1. Your place in the world- Science helps you understand how insignificant you are. Feeling old? Are you at the age where you have to wonder how long you have left in the game? Emily Shaller is looking for the origin of life 4.3 billion years ago in the Primordial Ices of The Kuiper Belt. Just dropped your new cell phone? Some guy in a white lab coat just discovered a subatomic particle that explains the existence of...well, existence. These things may rock your world for a time but lets face it, Its still pretty easy to escape and get caught up in our own little version of reality.
There is no escape when you're navigating the everyday backpacking world. Ever had to purchase a metro ticket in Moscow at rush hour, find a meal in a rural town in Vietnam, or cross a border at night with 4 guys trying to rob you? Your world is subordinate to everything, all day long, every day. And it's awesome.
On the road , kindness is sustenance and appreciation is survival.
Thats my list in three. You will know when you have learned the ultimate lesson from backpacking...when you are ready to take the pebbles from the hand of the master: When you get home and live like you travel. -Joe