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Here's How Traveling Can Actually Help You Win At Life

Two travel writers reveal what they've learned from a life on the road.

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I'm Jacob Fu, and this is my wife, Esther. Three years ago, we left our comfortable home in Atlanta, Georgia, to become full-time nomads — and now we run the travel blog Local Adventurer.

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We move to a different city every year, spending exactly one year in each one — and we travel to other places, too. Since we started our blog, we've gone from Atlanta > Los Angeles > Las Vegas > San Diego. Here are 21 things we've learned along the way.

1. You don't need most of your stuff.

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It's amazing how much stuff we collected when we were in one place. As you keep moving, you'll be forced to re-evaluate what you're moving. Even if you're not traveling, challenge yourself by doing the 333 project, where you only use 33 items of clothing and accessories for 3 months. You change them each season.

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2. It's not that hard to make friends.

Local Adventurer / Via localadventurer.com

It seems that once everyone makes it to the work force, we have less incentive and opportunity to make friends — but making friends actually isn't as complicated as it seems. We've made friends while hiking, chatting with random people at bars, and we've even gotten to know some of our neighbors, which is far too uncommon these days.

You might feel out of practice, but as long as you're friendly, genuine, and make the effort, you'll find that finding a group of local friends isn't a problem. You just have to swallow that pride and put yourself out there.

3. It's important to take lots of photos ...

Local Adventurer / Via localadventurer.com

It’s great to have a library of memories, especially in places that you may only ever be in once in your life! Take photos of friends, people you meet, and places you visit — these are your best keepsakes.

4. ... but also to know that not everything needs to be documented or Instagrammed.

Local Adventurer / Via localadventurer.com

Learn to enjoy the moment and take in the scenery. As travel bloggers, this is our biggest challenge, but we realize being caught up in nailing the shot can hold you back from actually living in the moment and experiencing something. (PS, I know how ironic it is that we're using a photo of us to illustrate this fact.)

5. It's not all about the money.

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Well, to a certain extent. You obviously need money to live, eat, and travel, but I bet it's not as much as you think. We've met many people who have less or just enough to get by, and they often seem much happier than those we meet who own everything they could ever want.

6. When in doubt, try new things!

Local Adventurer / Via localadventurer.com

It’s easy to get into a routine and stay in your comfort zone. Make it a point to push yourself to try new things!

Groupon is a great source of ideas if you don't know what to do. We recently learned how to surf, and took an intro to scuba diving class — and we plan on getting certified!

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7. Never, ever let your fears hold you back.

Local Adventurer / Via localadventurer.com

As you get older, you no longer feel as invincible, and your list of fears grows longer and longer. Make sure that these fears don't hold you back from amazing experiences. Face them head on and don't let them control your life.

We're both scared of heights, but we made it a point to push ourselves to the edge — literally and figuratively — by going bungee jumping.

8. It's easier to keep in touch with faraway friends than you think.

Local Adventurer / Via localadventurer.com

We really appreciate all the friends we've made while traveling, but we also appreciate all of our friends from our hometown. And although it takes some effort, technology makes it much easier to keep in touch with our hometown people. We even try to Skype with our friends once a week.

9. Laughter really is the best medicine.

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Laughter is seriously good for the soul. Make it a point to make someone laugh every day, and be sure to laugh plenty yourself.

10. And animals are up there, too.

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It's amazing how warm and fuzzy you will feel, inside and out, after hugging an animal. We hug our cats all the time, and take the chance to hug any other animal we encounter. It's good for the heart, and reminds you that we share this world with a lot of different creatures.

11. Families can come in many forms.

Local Adventurer / Via localadventurer.com

Our family is made up of me, my wife, and our two cats — but we've met all kinds of different families on the road.

We met a family of three — two parents and a toddler — who live out of an RV for a few months every year. And if you've ever been on a long hike, you know that you quickly become a close-knit family with your group. Point is, family can mean many things, and different things to different people. Be open to whatever definition of family comes your way.

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12. Under no circumstances should you ever, ever stop exploring.

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Whether it's your own city, your neighboring state, or a country on the other side of the world, push yourself to find new places and explore new activities, foods, and cultures. Always.

13. Life is too short to NOT eat lots of good food.

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But don't just stick with what you know; try new foods and new cuisines. Who knows, you may find out you like something you never thought you would!

14. Don't compare your life to the ones you see on your social media feeds.

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Social media makes it easy to be completely consumed with how amazing other peoples' lives look — but remember, it's all just a filtered version of ourselves. Just because we constantly post travel photos on our travel blog doesn't mean we're always typing these posts up while sipping a pina colada on some exotic beach. Believe it or not, 90% of our time, we're working on our computers in our living room. Keep one foot in reality.

15. And don't take anything for granted.

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Whether it's your friends and family, the city you live in, or your current job situation, don't take any of it for granted. Living on the road has really helped us appreciate our original hometown and everything that it has to offer.

16. Sunsets are one of life's biggest treats.

Local Adventurer / Via localadventurer.com

We do our best to make the most of our time in each city and when we're traveling, but sometimes, the best thing to do is slow down. Enjoy a beer, read a book, or watch the sunset at least once a week; your body and mind will thank you for it. There is a sunrise and sunset every single day, and it's free. Why not take in the beauty of it?

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17. It's okay to make mistakes.

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We get lost on almost every hike we take (I like to call it "exploring"), and when we were learning to surf, it took us multiple tries before we were able to stand on our board.

Get lost on your journey, take risks even if it means you might fail, and push yourself past what you think your limits are; it's the best way to learn.

18. And it's also okay to not have a plan.

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We've been taught that we should always have a plan, and know where we're headed in life. Because of that, we put up the facade that we have our shit together, but most of us probably don't — and that's okay. You shouldn't be irresponsible, but it's okay not to know where you'll be in a year. It makes life more fun!

19. Even if you think you can never leave, you can.

Local Adventurer / Via localadventurer.com

Before hitting the road, the thought of living somewhere new was daunting. But when you have a limited time in any location and you have an end date in sight, you'll realize that you can live pretty much anywhere for a year.

20. But just know that a life of travel takes sacrifice.

Local Adventurer / Via localadventurer.com

While living on the road gives us great joy, there is always a cost. We miss our friends and family back home, and never quite feel like we have the same type of community since we moved. We hate that we miss important milestones for those we love back home, and sometimes envy those who have roots.

21. And that said, anyone can do it.

Local Adventurer / Via localadventurer.com

We as a collective culture are constantly making excuses of why we can't travel, whether it's for a quick vacation or to live nomadically. But when it comes down to it, anyone can do it — as long as you're willing to sacrifice something. That might be your daily cup of coffee, the comfort of a huge house, or that brand new kitchen counter, but everyone can make it work.

For more inspiration from Local Adventurer, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram — and be sure to visit their blog!

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