I head for the security screening, and this leaves the only thing to come out of the bag and be separate from being inside my bag as my laptop. Depending on the airport (or country) You may have to remove your shoes, and generally your jacket. But the biggest thing this avoids is scrambling on the other side of the metal detector to get everything out of the tray while others are banking up behind you. Especially things like coins and that make this really difficult at times.

Learn Lessons and Build Yourself

The whole point of living and experiencing life is to learn lessons, and build yourself personally. It is no surprise that this year these four lessons have come from experiences in Travel, considering that I spent almost 4 full months away from home.

I am sure that there are other lessons that I have learned, however just cannot think of them at the moment, and since this post is running a little long will share them shortly as I come to think of them.

The one thing to remember in all of this is that everything you do can be a lesson. It does not have to be in a school or classroom, but can be anywhere, at work, at home or on the other side of the world. Just remember, Always be open to learning things and gaining new experiences.

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