Starving The Travel Ego
While I'm standing in line at the Budapest airport, I realize there's a teenage girl behind me beginning to make some remarks about my backpack. I recently decided to sharpie the names of the countries I have traveled to. Her mother had said something about how cool it was, and she replied loudly (literally behind my back), "why would I want to travel the world in my 20's? Then there's nothing left to see if you go to every country. I have my whole life to travel?" - I found this an ignorant statement, but curved my immediate judgement. Perhaps some people do have that mentality about traveling?
I personally would rather see the world while I'm young for a few reasons. One is because my body is probably in the best shape to do so now. The other is that what I learn when traveling influences the person I am constantly becoming. When you travel, you collect not only memories but knowledge, one could argue should be the most important aspect. The lessons I've learned on this journey are things I wish to pass down to my children or take with me into a career. I don't understand how someone wouldn't be interested in exploring, but I certainly wouldn't make derogatory remarks behind someone who is clearly identifying as "a traveler" out of irritation or jealousy. All in all, that's just one of the things you learn most while abroad: there are many types of humans and not all of those encountered you'll get along with.
There are many aspects I will be touching on in these blog posts concerning the "realities of traveling". It's about being dirty, smelly, homesick, stressed, broke, jet lagged, lonely and completely lost sometimes. That's what people seem to forget. Those who might be wrapped up in following the trendy travel Instagrams or trying to recreate a study abroad experience like their friends might have had. The point of traveling is to see somewhere new and experience moments like you never have before. To truly be open to backpacking, one must accept the consequences.
I have been backpacking on and off now for about two years and plan to continue for the rest of my life. The insight I will cover will be on the tiring truths of traveling. Sharing what I’ve learned along the way this globe trotter journey. But firstly, I think our generation suffers from this illusion that you need money to travel or that it'll be this magical, perfect vacation. This whole idea of traveling while you’re young is so much more valuable to me than wasting your life away in a job you hate, making money you dream of spending, but are only stuck behind a computer desk. I personally was introduced to this concept while studying abroad in University. I was fortunate enough to move to Rome for my studies with a full scholarship (I realize not everyone has this luxury, but if you have a strong enough goal, there are ways to make it happen). After graduating, I decided to work to live, as opposed to live to work. This included making sacrifices: including leaving my home, friends and family and pet. I searched for work that might be seen as “beneath my education” on the resume, such as work on sailboats, nannying, and now tutoring English abroad. Although my happiness is not determined by my LinkedIn professional account. If something makes you happy, shouldn’t that be good enough? Drop the society bull and focus on the life you wish to live. We don’t have much time on this planet - so why waste it trying to be something you might not be cut out to be?
The fallacy of traveling success is a tough subject. For example, I utilize social media to share my travels, but photos are not the sole purpose of the trips I plan. I challenge emerging travelers to revisit why they are getting away in the first place. Your trips will be much more satisfying if you take more than just pictures or check in's. Drop expectations and are prepared for anything with an open heart. Organic reasons to have a travel lust are usually wanting to try new foods, experience new cultures, see new geographical wonders or meet like-minded humans along the way. Maybe its even a spiritual journey! Because if there’s one way to reconnect with yourself, it is through leaving home and facing new challenges that will ground you, humble you and inspire you.
Overall I wanted to introduce this platform as a casual form of communication for friends and family who follow my journey and are starting their own. For anyone who stumbled upon this, welcome and I hope to offer insight for your wanderlust craving.