Holidays can teach us many things — about a destination, about other people and about ourselves.

I've recently wrapped up two months adventuring around the US. The Amtrak train was my main mode of transport and one I'd highly recommend. My plan was to use this slower motion to take in the changes as we chugged along and chat to whomever was willing. In doing this I inadvertently opened myself up to a lot of differing perspectives and it became a full-time job processing the vastness of this country. Although the actual journey is now done, I've come to realise that what I have experienced is not complete. I am still putting everything into a digestible place and could be doing so for some time, which is a really important part of travel to me. It's not just about the destination, the sand and sun, the fresh snow and cosy fire. Those are all wonderful components but I've learned that my desire to travel stems from a curiosity to understand us funny old humans and the epic environments we all exist within.

• Follow TV and radio presenter Shannon Ryan's travels at instagram.com/shannonryanonline and youtube.com — Shannon Ryan Abroad