That’s something many people wrote about, right? We’ve all read articles about the importance of traveling, about the benefits, how it makes you grow and widen your perspective about the world.
What I want to write about is what traveling means to me, why I keep traveling whenever I get the chance and how it constantly affects my life. Maybe some of these things will resonate with you.
Many of the people I know keep telling me I’m always wandering, changing cities and countries, always on the move, never being able to just stay still in one place for too long. And usually they start with that same sentence: “Lucky you that you get to travel…” with a subtitle that seems to say “because you can afford to do this…” Afford it? As in having the time and money? Oh no, if I could really afford traveling I would be doing it full time. Unfortunately, I haven’t reached that freedom yet. But I’m working on it.
A lot of people seem to think that to travel you mainly need two things: time and money. Those two things all human beings seem to complain about never having enough. The truth is I have exactly the same amount of time that all of you have and probably less money than many of you. So here is the shocking truth: it’s not the amount of money or time that allows me to travel and wander around. It’s the hunger. Steve Jobs said it right. “Be hungry, be foolish!” Well, I am.
I’m hungry for new experiences, new sights, new places and views and people; food and cultures, streets and rivers, bridges, mountains, oceans, and fields. I’m hungry to take it all in, to experience new things, to fill my eyes with new sights, my ears with new music and my lungs with new, fresh air. To open myself to new perspectives, to change my mind about beliefs I used to have, to throw myself at whatever life puts in front of me, to make mistakes; to meet people that have the power to change my life, people that will hurt me and people that will be a blessing; people that will be a part of my life for a few hours and people that will be in my life forever, be it next to me or in some far distance country; to get lost and discover places I would never have laid eyes upon otherwise; to miss trains and buses or run as fast as I can to catch one; to fall in love with someone new and to learn how to love myself a little more; to create memories, to have a story to tell – an embarrassing one, a funny one, a crazy one; to be able to say “I’ve been there too” and “I saw that as well and it was amazing”.
I do all this so that one day if I’ll ever get to be old and unable to do this anymore, I’ll still have these memories to feed on. And I’ll be able to read what I wrote, look at the pictures I took and go back there because I’ve already been there once before.
So my point is, if you’re afraid of finding yourself in a place where you don’t know the language, of being alone, with nobody there you can rely on other than yourself and the thousands of people around you that you don’t know yet; if you worry about starting anew or just getting lost in a new city, about not knowing which train to catch or how to ask for directions because your phone is dead; if you’re afraid of freezing your ass out because you were stupid enough to travel to a cold country without proper winter clothes or of finding yourself at nighttime in the middle of a forest in Australia, not being able to find your way out, with no light and no phone and spiders hanging from the trees (yes this happened to me); to sum it up, if you’re afraid of the unknown, don’t go. Stay there, at home, where it’s cozy and warm and familiar; where you already know it all, where the biggest unknown is what to cook for dinner or where to go out with your friends. Don’t go anywhere, it’s not for you.
But if in spite of all this, the idea of learning something new, of meeting new people, seeing the sunrise from a different angle or finding yourself in the middle of the desert with thousand of stars shining bright above you, of walking down a street and finding yourself amazed at a new view, of falling in love with every little thing, every day of your life, if all this feeds your soul and fills your heart with joy and puts a big stupid smile on your lips, then don’t wait, don’t hesitate. Make some time and find the money. Those are just means, they’re not an end.
We’re lucky enough to live in an era where we have low-cost flights and cheap accommodation and the world within reach. And you don’t have to necessarily fly to the other side of the world. Amazing new things could be just a train or bus ride or a couple hours flight away.
Bottom line, I do all this to create memories worth remembering, to feed my soul, my heart and my mind. I do it because there’s nothing that makes me feel more alive than getting off a train or a bus, a whole new place to discover in front of me. I do it because I want to be constantly amazed, and the most amazing sights are the ones I don’t expect and I’ve never seen before. I do it because I cannot find one single reason not to.