People travel for all sorts of reasons. Although right now, we can’t really travel at all.
Normally, it’s to see a specific monument or city. To escape winter and relax on a beach. To see loved ones or visit places with friends. To snowboard postcard-worthy mountains or surf a world-famous break. To party on a bus full of 20 somethings as a ‘rite’ of passage (I’m looking at you, Contiki). Or, to relocate for a new job.
All of these reasons are valid and generally ‘accepted’. However, these are what I like to call vacations, holidays. They’re not a trip, or a journey — which are generally for months on end, if not a year or more. Journeys are not 10 days in Bali with all meals included.
When someone feels the urge to jump on a plane due to a recent breakup, loss of a loved one, resignation, or any other personal issue life has thrown at them, it’s viewed quite a bit differently.
You’re accused of running away from your problems or searching for something ‘else’ that isn’t there. People will tell you the grass isn’t always greener and that you’re nuts for departing from all your friends and family during this time of uncertainty.
I’m here to put forth a rebuttal against those opinions. Not because I care about peoples opinions, but because I want to explain.
To discover who you are and what you actually want, or to gain some clarity in life, I can think of no better way than to throw yourself into the unknown and figure it out, traveling the world. You might actually be happier somewhere else. It all depends. As I always say, if you can’t change your situation, change your location!
There is no question that getting on a plane and immersing yourself in a completely different culture will help to distract you from whatever pains you in life, but it will also bring you two other things; happiness and perspective.
Travel therapy is getting lost in a new part of your own city, discovering a fantastic new restaurant with your friend. It’s lying on a beach in Mexico or trekking the Kokoda trail. It doesn’t matter where you go and what you do, the point is you’re adventuring and enjoying yourself. You will learn new things about yourself — what really matters to you, and what no longer doesn’t.
Seeing things from a foreign perspective (even without being somewhere foreign) will make you appreciate what you do have. Seeing how lucky we are compared to others, that will bring gratefulness back into your heart and help re-calibrate your perspective.
At best, travels could change everything for you, and you’ll end up in a far better place than when you left. At worst, it will provide you with some solace and much-needed downtime to think about what you want, and what to do next on your journey.
Some people, like me, will travel their whole lives. They’ll never be ‘done’. We will always be searching. That’s just how we’re built and we don’t expect people who take vacations to understand. It’s not a better or worse way to live your life, just different.
So, the next time you are feeling overwhelmed and wish you could just get away and do something different, go for it! I know that right now with the current restrictions the world is facing, this has seemed harder than ever, but this doesn’t mean you can’t gain a new perspective from your own state or backyard.
Get outside, or do a weekend away somewhere you haven’t been before and give yourself some time off from your normal life, not just your job. Regardless of the state of the world currently, you still need those breaks to keep on keeping on.