Oh, the places you'll go

Oh, the places you'll go


Friday, February 16, 2018

Why We Travel

For those of us bit by the travel bug that becomes ever more infectious as life goes on, we will not completely understand how to answer the question of, "Why do you like to travel so much?"

The pretentious side of me wants to simply respond, "If you have to ask, then you would probably never understand." But the compassionate side of me sees that as too easy and could be applied with any concept. Travel addiction is no exception. Maybe we can shed some light on this simple concept that is a conundrum to the home-bodies and comfortable alike. For the record, there is absolutely nothing wrong with not traveling in my opinion, if that is where you get your inspiration and growth, that is your choice and I completely respect it, but this post is about why people do travel :)

So for those of us who can't get enough and love to travel, why do we do it? Ask yourself. What is it?

I have come to find, this question is not so easily answered when considered deeply, but is actually incredibly easy on the surface. On the surface, we simply love to travel for a change of pace and change of scenery. We want to see somewhere new and beautiful. We want to relax. We love to get away from our usual lives. We need a break from the repetition that is our life. We weren't allowed to choose the body we were born into, but we are allowed to choose what we do with it. More specifically, where we go.

On a less superficial level, travel provides a plethora of challenges and benefits that are hard to describe with words. Many of us just want to feel completely alive, and we wish to duplicate that feeling of ecstasy that comes when dopamine is released during great moods. We wish to get that hit of adrenaline that a new unknown adventure provides us. We want the thrill and excitement that comes with abandoning our mundane work life in order to explore something new and potentially life-changing. The paradigm shift happens when one realizes the incredibly apparent benefits of traveling somewhere unknown. For American's, I don't mean heading a few hours to the lake, but really putting yourself in a situation that makes you incredibly uncomfortable and feel empathetic to your surroundings. The feeling of "Wow, my life is fucking amazing compared to the way these people live." The feeling that where you are is exactly where you should be at that certain time. The feeling that the infinite moment that is now will never end and bliss will be unlimited. The feeling of "Man, I really miss my bed, drinkable tap water, and toilet paper. Toilet paper is nice." The gratefulness that comes along with getting out of your routine to challenge your perspective on life in a way that will provide you with lifelong memories that will constantly remind you how amazing your life is.

So why do you travel? It's different for everyone.

All the foods! All the feels. The new smells. The new sights. The new challenges. The culture shock. The chance to learn some of a new language. The stories we gather along the journey. The discomfort that brings along appreciation of comfort. The people we meet. THE PEOPLE WE MEET! The deep hostel conversations lasting for hours with people you may, unfortunately, never see again. The times our eyebrows raise in fascination to a new experience. The times you realize you're being ripped off; The times you realize you'll never get ripped off like that again. The history upon the ground you are walking. The memories of this moment. The opportunity to branch out and connect with a vast world many of us will only ever experience a fraction of. The escape of the societal concept of "reality". The attempt to experience a more nomadic lifestyle. The search for meaning. The need to understand. The will to learn. Growth. The ability to look back and say "I wanted to do that, and I'm glad I did."

This is why we travel. Happy traveling my fellow addicts, keep it up!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

When It Hits You

We live. We grow older. The only constant is change. We are all in this ride of life until our number is up. Some numbers come sooner than others. It hurts. It didn't happen to me, but I feel it all the same. The people we have learned to love and grow with will eventually part this physical existence into dust and dirt until all that is left is a glimpse of who they used to be. We move along.

A memory of good times and love had will live on in your mind, but sometimes the pain of that memory is difficult to bear. Especially at first. It feels unreal to lose the very people we once depended on. The people we can count on when there is no one else to turn to. When all others abandon us. They were there through thick and thin. Until they weren't anymore. It's unimaginable. It's too soon. It pulls a heavy load of sorrow behind every lasting memory. We move along.

When the impermanence of life hits you, it is terrifying. It is painful. No one can expect the slap reality gives when death reaps at our doorsteps. The reality is that death is always there, in a coordinated two-step with life. Always overshadowing the fascinations of what life provides. Always reminding us that the shadow will eventually become the reality. Always to be remembered as something we should not forget about. Never forget death. Keep it in mind. Not in a nihilistic sense, but rather, an urgent sense. By keeping death in mind, we can live our lives to the fullest. We can live to the fullest for our lives. For our futures. For our loved ones. We can live to the fullest for all of the loved souls death has claimed through time. We keep death in mind, so we can move along.

We can feel helpless at times, but in truth, it is our minds that allow us to feel helpful or helpless. There are no good or bad situations, all situations just are. How we react to those situations is what defines us. We may weep when emotions tell us something is bad. We may smile when emotions tell us something is good. But either way, we must pick up and carry on. Let the emotions come when they may, but keep your head up and fight on.

RIP Smitty

Monday, December 4, 2017

Lessons Learned During a Year Abroad

At some point or another, we have all thought about quitting everything and starting a new life elsewhere. At the very least, we have considered going somewhere for an extended period of time to get away from our current realities. Some of us have done it and some of us have not had the capability to do it, but we may always wonder what if we had. There are reasonable dependencies that will not allow for extended travel as we get older; health, kids, mortgage, bills, family, school, work, etc. How many of these could have been diverted at a younger age in order to move away for a brief period in order to embrace new experiences and immerse ourselves in a vast world we will only ever majorly get to experience virtually? What would we learn? Who would we meet? How much would really change about us, our loved ones, or what we leave behind?

Here are a few lessons I have learned from living abroad for a year:

1. When you have a relationship, it's not about you:

Whether it be a friendship, family, or s/o, the bond is developed by putting yourself aside. This can be hard to accomplish because there are expectations, conditionality's, lifestyle differences and personal goals in relationships. If you are going to have any kind of a strong relationship, put yourself aside, as long as you both do that, it will flourish.

2. Meeting people is easy for anyone:

Almost everyone wants to be met by others. The trick is to just be friendly but not overbearing. Ask questions but don't get too personal at first. Don't talk about yourself unless you're asked a question. You will meet some people who only love to talk without listening, but you won't have to deal with that convo for very long if they never ask you any questions. Keep meeting people until you find the right people for dialogue.

3. Don't be afraid of what you don't understand:

Embrace it. Be inquisitive. Inquire information. Ask questions. Try to learn more about said culture, topic, or event. This is how you become a world citizen.

4. When you make a choice, that is your path. Why regret?:

It's funny we can regret decisions made but what if we did the opposite? We could regret that too. Don't regret a decision. It's something you wanted at one time. You have no idea if the outcome of the opposite decision would have been satisfying. Live your life with no ragrets.

5. Even a 5 can pull a 10:

I've witness some amazing things in the past year, but one of the more amazing things was when my average friend pulled a very attractive foreign woman. How? Maybe it was the accent, or his deodorant. None of us really know. But maybe it was something else, maybe some things just aren't normal or meant to be explained with rational thought. Maybe it goes to show that normal can be destroyed by one weird night in small Italian towns. Not everything needs a reason, some things just happen.

6. Millions of problems in the world... You cannot solve them all:

Accept it. You cannot control the world's problems. What you can control is your outlook and your impact on them. Fix yourself and you fix a problem in the world. Michael Jackson telling us that if we want to make the world a better place, we need to look in the mirror, was the most everlasting message we could hear. Focus your efforts inward. Imagine the impact.

7. What you are searching for is internal:

You can go all around the world searching for something you can't describe. If you can't describe it, how can you expect to find it? We tend to believe that if we just keep looking for this mystical meaning, it will appear. The trick is defining meaning. What gives YOU meaning? That's what you are looking for. That answer is internal. The tool to discovering meaning is introspection. Reflect. 

8. Comfort is the enemy of growth:

This has been a self evident lesson throughout the history of humankind. First explorers would have never discovered new lands without embracing that curiosity and fear of the unknown. First inventors would have never created anything useful without attempting something they did not fully understand. If anyone expects to grow, they must live comfortably outside of their comfort zones by embracing that which scares them.

9. If you want great, sacrifice good: 

The good of the moment is so very tempting and easy to absorb and take in. The problem is that if you accept good of the moment, you will sacrifice the great of appreciation. In this instant gratification life we live, it is easy to be taken away by moments or opportunities that are just good. The more we accept the good moment, the less likely we are to appreciate the great ones. Sacrifice the good for great.

10. Chapters in life consist of transcending mindsets:

The discovery of neuroplasticity tells us that learning continues until death or disability. By knowing this, we can accept things we cannot change and move past them towards a mindset that continues to propel us forward. When you move past stale and old mindsets that set you back, you transcend into a new way of looking at life, leaving an old chapter behind, learning from it, and moving ever consciously into a new chapter. Don't get stuck on an old chapter, continue reading your journey forward.

These are just a few short lessons I have learned and considered on this adventure of travel and exploration. This adventure is one chapter in a long and rewarding book. The beauty in reading books, is not the beginning or the end, but it is the journey along the way. The journey of the book is where the appreciation, the lessons, the adventure, and the greatness of the story will always remain. Continue to fill your journey with adventure! What content have you filled your book with? What content will you choose to fill it with from here on out?