Cheesy but true. I can't tell you how many times I have been pushed to my limits, at my breaking point, and out of my comfort zone while traveling. There is this quote by Cesare Pavese that reads,
"traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comforts of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things. Air, sleep, dream, the sea, the sky - all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it." When I first read this quote I read it as a mantra and I fell in love with it.
This is why I chose to leave my life for 4 months.
This is why I packed up my clothes, cameras, and a few books and headed out for a rural town in central Thailand.
This is why I spontaneously booked a plane ticket to Bali.
This is why I left my near perfect life for something completely new, completely different.
Traveling teaches you so much. Not only does it teach you independence, but it teaches you responsibility.
There is no one to call when things go wrong when traveling, you are forced to figure things out, and roll with the punches. It has taught me how to be calm, problem solve, find new ways to accomplish tasks, and most importantly how to live.
Traveling taught me
Traveling taught me how to be the best version of myself. It taught me how to connect with others, even when they don't speak their language. It taught me how to be respectful of other ideaologies, and cultures. It taught me how to plan, and how to manage my time. It taught me how to be independent, and how to be a responsible young adult. It taught me how to budget, save, and spend. It taught me to not be a picky eater, and to eat things without fully knowing what they are. It taught me how to miss my family, how to appreciate my friends. It taught me how to get along with strangers, and how to connect with strangers. It taught me how to live life to the fullest. It taught me to live in the moment. It taught me to take the world in. It taught me to be present.
Traveling changed me
Who I was before traveling no longer exists. I have slowly started to see the world, and how others cultures live. I have seen how the other half of the world views work, leisure, and their quality of life. I left everything that I knew and immersed myself into another cultures way of living. I tried new foods, saw new religions, and experienced new traditions. It changes you. Personally, it woke me up. It woke something up inside of me. I started doubting if I really wanted to work 60+ hours a week with little vacation time. It made me question my future career choices, I saw how happy and content people all over the world were with little to nothing. I felt like my whole life I had been lied to, that maybe success and money wasn't what was going to make me happy, that I needed little than I thought to truly live. Suddenly my entire life revolves around how often I will get to travel. I take traveling into account with every career choice I make, in the friends I surround myself with, and future relationships. When I got home I felt "lost" it didn't feel like home, I couldn't wait to leave again. Something about living out of a backpack changes your whole perspective on how much you truly need to live.
No one truly understood me
Family and friends that haven't traveled don't get it. They don'y get the amazing transformative journey that you've just been through. You can tell them everything that you saw, ate, and experienced but they never fully understand just how much you have changed. They will say the normal things like, "I am so jealous of your life!". "you are crazy for just leaving like that", and "I wish I could do that, I'm just not that adventurous." But to you it't not a matter of wanting to travel, but a need to travel. You will rely on traveling. You will become addicted.
You become dissatisfied with a normal life
Nothing is the same at home. You cannot focus on work or school, it's near impossible. Travel is constantly on the back of your mind. Most days you are looking up flight deals to anywhere, you just want to leave again, you feel suffocated at home. Facebook and Instagram will become unbearable. You'll see people posting pictures of their travels and get insanely jealous. Suddenly the travel itch will get so bad that you will finally buy a plane ticket to anywhere. The moment you book that ticket a weight will fall off of your shoulders, and you will be able to breathe again.
So travel, while you're young. Because this is valuable stuff you'll want to know before the age of 40. Live your life, get out of your damn comfort zone, and see how the other half of the world lives. You will never know how big the world is if you don't go out and explore it.
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Next stop Thailand (and a couple of connecting flights)