I don’t know how to file my taxes or set up a WiFi router. I don’t know how to change the gas tank outside of my house when it runs low or fix a leaky faucet. I can’t figure out what to do with my degree and I am horrible at professional networking.

I do know how to take a decent photograph. I know how to navigate a continent without Internet or a guide. I know how to speak, read, and write in two languages. I know how to find housing and employment in a foreign country with zero connections in less than a week.

Traveling, I have learned some things that, while perhaps not resume-worthy, have proven themselves to be invaluable time and time again in understanding the world around me. These are things that I cannot ask Siri, take a class for, or find with a Google search.

1. We really don’t need much.

My first experience living in another country was in Buenos Aires when I was 19. I packed one suitcase and put it inside of a larger one thinking that this way I would have two suitcases on the way back for everything I planned to buy. At the end of my stay, I still had one empty suitcase but an entire new set of ideas regarding necessities.

My travel essentials dwindle more every time I pack. I have no idea how many things I have purposefully left behind in hostels as I realized I had no use for them: clothes, makeup, toiletries, that cooking set the guy at REI swore I couldn’t live without. It never ceases to amaze me when I meet people carrying hair straighteners, blow dryers, twelve different lotions, pots and pans, six pairs of shoes. My necessities have boiled down to my wallet, passport, camera, toothbrush, and journal. Everything else is disposable.

2. People are genuinely good.

As I have said before, people assume that because I am a solo female that I must have encountered every horror in the book. When I say no, nothing life-threatening has happened to me, I am often told that I am lucky. However, after four years of consecutive travel, and twelve years of intermittent travel, I do not think I can attribute my positive experiences to blind luck. I have received so much more than I have given, all without being asked for much in return, often by people who have significantly less than I do. At the end of the day, wherever you go, people do not deviate much in their core desires. We all just want to feel safe, happy, and loved.

The media loves to paint horrible pictures of non-democratic nations, but politicians are never a representation of the majority. Most people strive for high ideals and are almost always more inclined to help you forward than leave you behind.

3. We all have baggage, and you never know what battle someone is fighting.

At a reggae bar in Belize I ended up dancing with a group of about eight other people. When we all left at 1:00 am I was walking next to a guy from Zurich. Somehow in the 10 minutes it took to walk back to the hostel we went from, “What is your name?” to each of us recalling the days our mothers lost their hair after chemotherapy.

It is so easy to get wrapped up in our own lives and forget that everyone else has problems, too. Along similar lines, emotional tragedies cannot be compared. Often people say, “it could be worse,” and sure, it could, but the severity of one person’s grief does not lessen or invalidate that of another.

4. The first world is relatively selfish.

At 10pm in Flores, Guatemala I was examining the incision scar in my bellybutton left by the surgery I’d had in Ecuador almost three months prior. There was a small, black dot poking through the top that I had not seen before, and upon pulling it with tweezers I learned that the reason the scar was not healing properly was because the doctor had not removed all of the stitches. I tried to remove it myself, and it started bleeding all over the place. I asked the lady at the reception if the clinic down the street was open. It wasn’t, so she drove me to the hospital in the next town and waited inside with me until I was attended.

This kindness is not unusual in underdeveloped countries. These people live with so much less, yet they always seem more inclined to be the ones to lend a helping hand during times of need. Then you return to the developed world, where people cannot hold a conversation for two minutes without pulling out their phone, and you wonder who is really more developed.

5. There is no right way to do life.

It seems that every time I open Facebook someone else is engaged or intentionally pregnant. Someone is posting pictures of their wedding or a suit-and-tie selfie at their new corporate job. Someone is buying a house or finishing medical school. I have had five employers in the last two years and so far my diploma is essentially a piece of paper representing my impeccable ability to regurgitate the information I memorized on flashcards. I cannot deny that I sometimes feel envious of other people’s perceived states of stability, but I have realized that things have a tendency to fall into place. Although I may not be where I expected to be at 23, I continue to surprise myself and have proven to be much more capable than I tend to believe. A Filipino-American I met at a hostel in Oaxaca, Mexico reassured me: “Just interact with the world instead of making all of your decisions before going out there. You don’t need to worry about what everyone else is doing or where you want to be when you’re 50. Just be 23.”