I have always wanted to see the world, but one of my biggest inspirations for actually getting out there came from reading the book "The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho shortly before I started my travels. The book is a fable about a shephard who dreams of a treasure waiting for him at the Pyramids of Egypt. Realizing he can always come back to being a shephard, he decides to leave his sheep behind in pursuit of his dream. At a time when I was struggling to move my own career forward, it was the exact inspiration I needed to leave my own "flock" behind for a while. With a little planning I was on a plane to Spain a few months later.

I recently came acrossed Mr Coelho's blog while browsing through Facebook. Funny that I had never thought of adding him as a "friend," considering what a profound impact his book has had on my life over the past two years. His topic was lesson from Albert Enstein, which is orginally where these quotes came from. I thought what better way to show my appreciation to both men.

Here are 10 lessons learned from my own life experiences while traveling around the world.

1. Follow Your Curiosity “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”

I am surprised by how many things I discovered I liked that I had no previous interest before, and I never would have discovered them had I not at least tried. Case in point, decorating tables and flower arrangments. I don't claim to have any special skills in that area, but dinner table center pieces became my outlet for creativity at one point, and I soon found myself passionately curious. The same thing holds true in learning about the internet. While my true passion is writing, I have been consumed in learning more about internet marketing and social media to bring myself up to speed with the rest of the marketplace, reading articles or watching videos of how to do it and then fumbling my way through it. You could never hire me as a web-developer, but I am surprisingly addicted to learning all of the jargon and strategies that at one point was so foreign to me.

2. Perseverance is Priceless “It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

Which brings me to my next point, which is that if I stay with something long enough, eventually I get the hang of it and gain another valuable skill that I can bring to the market place. Perserverance has always prevailed for me. You don't know how many times I wanted to jump off that first boat I worked on, but sticking through even as I fumbled around is what allowed me the opportunity to travel independantly for the next several months on my own. No matter what, stick through with your goals and don't quit!

3. Focus on the Present “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.”

Originally my goal was to travel to 30 countries in honor of turning 30, but I became so caught up in the goal at times that I wasn't enjoying what was right in front of me, and although I was seeing and experiencing things many people might never have the chance or opportunity to, I was too focused on the past or future instead of enjoying what was going on right in front of me. Sometimes you have to take time to stop and smell the roses, and to savor each beautiful step along the way. Once I let go, traveling became an even more rich and fulfilling experience.

4. The Imagination is Powerful“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. Imagination is more important than knowledge.”The vision board I painted on my wall above my bed in Florida before I left is a perfect example of how powerful your imagination can be. Without knowing how I would do it at the time, I have seen or accomplished most of the things on that board. The perfect job (for that moment,) bringing my dad to Poland and going to Auszwitz together, and many other things I am still in the process of. But I will add that you can't JUST imagine, you have to put inspired action behind it. Wow is it powerful if used appropriately.

5. Make Mistakes “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”

Broken dishes, fried laptops, broken cameras. Yes, I will admit to being mildly clumsly (some of my friends might say that I'm a little more,) and holy toledo you should have seen the bruises on my body from trying to fit a 5'11 frame into the confines of a tiny boat. Yes, a career in yachting might not be the perfect match for me, but hey, I least I tried. And as another wise man once said, "although success is nothing sure, I've cried. It's failure that wins when nothing's tried." Thanks Dad!

6. Live in the Moment “I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.”

The Sea of Galilee, the Mt of Jericho, even canyoneering in the French Alps are all sponteneous things that happened as the result to little or no planning. It's great to do a certain amount of planning, but some of my greatest memories happened by being completely sponteneous. I learned that in life, it's great to have a plan, but to not be completely rigid in that plan, and to stay open to other possibilities.

7. Create Value “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”

Sometimes I think we lose what it really means to provide a service, make a significant difference, and actually help someone without expecting anything in return. My older brother (who I will brag on for a moment here) has lived by this principle, and as a result he has more to show for it in his life than anyone else I know. A successful businessman, an active member of the community, a loving husband, and five beautiful loving children. If you want more in life, help more people get what they want. The universe has a way of paying back the debt. What you sow, that too ye shall reap.

8. Don’t be repetitive “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Man I feel like I've been through the ringer sometimes, until I realized that maybe it's because I had to learn that lesson before I could move on. Little by little I am learning to do things a bit differently and I am finding much better results in life.

9. Knowledge Comes From Experience “Information is not knowledge. The only source of knowledge is experience.”

The "University of Life" has taught me far more than anything I ever studied in a college text book. A broken engagement, a failed business, (with piles of debt to pay off from that business) and many other wrong turns on the journey through life. Upon returning home, many have asked if I thought about returning back to school, but I would much rather spend the twenty or thirty thousand dollars continuing to travel and learning more lessons from the world instead.

10. Learn the Rules and Then Play Better “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.”

I'm rather competitive and I don't like losing, but all of the lessons I have learned have taught me simply that I've been playing by the wrong rules. As soon as you realize that and change the rules, life suddenly becomes so much easier. It almost doesn't feel like a fair match to the rest of the competition anymore. One of my favorite ideas behind this comes from the classic novel by Florence Shovel Shinn, "The Game of Life and How to Play It." If you know the rules, you're much more likely to win the game.

My last trip ended in Egypt, which coincidentally was the same place where the hero in The Alchemist ends his journey. I had been struggling for some time in deciding when to come home, and wanted to keep traveling as I hadn't reached my goal of thirty countries yet, but for some reason I felt that my family needed me back home. After my own strange series of dreams, I cancelled a trip through Thailand, Africa and India and booked a return ticket home instead, just in time for my grandmother to pass away and for my father to become very ill.

Throughout my travels I had been searching for this concept of "home," yet it took actually coming "home" for me to realize that home is not a place, it is a feeling, and can be felt and reached no matter where you are in the world. I will always have the wings to travel and don't think I will ever grow tired of learning about new cultures and sharing in exciting adventures, but I finally realized that the "roots" I was searching for existed inside of me all along.

Author's Bio: 

Liz has been traveling the world for the past 2 years, sharing her experiences and lessons through her blog and website at www.lizwrightnow.com. She has learned the art of combining her passions with her entrepreneur background and has created a new career for herself as a "travel-preneur." For travel tips, inspiring stories, and personal development ideas please visit her website and subscribe to her blog.