Travel is part of everyone’s life. People travel for different reasons; for work, to celebrate festivals, for pilgrimage, for holidays, to relax, to meet family etc. Well I am talking about travel where you embark upon a journey with no end in mind, a journey to wander and discover the world, a journey that makes you meet you. Travel is a funny thing. It can be rough, tiresome, and grueling. It can push you to your ultimate limits and make you want to scream in frustration. It’s all the small parts that make up a greater whole. The feeling is almost unexplainable.
Well, whatever is your motivation to pack your bags and head out; it is for sure that you will be embarking upon an experience that will give you life lessons like no other.
There are lessons I don’t think I would have learnt if not for travel. Traveling gives a person an absurd kind of high that is very hard to let go of. It’s what I keep chasing. Let me share what travel has taught me so far
1. I learnt that I would have never gone if I waited for someone to come along
I remember someone telling me, “It’s better to be alone than to want to be alone.” If you are considering travelling solo, all I can say is go, go, go. You won’t regret it
2. I learnt that the best roads to travel are the roads less travelled
Every time I sit down with a map to plan my next travel, I can continue to gaze at certain spots and yet not be convinced as touristy places can consume all the energy that I gather to explore. Driving through Gnanthang Valley and Zuluk village in Sikkim where the population is less than 500 people made me experience so much silence and serenity around. Roads less traveled can be difficult but leave you with much introspective moments that travel can offer. Uncertainties, surprises, scanty resources and struggle to meet basic requirements made my travel more exciting.
3. I learnt that the more you explore new zones the more you get comfortable with unknown
4. I learnt that each day can fill every drop of life into joy; if you have an open mind
In order to become truly open minded, you need to find yourself in situations that make you feel uncomfortable. Odds are that you will experience these type of situations whilst traveling. Most of our society tends to be pretty close minded and it’s only when you leave your cushy little comfort zone that you start to open your mind and acknowledge other people’s viewpoints on life. Having an open mind whilst traveling will probably help you have a better time. You will devour new experiences and food, and meet people you would have never thought of meeting. Because if you’re not open to new experiences then what is the point in travel anyway? You won’t get that fantastic sense of accomplishment and hey, you can’t knock it till you’ve tried it
5. I learnt how to be self-dependent; I am more capable than I ever imagined
More often than not we tell ourselves that we are not capable of doing certain things. We automatically allow fear to stand in the way or we rely on others to make things happen for ourselves. I realized how capable I am and that I truly can do anything I want. It might sound cliché, but it’s true. I don’t have to wait around for someone to make it happen when I can make it happen on my own. It helped me to alter my way of thinking and to believe in myself so much more. So now when I want to go somewhere and no one else can come, I will book a ticket, pack my bags and go anyway. Enough words and enough arguing. Just live by example and soon you’ll have people on your side when they see your results and how passionate you are. No need to “convince” them. Just show them that you are there, tell them how you got there, and they will start to realise that maybe you aren’t that crazy after all.
6. I learnt that everything shall be tried at least once
7. I learnt to accept what the day throws at me, take it and moved on.
Don’t dwell too long on how your day shattered around you. Or, that you missed another flight or train or bus, ended up with bedbugs or bad hotel, immigration took longer than you thought, or the airlines lost your bag (again). There is always another day. Even if this one goes to pieces, you’ll have a new chance to try again with the next morning. Pick yourself up, examine your errors, make a new plan, and get back into the fight. As for today? Crack out the day’s small victories (an hour-long nap, clean frame photo, rainbow, sudden rain, fantastic sunset, satisfying meal, extra bag of peanuts on a flight, stranger holding the train for you).
8. I learnt we never remember what people do for us, we remember how they made us feel
When you travel, you meet so many people. You form many alliances, some for a short period of time, some that can last a lifetime. You learn that people will come and go in your life. The ones that leave an imprint are the ones who made you feel either really good or really bad. The ones who you laughed with until your belly hurts and will forever hold dear in your heart. They are those genuine souls who you know will be your friends for life. You also remember those who you only had a brief encounter with but who had such a beautiful aura about them. It’s nice to know there are genuine people out there, and it’s a blessing to meet them. On the other hand, the ones that gave us bad vibes or made us feel uncomfortable in any kind of way are also people we remember. From learning this, I try to be my best to consciously be aware of how I can make another person feel. For I know this is how they will always remember me. As an old saying goes, it’s not where you go, it’s who you meet along the way.
9. I learnt we don’t need most of the stuff that we collect
When you live on the road out of your suitcase/backpack you realize how little we need to live and still have all the joys along the way. I started to detach with much stuff I have collected over years most of which I never used. Travel taught me that how much rubbish we accumulate under the illusion that we need so many things to live. Freeing myself from my possessions has enabled me to experience more. I’m far more focused now on what experiences or new food I could try in a country/new place for the same price of so many unwanted things i bought before or during travelling. I’d much rather keep the same tattered wardrobe of clothes in my backpack until they’re unwearable, instead of buying many pairs of shoes, bags, watches, clothes etc Freeing myself from my possessions helped me to evolve more my sense of self.
10. I learnt that travel is my education for the rest of my life
They say its better to go and see than hear about it thousand times. Its very true that when you travel you can learn about that country so much more than you would remember what you learnt in Geography or History class. The Currency, Capital city, Language, Local culture, economy, climate, historical monuments, historical incidents and living conditions are best learnt from natives of the country by walking around the place. Seeing living conditions of people in Cambodia and Bangladesh made me feel I was too deserving and made my heart fill with abundant gratitude and tolerance. We complaint way too much about what we get and travel can change that perspective as you move beyond documentaries and newspapers and actually see it yourself. Visiting a plethora of countries and being exposed to such an abundance of different viewpoints, ways of life and thinking have taught me that my point of view will not always be agreed with.