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20 World Travel Truths I Will Teach My Kids

Twenty years ago, I went backpacking around the Pacific on a trip that covered eight countries in 11 months. On the anniversary of that trip, as a mother living in the suburbs, I'm thinking about what I learned on that trip and the pearls of wisdom I hope to pass on to my little ones if they ever decide to embark on a similar crazy adventure.

Actually, it's kind of good advice for life.

1. Staying in a hostel isn’t like staying at the Four Seasons. At all. But it’s an awesome way to meet fascinating people. But do it while you’re young and your body can take the sparse accommodations.

2. A little dirt, fungus and mildew from communal living never hurt anyone.

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3. Hot showers are a luxury. So is showering daily. In most places around the world, neither of those things are the norm. Get used to body odor.

4. Food from other places won’t always look and taste like what you’re used to. When you’re traveling, be adventurous. It usually tastes like chicken, anyway.

5. You can fit a lot more into a backpack or any other piece of luggage if you pack it properly.

6. Generally speaking, soap is soap is soap. If it can clean your body, it can clean your clothes. And probably your dishes, too.

7. Bad things can happen anywhere, including a remote island in Malaysia or your own backyard.

8. Get to know your surroundings quickly. If you’re unsure about something, use a gut check, hone your intuition and call home.

9. Travel within your budget. You can have lots of fun — for free — by simply walking around and exploring a new place.

10. Doing it is almost always better than watching it on TV.

Finding yourself by wandering around the world in your 20s sounds cliché. But it’s seriously underrated.

11. You really don’t need to constantly keep up with all the latest movies, TV shows, video games or gadgets. Really.

12. If you skydive or bungee jump early in your life, you’ll be better able to confront your fears later on.

13. Eleanor Roosevelt was right when she said to do something that scares you everyday. But don't compromise your principles or your safety.

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14. Spend time in a coastal city so you can enjoy the beautiful scenery, moderate climate and wonders of the sea.

15. There will be people in your life who you only meet one time, briefly. But you’ll remember them for the rest of your life.

16. There will be some things in your life that you only see once. But you’ll always have an image of them engrained in your memory.

17. Whenever possible, take the time to use words, paint, magazine clippings, canvas, or anything else that inspires you to capture moments you don’t want to forget.

18. There will be times in your life when you’ll have plenty of time to read and think. Do lots of both.

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19. If you decide to wander around the world, keep in close touch with people who love you, especially if you’re thousands of miles away.

20. Finding yourself by wandering around the world in your 20s sounds cliché. But it’s seriously underrated. Everyone should do it (and your mom may even join you halfway through your trip).

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Image via Twenty20/alihanstagram

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