Travel is such a hot topic these days. Everyone’s encouraged to pack a bag, jump on a flight, and take off on a new adventure. I’ve read articles on how to go abroad on a budget, luxury vacation spots, and how to pack more efficiently. I’ve seen every college student I know going to study abroad, apply to teach English in another country, or go on an amazing graduation trip abroad.
Traveling is a magical experience. When you go somewhere new with an open mind, it changes you. It makes you see that the world is so much bigger than just you. It reminds us all that more often than not, we live in our own little bubbles with little regard for the millions of people all over the world. Different cultures, different languages, different manners and customs.
So, I encourage you to travel. To travel as much and as often as you can.
But not for the highlight reel of pictures or the insane location check-ins, but to able to experience a really new experience. You see, travel isn’t the pretty pictures online or a collection of perfect moments; travel is real.
Travel is using a curling wand as an iron to unwrinkle your clothes. Travel is cancelled ferries and stalled trains. Travel is closing your eyes as you ride 6 inches away from the edge of a cliff on a packed bus swaying side to side. Travel is wearing wet shorts because you were lucky enough to be able to wash them, but not dry them.
Travel is the spray tan melting off your feet and clumping around your blisters in a spotted leopard pattern.
Travel is about the highs and the lows, and how you handle them outside of your comfort zone.
And that’s why traveling is so great- because it’s real and it’s really living. It’s not sitting behind a screen trolling for likes and comments- it’s sharing real moments and real life with the people that matter. It’s not just learning about a new place, it’s learning about yourself too.
When you travel, you sit on buses with people that you’ll never see again but that you’ll never forget. You listen in on conversations in restaurants to try to figure out where other people are from. You turn the corner onto streets and avenues you’ve never been before. You depend on complete strangers to point you in the right direction.
You meet new people, make friends, and end up going to dinner with them. You discover that as much as we are different, we are all very much alike.
You get lost and you get found. You feel, you taste, you smell, you hear, and you see the world with new eyes. You learn quickly that different doesn’t mean bad, it just means not what you’re used to.
Travel is throwing your printed binder of plans out the window and just going with the flow.
It’s the unplanned moments, unexpected twists, and failed attempts that take us to the coolest of places and allow us to experience something we totally would’ve missed if our travel had gone exactly according to our plan.
And just like travel, life is like that too. It’s the unexpected that often leads us to the greatest journeys we would’ve never been able to plan on our own. It’s the messed up plans, the missed ferry, or the overbooked restaurant that lead us to something that was actually meant for us to find all along.
So travel, as much and as often as you can; and let the travel take you places you never would’ve imagined. Travel is life, and we could all use a little more living.