– Travel –
“We travel not to escape, but for life not to escape us.”
Just do it. I promise you it will be one of the best experiences of your life. I’m not talking about a two week vacation to a resort hotel beach town, but rather separating yourself from society and immersing yourself into an unknown culture, a foreign world, for an extended period of time.
People ask how I’m able to travel for months at a time. I set goals for myself, basically lived in a camper for 4 months (thank you mom) while working 70+ hour weeks, eating yogurt and ramen noodles or eggs, got rid of my apartment, sold my car, rarely went out or spent money on unnecessary activities… Basically didn’t have a life, but it didn’t matter, because the light at the end of the tunnel was shining brighter than ever! Soon enough I knew I’d be out roaming this beautiful world we live in. We make excuses daily, and society has created a norm that we feel like we have to follow… Go to school, to get a job that you probably don’t truly enjoy, to buy a car and buy a house, and continue to upgrade as the years go by, (by all means if these are your goals, they are great ones to have as we each choose our own path in this life, to each his own)! But if you do want to travel extensively at some point in your life, you’re the only one who can make it happen! Anything is possible if you believe it is.
“Don’t get so busy living, that you forget to make a life.”
For those of you who need some extra motivation, check out Vagabonding, by Rolf Potts. Even if you only read the first 20 pages, you’ll be inspired! This is a quote out of Vagabonding and it couldn’t be more true in my mind! — “Don’t wait around. Don’t get old and make excuses. Save a couple thousand dollars. Sell your car. Get a world atlas. Start looking at every page and tell yourself that you can go there. That you can live there. Are there sacrifices to be made? Of course. Is it worth it? Absolutely. The only way you’ll find out is to get on a plane and go. And let me tell you something. That first morning, when you are in your country of choice, away from all the conventions of a typical, everyday lifestyle, looking around at your totally new surroundings, hearing strange languages, smelling strange new smells, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. You’ll feel like the luckiest person in the world.” -Jason Gaspero
There are so many stereotypes that the world outside the U.S. is dangerous, especially traveling alone as a young, white, woman. I couldn’t disagree with that thought more. I’ve met so many incredibly nice, loving, caring, giving, selfless people while abroad it’s mind blowing. Of course there are always rules to follow and ways to keep yourself safe, but it’s no more dangerous than anywhere else. Get out of your comfort zone to see this for yourself!
Sure, it’s scary being the minority, not speaking the local language, feeling all alone, always getting lost, but these are the times you truly grow. When you’re constantly out of your comfort zone, you’re forced to talk to people you normally wouldn’t, eat foods you once thought were disgusting, make mistakes and embarrass yourself on the daily… But each time you do one of these things you learn, and you thrive. Immensely. I used to be scared to go to parties alone, where I would only know a few people. Now I’m wandering across Southeast Asia not knowing a soul! I don’t ever feel nervous at a party anymore, and going out alone? No problem. I can’t even count the number of new friends I have made from all over the globe, for most of the people I meet are in the same shoes I am!
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you have imagined.” -Henry David Thoreau.
We all get so caught up in our daily routines and normal ways of life, that we forget what else is out there! We can read and watch the news as much as we want, but until we are face to face with the little Guatemalan boy whose belly sticks out from hunger and whose feet are bare because his parents can hardly afford to put food on the table, or the little chickens in Indonesia whose heads are getting ripped off as a sacrifice, or the poor man in Thailand whose parents cut his arms off as a child so he could be a better beggar, do we realize how big the world is, and how small we really are. I couldn’t be more blessed to be able to travel and have these eye opening experiences! It gives meaning to life.
Traveling has already taught me so much, like the idea that life is far too short not to love every single bit of it. Without bad, we couldn’t fully appreciate good. Forgive, forget and LOVE. Feel and embrace the pain and suffering, understand it, accept it, and then let it go. Move on. Put a smile back on your face, because life is so much more fun when we are all happy. 😊 (Like right now for example, I’m stuck up on a couch in a random hostel because I can hardly walk after messing up my foot in a soccer game. I felt angry for a second earlier because I can’t seize the day and go for a run on the beach or go surfing, then I started laughing and realized how insanely BLESSED I am to almost always be 100% healthy and able! All of this couch time has also given me time to reflect on my past 2 months of travel, and I have time to journal, read, and relax).
“Travel, it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”