A Simple Lesson from My Recent Trip

My wife and I recently had a two-weeks trip to Vietnam and Thailand. It was exciting! The best part was that we got to meet some readers there.

I also learned some lessons from the trip, and I’d like to share the biggest lesson that I learned with you. The lesson is this:

To live your life to the fullest, you need to learn new languages.

It might be surprising to you; it certainly was to me because it never occurred to me before. But that’s what I learned: if you want to live your life to the fullest, you need to learn new languages.

Let me explain.

I spend most of my time in my home country, Indonesia. Obviously, I can understand what everybody is saying there. I also spent some time overseas in an English-speaking country. Again, I could understand what everybody there is saying.

This trip is different though. Here I spent my time in two countries where most people don’t speak English. As a result, I couldn’t understand what they were saying!  I remember my amazement that what sounded like random voices to me actually have meaning. I also remember the strange feeling – after coming back home – of suddenly understanding again what everyone around me is saying.

This gave me a realization: I have been living in a comfort zone. Being at a place with a familiar language is being in a comfort zone. It’s comfortable to understand what everyone around you is saying without having to learn anything new.

But guess what? Doing that means limiting yourself to just a small part of the world. It’s like being in a small box.

The fact is, there is so much more out there. There is so much richness to experience in other cultures and countries. If you want to live your life to the fullest, you need to experience them. But that requires you to go out of your box and learn new languages.

This is a new lesson to me; I haven’t started learning a new language yet. But it opens my eyes that there is so much more outside of my small box.


  1. Wow!this seems surprising to me. I work with Chinese and it has never come across my mind to learn Chinese. Guess i have to start putting that into consideration.

  2. Hoooooo, thanks for the punch..I need or start learn Italian because my colleagues are from Italian. Some times they like talk in Italian during the lunch time.I will.

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