Looking Back On My Travels

Looking Back On My Travels
 
It’s amazing to think that another year has already flown by! I feel like most of my time is spent planning for the future: a teaching job in Chile, volunteering on a vineyard in France, or a simple beach getaway for the weekend in Mexico. Living life always looking forward to the next adventure is exciting, but it’s important to be mindful of exactly where you are right now and to take it all in. As I’m aware of my present, I recollect all of the marvelous experiences of yesteryear that brought me here! After all of my recent travels, here are some of my musings:
 
There Is More Than One Way Of Life
 
Nothing will shake up your world more than immersing yourself in a different culture. As you move out of your bubble, it pops, and lets in a flood of senses you weren’t in touch with before. Seeing new sights, tasting new food, hearing a new language…it makes you realize that there is no right way to live your life. That the world exists outside of a 9-5 job with an hour commute and a mortgage. There is color and wonder in the most unconventional of places. Maybe it’s not always pretty, or perfect, but it is life. And the more perspectives you truly see with your own eyes (and not through the eyes of someone else) will make this world seem a whole lot less scary.
 
You Will Find Good… And Bad
 
I have been helped by the people I would least expect, and robbed by those I trusted the most. Navigating through the seas of people, with their stormy relationships and unpredictable currents, is probably life’s hardest lesson. You will meet people who trip you and kick you when you’re down, but you’ll also meet the people who lend out a hand and carry you on their shoulders. There is no way to know who is who, but you can’t let it deter you from living the life you want to live. Recognizing that there is good and bad in everyone is a sign that you’re learning about the ambiguities of this world. The lesson is to not let people ruin you and not to depend on them too much; instead, realize that the only constant you have in this life is yourself. Love yourself and spread that goodness with everyone, but keep your inner compass pointing true to you.
 
It’s A Growing Process
 
Through the good, the bad, and the unknown, it’s all about enduring our situations. No matter how things go, just chalk it up as a learning experience and keep it moving. There’s a saying that suggests we merely “become” who we are, as though it’s life that shapes us. But I would rather view life as a blank canvas for us to create ourselves onto. See? It’s all about how we choose to grow. So it’s important not to let the unfavorable conditions get the best of us, but to trudge through them with awareness and understanding. Regardless of who we grow into, it’s all about the process. When we travel we acquire a knowledge that no book can give us, because we are actively participating in its journey. And, for that reason reason alone, it is worthwhile.
 
Gratitude Is Everything
 
A lot of people don’t realize how #blessed they are for the wonderful things in their life, and even the most miniscule things of their life. Well, when you’re trying to fall asleep in a car with another person and an 80 pound dog in freezing weather, you realize right quick how lucky other people are to be in a warm bed. But, wait a moment, at least I have shelter, and when I wake up in the morning it’s going to be an awe-inspiring landscape, and gosh at least I’m alive! Taking the moment to be grateful for the things that you do have instead of focusing on the things that you don’t, well, it makes all the difference. Turning bad situations into good ones is the First Law of Travel Dynamics, you know.
 
You’ll Realize What’s Important
 
When I decided to travel the world, I sold literally all of my possessions. My collections of books, movies, records, and my clothes. Even though I knew how good it would feel to free myself from the chains of materialism it was still so hard to let go. As a society, we place such an emphasis on these things like they define who we are, but *spoiler alert* they don’t! It’s too hard to find meaning amidst all of the clutter, so it’s only when you start to rifle through it all that you realize what really matters to you. Not just on a physical level, but even through daily interactions, the characteristics you look for in people, or the traits you want to work on for yourself. It’s really liberating to chuck (I mean donate) your fancy junk to the curb (I mean your local thrift store), but you won’t know how exhilarating it is unless you try it for yourself.
 
Everything Will Be Okay
 
I’ve been in some really tight situations where I would panic and jump to the worst possible conclusion. When that happens you just gotta get a grip and hold on. Once the storm passes, everything falls back into place. You quickly realize that you can’t always be in control of everything around you, and that might cause a freak out at first, but it’s definitely a relief to relinquish some of the responsibility. You just have to let things unfold for themselves and trust that it will all work out in the end. Don’t be afraid.
 
Traveling abroad teaches so many skills that transcend boundaries, enrich your life, and are applicable to so many careers. Above all, travel has given me the freedom of living my life without any regrets. So, whatever you have to do to make the opportunity to travel happen for you, then just do it! Do you have any lessons to share with us? Leave a comment!

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