24 Things Learned Travelling 17 Nations in 5 Months

by Michael Graziano

From Belize to Panama, Colombia to Brazil and back, I recently travelled 17 nations in 5 months (all Central & South America) and share some lessons learned about life, business, and travel:


1.  Ask and you shall receive.

2.  You are your own best friend, and your own worst enemy. Conquer your own fears and doubts and then you’ll soar.

Michael Hangliding

3.  Listen to the gut instinct telling you to do something. Unfortunately, when something could go wrong it often does.

4.  Every time you connect to somebody around you, you take a step forward as a person. Every time you chose to ignore them, you take a step backwards.

5.  99.% of people in the world are absolutely wonderful. Don’t let the others ruin the party by stopping you from exploring the world. Fight back by using common sense and avoid being vulnerable.

michael with old woman in ecudaor

6.  The greatest misconception of our generation is thinking you need to be ultra rich to travel the world.

7.  If your not covered in bruises, cuts, blisters, and muscle aches; then you’re not doing it right.

Michael volcano slide

8.  No matter how cranky, grouchy, or gloomy somebody is, they can be brought to smiles and laughter by your positive energy.

9.  The word “love” should not be of sacred value and stored away in your vocabulary vault for somebody you’ve spent excessive time with. Use it daily. It feels great to say and makes everybody feel good to hear it.

10.  Free breakfast in South American hostels means bread, butter, jam, and coffee. Just so you know.

11.  If you’re saving your global adventure for retirement after a lifetime of work, don’t forget to factor in the costs of diapers and coat checking your walker at the nightclubs.

12.  Have one big long-term goal, burn the bridge behind you (so there’s no going back) and break it into smaller steps.

13.  Reinventing yourself every second week is exhausting and confuses people.

14.  Don’t let corporate culture convince you that extended world travellers are wanderers or hippies.
Remember that a free mouse has more power than a caged lion. Don’t get caught up in the system.

michael with kids in village

15.  Don’t feel quitting your job will be the end of the world. I have yet to meet a traveller who regrets leaving their job. Most of the time they mention it was the best thing they’ve ever done or they find a much a more fulfilling job on their travels.

16.  Just when you think you’re life can’t be more of a dream; you walk over the hill in the middle of a desert only to find a lagoon with hundreds of pink flamingos in it.

17.  The world is full of little surprises. P.S. Go see them for yourself in the Uyuni desert, Bolivia!

18.  Show respect and gratitude for every local on your journey, not just ones you fancy. You are a guest of their home nation, and if you prove yourself not to be a friend, well then you become something else…

Michael Graziano in El Salvador

19.  Never judge a city by its cover. Explore the back allys and embrace the surroundings. This may turn a small beach town into a gem that you treasure forever.

20.  Don’t let a bad experience ruin your impression of a country. And especially don’t go around telling others to get shock value. This will simply deter people from ever visiting those countries.

21.  If you were robbed, take a good hard look at how you could have avoided that situation entirely, and will do so in the future. Take advantage of these moments to be smarter.

22.  Hang out in the markets and eat the “street meat”. You may have the best meal of your life, or be on a toilet the entire day. But it’s totally worth the risk.


23.  Buy a poncho, appreciate being able to flush toilet paper down the toilet, and live every day as if it were your last.

24. Go to destinations for yourself and pull your own lessons from it. And if you cam, go travel to every nation and graduate with your Global Degree!


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