I am by no means a well-travelled person, though I may have travelled more than the average millennial. I have not travelled to the most glamourous countries that people travel to these days, and post photos of on social metworking sites, but I think I’ve travelled enough to know I love it, and that I would choose a great holiday over a fat bank balance any day.
I’ve mostly travelled on a budget. I’ve been on adventures without knowing where I’ll be spending the night, nor caring about the itinerary. Someone else in the group has always done that for me, and I’ve simply gone along. I’ve had the ‘surprise me’ attitude all my life. I don’t much care for planning, or discipline or any of that boring stuff.
I don’t advocate it, I don’t. But if you’re the super-planned traveller, you should try it some time … this carefree approach to being in a new place. Yes, you get disappointed sometimes, and things go wrong way too often, but overall you come back home with so many crazy stories, it’s almost worth it. In fact, it’s one of the lessons I’ve learnt that has become a part of me.
- I’m happier: We all know that guy who looks at the Taj Mahal and says, ‘Well, I’ve seen it on TV.’ or the Golden Gate Bridge and says, ‘Ah, what’s the big deal? It’s just a bridge.’ If travel has instilled one quality in me, it’s this: a sense of wonder. Imagine looking at life and every little thing with the excitement of never having seen it before. It’s a better, happier way to live.
- I’m stronger: Things don’t always go your way when you’re on the road. Routes can be blocked. It could be much colder than what you prepared for. You could run out of gas at the wrong time. The weather gods could be against you. Life is like that too. You can’t prepare for it.Everday is a winding road. You don’t know what’s around the bend. Travel teaches you that you are tougher than the road. You’re made up of so much more than you give yourself credit for.
- I’m living the journey: I travelled to Ladakh on a bike when I was thirteen years old. It seemed like a great idea at the time but along the way, we encountered broken roads, landslides; a couple of times we had to jump on to a passing army truck because that was the only way to cross a waterfall cutting through the road. I remember thinking ‘Why, why are we doing this? Why aren’t we just turning back? Why is it so important to reach Ladakh?’The journey is more important than the destination. It’s not the destination that changes us, it’s what we’ve been through to get there.
- I’m humbled: When we step out of our homes, we realize there’s a big world out there. There are mountains that are bigger than you, oceans that are wider than the little house you grew up in. Travel gives you a lot of perspective. It makes you feel powerful and powerless at the same time. Who are you in this huge world? How can you affect the life of someone who lives in another zipcode?
- I’m always home: Travel gives us the opportunity to call many places home. Or teaches us the value of home. It often tells us that home is not a place or a person. In this long journey of life that is spent in search of someone or something that makes us feel safe, if you travel often enough, you become that someone. Travel makes you self-reliant. And in a magical way, it also teaches you that help comes in many forms, when you least expect it.