I have travelled to over 16 countries in my short twenty three years on earth, many people believe travel is the only thing you can buy that will make you richer, and I truly agree with this. For some reason the same with many things lately “believing” in travel can now give you the tag of a prude. I’m not stupid, I realize having travelled so much is not something many people are lucky enough to do, I am not writing to brag, I do not think I am better than anyone. I am writing to encourage people, to inspire people, to share what travelling has brought to my life and to give if it’s even just one person who is unsure whether or not to book that ticket, to go do it, now.
I have spent more money on travelling than any materialistic object in my life, if there is one reason I work, it is to save money to travel. Many people spend money on fancy cars, expensive shoes or head to the best restaurant in town weekly, which don’t get me wrong, I would love to do all of these too. But constantly when thinking up my next purchase that will break the bank, the thing that pulls me away from buying it, is travel.
I have grown more in a 5 week trip overseas than any of my years before. My logic is simple, if you do not travel, you cannot truly flourish as a person. Throughout my adventures I have learnt many things and picked up many valuable life skills, these are some:
- Organization skills on FLEEK.
If you want your travels to work, you must be organized. Not the kind of “My room is messy but I’ve bundled my clothes into piles in which I can understand” organized. I’m talking,
“We have to be at the airport by 2pm, so we’ll wake up at 8 walk down and get some breakfast, then we’ll catch the 10am bus, which will take us to the 1130am train, then we’ll speed walk approx 20 minutes to the airport train which will get us there on time for our flight,” organized.
If you ain’t organized, you gon stress and when you stress, is when your travels will unravel.
- Your anger over small things will decrease.
That flight to LA you just busted your ass getting here to be on time for? Yeah it just got cancelled, you’re waiting in the airport for another 6 hours, you’re going to miss that tour you booked and there’s nothing you can do. No really, there is nothing you can do. Don’t be that guy abusing the air hostess, I promise you it will only make your flight worse. Embrace it, make the most of it, take some time to research your next destination, catch up on some much needed sleep, steal that airport wifi to contact your family and always call your next stop to let them know you’ve been held up.
- Patience is in fact NOT a virtue that everyone has, but you my fellow traveller, shall have it.
In Italy I had to wait 2 hours in a pick pocketing ridden train station just for a ticket, it was to say the least, the fucking worst. The fact was, to get to my next destination it had to be done, the line wasn’t going to get any smaller and I basically needed to evac that place ASAP before someone tried stealing my bag for the 11th time in 5 minutes. Everywhere you go will have lines, will have crowds, I promise, but it will make you a better person for it. Next time you are home and you have to drive around to the waiting bay for your cheeseburger, it won’t be nearly as big of a deal as it used to be.
- Appearance isn’t everything, not anymore.
I come from a very superficial city, you are judged by what you wear and how you look. I am very rarely seen without makeup, but after travelling painting my face is slowly becoming less important. For one, if you are hiking up that mountain it is basically bat shit crazy to even bother with makeup, so don’t, no one else will. That hideous turtle neck sweater your mother gave you for the snow that you swore you would never wear? You will. When it’s -23 and all you packed was those paper thin Kookai long sleeves, you’ll be thanking your mother for saving your life. Travellers are not judging you on your appearance, you could feel the ugliest you have ever felt and someone will still take an interest in you. You will spark up magical conversations and friendships with people who love you bare faced and thrift shop clothes covered. Appearance isn’t everything, not anymore. Who you are on the inside is everything.
- Kindness makes you richer.
It’s simple really, kindness is magic. Flashing a smile or asking someone how their day is will make your travels richer. I have had hotel receptionists give me free breakfast that was not included in my stay for simply sparking up a conversation with them, taxi drivers that have stopped the meter halfway through my trip only because I asked how their day was going. The nicer you are, the more the people appreciate you, on your travels and back home.
- You will become as Kelly Clarkson would agree, Miss Independent.
The things you thought you would never do alone because they are “Social Suicide” become the daily norm. You begin to speak up for yourself, trust your own instincts and make your own path. When you travel you make choices for yourself, there’s no family or friends to make decisions for you. When you finally return home you’ll notice how many people rely on others and it’s so freeing to realize how independent you have become.
- You learn more travelling than from any classroom chalkboard.
All the Geography lessons in the world can’t put into words how it feels to stand in a place you have only dreamnt of, to try the food you have heard millions of stories about and to understand the history of a culture that seemed so boring in grade 9. It’s not until you have walked around a city where absolutely no one knows who you are that you can truly understand how special it is to travel. When I travel I feel as though I am a sponge, constantly absorbing new experiences every.single.day.
- Home is the nicest word there is. Becoming extremely appreciative is also nice.
Although travel is one of the most important aspects of my life, flying away from home makes you appreciate everything it has to offer that little bit more. Not only your friends and family, which of course naturally, you miss them most of all. But you begin to miss the small things you never truly appreciated. The freedom of not being scared to sit on the shower floor in fear of germs, the amazing fresh produce that just never tastes as refreshing no matter where in the world you are, how bloody smart you feel that you know all the back streets around your home town, you even begin to miss the sound of that annoying Kookaburra waking you up every morning if it means you get to fall asleep in your own bed again. Travelling makes you say thank you and mean it, because you realize just how lucky you are to be missing these things that some have never had the chance to, and basically Mcdonalds never tastes quite as good as home.
If there is one thing I urge everyone to do, it is to travel. I have never met and I doubt I ever will meet anyone who regrets their travels. I have left my heart in so many places and it has made me a kinder, stronger, better person for it. You won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or that expensive couch you bought when you were 20, go find yourself.
“I am not the same having seen the moon shine from the other side of the world.”
Published by Alisha Marshall