I woke up today and there was a trail of ants covering my backpack. Further inspection led me to realize that they were actually inside of my backpack. Curiosity then showed me that in fact, they were inside of a bag, inside of my backpack.

It took me an hour to get rid of all of them. I had to unpack my entire bag, shake it all out and even then there were still a few stray ants roaming about.

They were in my clothes, my shower bag, my hair brush, everything.

I’m going to average out that there were six hundred to one thousand ants inhabiting my bag. Two months ago I would have FREAKED out.

I would have thrown my bag to the side and had absolutely no idea how to handle this situation. Tears would probably have been shed and it wouldn’t have been a pretty sight to see.

Today, I didn’t question it. I saw the ants, pulled my bag outside, opened it to find more ants, took everything out and started to shake out everything inside. I sprayed my bag with insect repellent, repacked it, put it back where I found it this morning (I also gave the ground a good spray) and when about my day.

Eight hours later, I realized that two months ago I wouldn’t have even recognized myself.

Forty days of travel has taught me some incredible lessons. It has shown me what is really worthy of a freak out (maybe a snake in my bed) and what is not. I no longer complain about my hair being frizzy or sweating the second I get out of the shower. To me, it’s just become a part of my everyday routine and there is a massive mental power in that.

Without these five weeks of travel I would have stayed stagnant. I wouldn’t be growing into the emotionally intelligent, professional multitasker and overall badass mold that I’m suddenly starting to fit.

Here are the five lessons that forty days of travel have taught me:

  1. Getting uncomfortable is key to survival. When you are uncomfortable, you are leveling up. You are accessing a part of you that you didn’t realize even existed. Yesterday I took a boat and four public buses through Costa Rica by myself. I had to speak Spanish in order to buy my tickets and hope that I was getting on the right bus. No, it didn’t feel great at the time but now I can look back and realize how much potential is inside of me. I’ve unlocked an entirely new area within myself by getting out of my comfort zone and doing something I have never, ever done before.
  2. Let it go. You’re going to be sweaty. You’re going to be dirty. And, at one point, you’re going to fall in love with it. At first being dirty is really uncomfortable and you can’t stop thinking about the drops of sweat pouring down between your boobs. Then, there comes a point where you totally forget it is even happening. The same goes for our lives as we encounter difficult situations that we think are never going to end. Instead, let it go. If it’s meant to be happening than it is and who are you to determine fate? Embrace it even when you’re asking yourself, “Why me?!”
  3. Your appearance means nothing. There’s no such thing as hair dryers and curling irons in Central America. It’s usually so hot that your hair doesn’t even completely dry even after a day of being out in the sun. As somebody who takes pride in their appearance, I learned quickly what it meant to say good bye to my anxiety around always having to look good. What happened? I realized that it didn’t matter. I didn’t have to look good to make friends. I had friends that loved me for exactly who I was. Guys were still stopping me on the street to tell me I was beautiful even when my hair was a rats nest on top of my head. Your appearance means nothing, your energy means everything.
  4. You are not alone. It’s true. Meeting new people from all over the world that are all different ages will show you that you are not the only one with those thoughts, that memory or your terrible break up. Most of the time you realize somebody has had it way worse than you and you end up thanking the high heavens that your problems are so minute in comparison. There is somebody out there struggling just are you are and that in some weird way is a relief.
  5. Whatever you put your mind to, you can achieve. Seriously, anything. All it takes is the focus to get yourself there and the determination to stay consistent when you are. If you decide that you want to be a blogger, focus on your end goal of starting a blog and stay determined while you figure out how the backend of a website works. If you want to fall in love, focus on spreading love to everyone and everywhere that you go. Stay determined in being that light and your love will come prancing up to you. You are the determiner of your future and it all starts in your mind.

Ants no longer scare me. Flying cockroaches, okay those can get a rise out of me, but for the most part I’ve become an entirely new person.

Travel is a portal into your potential. It’s like taking your brain on the ultimate diet where every single day you challenge yourself in a new way and realize that you are able to figure practically everything out.

Being clean and having my hair perfectly curled is awesome but this, this is on another level.