Six Important Things I’ve Learned From Travelling (Part 2)

Please enjoy Part 2 of my article, ‘Six Important Things I’ve Learned from Travelling’, as I wax lyrical about money skills, perspective and curiosity.


I didn’t land this guy in my travels, but I’m sure glad he’s around ❤ Cruising around Sydney Harbour. 

Money Skills

 I’ve written about money skills and travelling before, but I thought it was worth the reiteration. ‘I want to travel, therefore I need money’ should be the mantra tattooed across my head. Or, ‘I learned to save, because I want to travel’.

Either one would tell the story of my financial life. All the money I save usually goes towards travelling of some description… and I’m okay with that. I have implemented some serious saving plans and budgets on myself, in order to get the dosh together for my trips. I didn’t take any classes on budgeting, or read extensively about it… I just did what was necessary, and I think my bank account is better for it. Thanks again to travel!

My best friend and I discussed this last year. We both earn about the same amount, yet spend it differently. She recently bought a house, I just came back from the US for the second time. I said I would probably have a lot of money if I didn’t keep spending it on airfares, but again, I was weirdly okay with it. I’m investing in my experiences, my memories, my life story. I hate spending money on necessary things like petrol, but I’m happy to doll out $1500 for a flight overseas. Go figure. And P.S, $1500 is an amazing price for overseas airfares from Australia; you’d be crazy not to snap that up.

However, what I’ve learned over the years is that in order to have that $1500, I need to look at how I’m spending during my stints at home. So every month, I write myself a budget. And I stick to it. It’s mostly to do with paying bills, my health insurance and board, and buying that dreaded tank of petrol. However, I decided that I wasn’t going to create a budget that made me unhappy, and I still leave enough money for dinners and shows, nights out with my friends and birthday presents for people. Social events are important  to me. I don’t go overboard, but I’m not going to stop living my life to save money either.


St Mark’s Basilica, Venice. Save a lot of dough if you want a hot beverage here. 


 I’ve found over the years that the best way to gain perspective on a situation, is to leave it. I mean it… get away from whatever is bothering you, and breathe for a second.  I can never think clearly in the heat of things (I would make a terrible paramedic), and I’ve often found that even just few days away from work, rehearsals or ‘real life’, can make the world of difference. That’s why I relish the weekends. I love my job, but the weekend helps to both recharge my batteries and keep my passion for teaching alive (see my post: ‘Travelling and the Restless Twenty Something’ for more on this).

When you’re travelling, you generally have a bit more headspace to process whatever is happening in your life, good or bad. We need to look after our minds as much as our bodies, and planning a getaway, big or small, is the perfect way to achieve both.

This could be misinterpreted as ‘running away from your problems’, however it’s quite the contrary. I recently used my trip to Canada and the US to process everything had happened in the twelve months before it (2015 was massive for me). While I was pleased with how the year had turned out, the month before my trip, I had also been feeling quite overwhelmed with work, releasing my first novel (complete with my first good and bad reviews!), and playing shows with my theatre company. I was stressed, and anxious, and needed time to decompress. And fortunately, six weeks of travelling across North America was just what I needed.


It’s hard not to be peaceful in place like this. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, North Vancouver. 

While we can’t all take a six-week sabbatical like this, I still like to plan smaller domestic holidays… if not for perspective alone, then for that much-needed mind and body rest. I recently went to Sydney in the Easter school holidays… such a simple trip, but the perfect place for some down time after a busy term at school. It wasn’t long, but it did the trick. So next time you travel, make an effort to decompress, to think, to just breathe… you’ll be better for it, trust me.

Read my post ‘Travelling and the Restless Twenty-Something’ here:


 I’ve always been a naturally curious person. When I was in primary school, I was always looking up words I came across, and would often read my parents thick, intimidating medical dictionary (the kind that details all the nasty diseases a person can get. By the time I was ten, I was pretty much diagnosing myself with a brain tumour every time I got a headache). When I discovered Google, it became my new best friend. Google knows all the weird and wonderful things I’ve looked up over the years (some that I’m too ashamed to elaborate on).

However, I think that travelling has opened my mind up to a whole new level of curiosity, something that Google can’t give me. My need for knowledge now extends beyond myself, but rather to what is really happening out there. I’ve seen the world, and now I want to know everything there is to know about the mystical place. Past and present. It’s like connecting dots, in the most thrilling way possible. You can read about a place, or watch it on television. But what about experiencing it, first hand? Why just watch, when you can go?

I read a book about Gustav Mahler just before my first trip to Europe in 2012 (for those who don’t know Mahler, he was the original emo and is definitely worth a listen). I then performed on the stage where he once conducted an orchestra. I loved the fact that I had read about this place just a few weeks before, and then to be standing on the very stage described in the book, it was something else. Similarly, visiting Krakow after watching Schindler’s List was a haunting, and eye-opening experience.  I’ve been fascinated with the Royal Tudor family ever since I read ‘The Six Wives of King Henry VIII’ by Alison Weir, and got a small thrill from visiting some of the Royal graves in Westminster Abbey (sadly though, not King Henry VIII himself). The list goes on.


Krakow, Poland.  

So if you’re a history buff like me, or interested in anything else specific around the world, see what you can do to satiate your curious mind. I even researched whether you could do a King Henry VIII tour, and it exists. It exists! And if that exists, there must be more tours like it. Curiosity is one my favourite things I’ve gained from travelling, because I love the idea that knowledge is power, and it doesn’t cost a cent (if you discount all the books I’ve bought about European history). So whatever weird curiosities you have about the world, go after them! You won’t be disappointed.

Enjoyed this article? Check out some of the other articles on my blog!  

All text and photography © Tess McLennan.


One thought on “Six Important Things I’ve Learned From Travelling (Part 2)

  1. Like Leonardo da Vinci in his famous quote said, “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.”
    Your article is not long and could have been given in a single single part. But keeping in mind the small attention span of people it was ok to bring out in two parts. Maybe this way one gets to reflect more.
    A very good read. Keep on.


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