When I was a kid I didn’t enjoy going to camp, even that was too far away from home. I used to wonder why people would willingly choose to sleep somewhere else or eat somewhere else when everything in front of me was perfectly satisfactory. I didn’t crave to go places or try new things, in fact, I loathed the very thought of it.
Now, I look back at ten-year-old me and half cringe while laughing at my complete ignorance of life. Not to mention, to how unaware I was of what my future would hold. Don’t get me wrong, the first time I really traveled on my own I was terrified. I was afraid of getting lost, of not knowing what to do in every situation I encountered, and essentially just of the unknown. However, overtime traveling has become one of the greatest blessings in my life.
Traveling has taught me lessons I can’t imagine living without now, and although each experience is unique, I want to share what it has brought to my life.
- The Ability To Accept Change: When your life consists of the same routine nearly every day, as it does for many of us growing up going to school and to work, you get accustomed to your ways. Then when suddenly life changes, it is difficult to adjust and accept the changes. Traveling taught me that sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. Sometimes it even turns out better than what you had planned originally.
- The Importance of Stillness: Life is a constant stream of obligations, choices, and to-dos. I very easily forget to stop and absorb the beauty that is around me. However, when I travel and I see something that is just remarkable, I’ve learned to stop, sit down and really soak it in. It’s not just about having a picture, it’s about taking time to make your own mental image, a memory you can recall years later.
- The Importance of Silence: After spending hours on a plane, then in a car stuck in traffic, or in a hostel filled with people, traveling can seem difficult. Then I somehow come across a hidden cafe or a lookout along the side of a hiking trail and I stop and the silence surrounds me. Sometimes that silence, even among company, is more therapeutic than any conversation you’ve ever had.
- Trying New Things: As hesitant as I still am towards some things, you never know how you feel until you try something. Yes, I wouldn’t be upset if I never had to eat crocodile again, but I would be upset if I never had another kangaroo burger.
- Empathy: When you spend every day in the same way or with the same people, you tend to desensitize yourself to your surroundings. Seeing different people struggle with different issues reminded me of the importance of empathy. Sometimes it takes stepping away from your life to remember and appreciate just how good you have it.
- To Appreciate The World: As corny as this sounds, sometimes I find myself resenting where I live or where I am, simply because my situation in life isn’t making me happy at the time. However, in no way is the world or any of the nature around us to blame for this unhappiness. Find the beauty around you, seek it out in new places, just make sure you realize how incredible the world really is.
- To appreciate my home: The saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder”, is certainly true in this situation. Having distance from your normal can make you appreciate elements of it in a way you didn’t before.
I always loved the idea of writing a bucket list or a travel list and watching myself slowly check everything off. I thought it would make me feel accomplished and well traveled. Yet, the more I travel, the more I realize my list grows instead of shrinks.
Traveling is a reminder of the endless possibilities that exist in the world. All it takes is the courage to discover them. These lessons may seem small or arbitrary, but they truly changed my perspective and my life. I went from a child whose world was only as far as I could see, to a woman whose world is larger than I can possibly grasp. Don’t underestimate the power of travel, it changes you in a way you will truly appreciate.
Featured image via Quiet The Chaos.