I’m an eternal traveller and a hopeless wanderer at heart. People say I get it from my mom but I think it goes deeper than that. I love discovering new cities, new worlds and new cultures but most of all I love the freedom associated with it all.
It starts with hoping on the plane, boat or train and feeling it take off, leaving all your feelings of fear and self-doubt on the ground below replacing them all with a sense of excitement, adventure and a belief that anything is possible. It is exhilarating and like nothing else.
Here a couple of reasons I love traveling so much:
Leaving your fear behind
When you travel you leave the person you are behind and replace them with another version of yourself that you don’t necessarily show to your friends and family. That doesn’t mean that you become someone else entirely but it does mean that you are more carefree and relaxed and most of the time it allows you to do new things and meet people you never would have met in your normal life. Mari if you are reading I’m thinking about you!
3 day trek without a proper bathroom? Count me in. Scuba Diving? Of course. Getting lost in a country you don’t speak the language? Who cares, I’ll find my way. I don’t really think about what could go wrong when I’m not at home and this is strangely true when I travel alone. I know there will always be a solution to my problem and this is a million years from how I react when I am in my city (think about a little ball of stress who is scared at every possible noise and out of the norm situation).
Going out of your comfort zone
I went traveling for 2 months in Australia in 2015 and even though I was a seasoned traveller by then I was scared shit. Because of my stupid pride I didn’t tell anyone at the time but when I thought about spending 24 hours alone on a plane that would take me halfway across the world to a place I had never been before nor knew anyone it made me not want to go even though it was dream.
My ego got me to the airport and I’m glad it did as minus some trips to the doctor and other unplanned hiccups it was one of the best experience of my life. Was it easy? Definitely not and a few times I felt alone and isolate in my hostel room but the feeling passes. That trip taught me so much about myself and what I wanted in life that I am so very glad I made it happen.
A lot of travellers who are out on the road most of the time will say that they’re not running away from something and I probably would too. But now that I am a grown-up (!) I’ve realized that of course I am. I mean, every single time I have booked a trip alone it was because I either was depressed, angry at something or someone, annoyed, crying or god knows what else but it wasn’t usually after a happy emotion. My best trips were organised during a low point in my life to make me feel better and to stop thinking about whatever it was that was getting me down.
I mean, I did my student exchange in a country I was pretty sure nobody would visit just after my mom passed away because I wanted to be left alone and be disconnected from reality for a while. And you know what, to this day I still feel like it was the best decision to make at the time. It allowed me to be somebody else for a bit and not think about what was waiting for me back home.
Traveling is like pausing your life for a while and living somebody else’s for the time you need.
To complete number 3, after running away comes coming home. However it’s not the same as before you left. See, traveling gives you the time and space to think about your life and your problems without having to face them but life at home doesn’t stop. It goes on without you and when you do eventually decide to go back not only have you changed but the people around you have changed too.
Allow yourself the time you need to breathe without being pressured to deal with everything and be assured that you’ll have a different outlook when you get back. You’ll probably even be happy to see your people and get back to your life. Maybe you’ll even have missed them a little bit.
As the saying goes, the grass is greener and all that but traveling makes you realize that it may be true to a certain point but it doesn’t last forever and you will realize that your grass is perfectly fine, it just needs a little tender loving care every now and then.
And remember, not all who wander are lost.