Great points, Jack. I especially like the point about exploring your own home region. I've seen many new travelers too focused on the flashy overseas destinations (e.g., Paris, London, Madrid, etc.). I am grateful that I was able to learn the lessons of being a good traveler after many local shorter road trips. When you've only spent 2 hours driving as opposed to a 12 hour flight, the mistakes don't hurt as much but you can still learn from them before embarking on the longer more expensive trips.

I definitely leveraged lessons learned from earlier local trips when going overseas now, seeking immersion in real life (instead of staying in the tourist bubbles), interacting with locals, and finding the less tourist-centered areas.