“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends.
You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things: air, sleep, dreams, sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.”
Very often, when I’m craving for adventure but am stuck with work, I scroll through Facebook, Instagram, and all the social media sites, in an attempt to quench my thirst for exploration.
However, this doesn’t work.
Instead, I just watch people go away on seemingly incredible adventures, having the time of their lives, while I’m at home working on the computer, wondering when I would go on my own.
This entire scenario puts me in a state of despondency, for I know it’s about time that I start to focus on things that nurture my soul.
Hence, I decided to take a break from my daily life and feed my wanderlust!
It’s easy to get bogged down by all the day-to-day pressures and get stuck in a continuous cycle of work and life commitments. However, having new experiences and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone on a daily basis is essential for growth, balance, and happiness.
I have always believed that travel teaches you without a scorecard.
It enriches and molds you gently. When you step out to see the world – meet people, get acquainted with different cultures, taste new cuisines or simply breathe in an unfamiliar city – you learn a lot!
I have had incredible learnings through my travels and I am keener than ever to learn more through it.
Here are the top 5 things that I have learned from my travels so far.
1. Listening to my inner voice
Being alone for most of the time while traveling, introspection is the one thing that happens to all of us!
Even though I would do the same back home, being completely alone in a foreign environment heightened it. It can really teach you a thing or two about yourself.
When you’re away from everything you‘ll be surprised by the magnitude of the zen you experience!
Probably the most important lesson of all that comes from traveling is that you are stronger than you thought yourself to be.
2. Seeking out people with different beliefs and views of the world and getting to know their perspective
Some of my beliefs about the world are not in unanimity with a lot of people. If everyone thought like me, the world would’ve been quite boring.
So when I meet someone with a very different belief system to mine, I try to mix with them rather than trying to “change” them. Despite all the external differences, people are the same everywhere you go.
They’re driven by all the usual urges; from base fear and anger right through to the most awe-inspiring generosity and love. There are innumerable instances when total strangers have strengthened my faith in humanity: chasing me down to return dropped money, inviting me to family dinner, etc.
When you stop seeing people as some different from yourselves, I reckon you can relate to just about anyone.
3. Lessons come in the most unlikely times
While traveling solo, we interact with people around us: on buses, trains, and planes throughout the journey. Every new person we meet offers an intriguing story and maybe even a shred of wisdom.
When we surround ourselves with a variety of different people, we learn a lot.
Go and explore all you possibly can. For not all classrooms have 4 walls. 🙂
Through our conversations, we realize how different our lives are. We also learn that most of us, in spite of the cultural differences, eventually want the same thing: happiness.
4. To accept kindness with humility
Without even realizing it, most of us follow a cynical attitude towards people.
It’s a great shame because we often overlook genuine kindness in the world. When we travel, we’re bound to meet a whole new variety of people. Not everybody is going to be kind, but accept that some people are.
Meeting people through your travels will teach you to accept kindness – often from strangers. And it is your job to be open to invitations.
Accept the chai latte from the shop owner, accept the invitation to the local family wedding, and accept kindness whenever can – the rewards will be enriching.
5. Amazing things lies on the other side of fear
Fear paralyzes us. We miss out on tons of opportunities because of our fears.
Traveling alone, for instance, may be something you’ve always wanted to do. What stops you from doing it? Besides money, it’s probably fear. You overlook all the excitement and focus on all the bad things that could possibly happen.
Sometimes, we need to do the things that scare us the most because it’s often on the other side of fear, that we discover the most amazing things. Trust me, it’s the most liberating thing ever!
“If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.”
– Anthony Bourdain
Travel isn’t always blissful and comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay.
The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your soul. You take something with you.
Depending on where you go, you’ll see the different strata of the society. You’ll realize that everyone, in a way, is fighting the same battles as we are, only the environs are different.
Traveling changes you completely.
It gets you in touch with a side of the world that not everybody knows. It changes your perspective on things and life. Explore, dream and discover.
To Live an Experience like this, find an opportunity on aiesec.org.
To read next: 7 Things I Achieved Thanks to my Exchange in Turkey
Studying bachelor’s in biotechnology, Aayushi is a really passionate person, who loves to read and travel. She believes people, places, and stories have the power to change anyone and help them understand the purpose of life.