Travel means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.
Have you ever heard someone say they’re travelling to put off being an adult? To put off real life? To put the responsibilities of growing up on hold?
I have. More than once.
And this way of thinking about travel is definitely real. Travel is a legitimate way to leave the world you know behind, where you become the master of your own fate, and decide where you will end up on this blue marble of ours. You drop all the superfluous issues from your life.
I mean, who gives a shit who won the last Masterchef or XFactor? The results from the last soccer/rugby/ice hockey championship begin to become irrelevant. Things that you once held dear lose may lose their meaning, as you begin to distil and filter the things that actually matter to your happiness and well-being.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my sports. I was surprised how little it mattered in such a short time. If I could get to a TV and remembered a game was on, all good. In all truth, time had lost its meaning, along with concern for who won and who lost.
Travel is a great way to escape.
From people, from emotion, from work, from family, from responsibility.
Your job is killing you or your girlfriend/boyfriend leaves you. You’re staring at a void in your life and don’t know how to fill it. Lifes’ purpose is veiled and removing yourself from your current location and state of mind becomes priority #1.
Hey I’ve done it. Many times.
Space and time have a way of providing unparalleled clarity. It doesn’t have to be a “sell everything and live abroad for 5 years” type of escape. It can be as simple as visiting a different location for a short break to clear the mind and open your eyes to the outside world. You may get trapped in a vortex of partying and debauchery, but at least you were able to disconnect in some way from your previous state at home.
Change your perspective.
Whether you visit somewhere where people have nothing, and at the same time, want for nothing and greet you with a smile. Perhaps somewhere culturally similar, with social nuances or customs that cause you to reevaluate how you interact and treat others back home.
Holy revelation Batman!
Top lessons learned:
- Possessions aren’t everything
- How to be a better person
- You will earn more money again
- Not saying you went to the lengths to shed yourself of all your worldly possessions, but as soon as you free yourself from some material baggage, you quickly realise what actually matters to you. Take for example, moving country. In no time, I had garbage bags filled with clothes and possessions that I realised were only there for “just in case” scenarios, or didn’t want to throw out or give away simply because I had paid for them. When I lightened the burden, it was an incredibly freeing feeling.
- We all think that we know how to treat others. We interact with our group of coworkers, friends and family on a regular basis, in the same way we always have. What happens when we go to meet new people and our old tricks of social interaction leave you sitting by the pool alone letting your beer go warm? You have many faces when you interact socially. This is to fit in with social circles, the work environment or with your family. Don’t lie to yourself, you do this without thinking. It’s when you’re thrown in the deep end of anonymity and first impressions, is when you really learn to be yourself. If you find out you’re a piece of shit who has no respect for others, you may just learn a couple of valuable lessons to take with you back home.
- Making money is hard, spending it, not as much. If you knew me from a previous life, you would know I was a master at stretching the value of a dollar. That doesn’t mean I turned down the chance to spend my life savings twice over to circumnavigate the globe. You will earn money again. You may even be fortuitous, like myself, and be introduced to the job of a lifetime through someone you meet on the road. Point is, don’t let the fear of spending money stop you from spending your life. I’m not condoning blowing $10 k on a week getaway, just that it is a better investment than you might think.
So do you use travel as an escape?
There will be some point where you have to face up to life and its responsibilities, and the lessons taught in travel will provide you with the strength and fortitude to tackle each of these things.
Don’t wish away the present for a future that may never come. Whether you’re working 9-5 or filling your passport with stamps, it’s important to stay grounded to the present moment. We all need an escape sometimes, just don’t sacrifice today for tomorrow.
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