“I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list”—Susan Sontag.
1. Desire to travel
There’s only one cure for wanderlust.
Travel makes you a more interesting person. Fact.
When you leave for the biggest vacation of your life, you get a vacation in the true sense of the word. You ‘vacate’ your life. You leave having: emptied it, given up the materialistic tangibles, home comforts and everything else unimportant for your journey to unfold, the story to unravel. Embrace the adventure called life. (Thank you Nonurbia for this inspiring message.)
4. Less is more
A by-product from living on the road is often the realisation of needing a lot less to be happy. You might even realign what you previously classed as ‘barometers of success’ and place less emphasis on the western measures of money, career credentials and material assets, which can bring a desire for more, stress and responsibility respectively. Freeing yourself of those, even for a while is a powerfully liberating act.
5. Acknowledge your roots
Appreciate where you called ‘Home Sweet Home’ by going to live in someone else’s country with a radically different culture. Sink into the place. Assume their way of life for a while, respect the local traditions and get to the heart of what makes the country tick.
6. Comfort zone
The act of facing your fears permits a myriad of amazing moments, valuable life lessons and wonderful experiences that will undeniably enrich your life. Excite, challenge and scare yourself everyday by letting go of society’s hand. Step out of your comfort zone and your own stereotype and instead, immerse all the senses in strange and foreign lands.
7. Culinary sensations
You owe your tastebuds exposure to a whole world of exquisite flavours.
Engage in activities that allow you to better connect with the outdoors. Get up and close and personal with Nature’s finest offerings of flora and fauna. Seek out species in the wild that are totally alien to you from the micro with the macro lens to the mammoth!
9. Relinquish control
Appreciate the true meaning of patience, flexibility and adaptability when external factors force you to change those best laid plans. Namely, embrace a different path altogether. Grow to understand your own parameters of spontaneity. Redefine it. Who knows where you might end up, or meet.
Learn a new language to expedite the process of communicating with folks in a way you never thought possible. It will add depth and further meaning to your trip; those moments of selfless human kindness will come from complete strangers. This in turn will leave you humbled, uphold your faith in humanity and present times when it’s absolutely okay to let your guard down, be less suspicious and more trusting of others.
Friendship knows no linguistic barriers; make some life-long friends by stepping off familiar ground, your trusty ‘norm’ and instead, put yourself in a place that facilitates meeting fascinating people who are fantastically alternative in their way of thinking compared to your own.
Travelling invariably warrants exponential growth of your ability to communicate with others, particularly when it comes to honing those social skills of: negotiation and persuasion, getting-yourself-out-of-bother problem solving, bonding-over-banter and where appropriate, imparting or seeking out invaluable knowledge.
13. The bigger picture: empowerment
Travel can be profoundly life-changing. If your life is to be summarised as two dates and a dash; fill that dash with a plethora of unique memories, jam-packed with experiences on familiar ground and further afield, which will come to define you. Look back at that person with limited life experience who had no idea what lay ahead, how they would cope and embrace the unknown. You’ll undeniably become more independent.
14. Fresh eyes
You’ll naturally reshape your perspective around what makes you happy and is meaningful. A well travelled you is often akin to a more contented and friendlier version of you with compassion for others. Travel will positively open your mind to living the life you love and loving the life you live.
15. Taking stock, not killing clock
The way in which you value time will alter considerably. Where once you might have invested a little too much time watching television and on electronic devices in the virtual world of social media, computer games and the internet, travelling will take you off grid and buy you quality time in which to learn a new skill. Or creatively teach someone else a skill. Travel on a more holistic level will show you how to be mindful in the ‘now’. And veer away from a life of over-activity but rather one that allows you to simply ‘be’. To stop worrying about the future, where you think you ought to be; a place in which actually is impossible to be.
16. What have you got to lose?
You will never wish you had spent more hours in the office and regret swopping the life conventional for the trip of a lifetime, no matter how long the duration. Even when you feel lost, lonely and exhausted; the high highs more than outweigh the lows. Sometimes you have to travel and experience the full spectrum of emotions in order to find yourself, realign what’s important to you and home.