Be warned: Traveling is not like going on vacation

Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you so you can be who you were meant to be in first place.

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paradise

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The beach, bright white. The water, clear and beautiful like from another universe. The food is the best you’ve ever tasted. And your accommodation is like a dream. You really do enjoy your holiday! Three weeks later you catch your plane home and after being back in your home country for only one month, snow is falling and you wish nothing more than to go back to paradise.

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life

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To really travel is different than being on vacation. The first thing that comes to my mind is how different a place appears when you stay for a longer time in just one spot. You realize the daily routine around you. The curtain falls. In short: You realize, there is life around you. With all its ups and downs, drama and imperfections, failures and randomness. 

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memories

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If you compare your memory from the perfect holiday to your daily grind, it seems that being at home and going to work is the worst thing to do on this planet. But paradise dissolves when you add a bit of reality to it. As soon as you have acknowledged that, you will realize that being in paradise wouldn’t be so much better if you bring your personal situation with you.

Our funny brain lets us remember the good parts of a memory more intensely than the bad parts, that’s good to know. The three-week vacation now feels more like a dream to you, something was missing, but hey, here it comes…

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reality

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Forget about the romantic images of the resort just for a minute, forget about the images of the bright white beach that gets cleaned every morning. Insert a bit of drama into the memory from your last holiday in paradise. Mix in some people from everywhere in the wold. Add a bit of love, a bit of life, a bit of greed, and a bit of fear. Mix in corrupt politicians and corrupt cops and also some good things that society has to offer. And then ask yourself if you still would call it paradise. You would maybe call it by its name instead.

When paradise disappears you might not like the first look of… the same place. But counterintuitively this experience is exactly what makes traveling so special. It makes you find real people, real challenges, real me, real you.

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society

 

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After you start to connect with people at a new place, you learn new rules. That might make you question the old rules that you knew. You learn that other people value things differently than you. And you show them how you value things differently too. You might defend, explain, or change your own perspective, but you will definitely think about it.

You will see that people in different countries have completely different ideas about “what would I die for” and “what do I live for”. So how is it, that from all of those thousands of hopes and dreams and values and goals, you believe that yours are the “best”? Just because your society taught them to you?

The answer to this question introduces relativity. And it also introduces individualism – while it dissolves ego. That’s a lot. To acknowledge that those values and perspectives are kind of random will help you to understand different cultures (including your own culture) and it will help you to understand different people (including yourself). It helps you to relax. You start to worry less about the “little things”. And it helps you to put energy in projects you suddenly consider to be “important”.

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values

 

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People get used to almost everything, to the good and to the bad. To the new and exiting stuff. To the old and repetitive stuff. So try to imagine what will become “normal” to you after a while of traveling. What scares you now will not bother you anymore. At all.

After a while of traveling everything gets equaled out… Since you’ve waited for three full days for a train to arrive in India you won’t worry anymore if something else is delayed for 20 minutes. Or delayed for some days. Or canceled.

This also means you might not be so impressed anymore by stuff that was really exciting for you before you traveled. I mean… remember the things you cared about a lot when you were younger? Now you laugh about them and that’s ok. So nothing is lost when you rearrange your values and see things from another perspective. You only lose a false feeling of confidence to your old, and now pretty boring mindset. 

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shift_perspective

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If everything is relative – what is important in life?

Your will, your character, your personal strengths, your power, and especially your curiosity will decide what is important. That means only YOU decide what is important! Not your culture. Not your parents. Not your boss: Only you decide how you spend your time.

Traveling changes the way you experience the world around you. You will experience the world more vividly. The experience will feel a bit more “real”. Because now you are looking from your own personal point of view. Still influenced from your society, your history, your parents, your teachers, and from media. But now you know how to shift your perspective and that gives you a lot of freedom.

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travel

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Traveling helps to get a more precise understanding of what is important for you. It helps to separate what defines you – from what is not a part of you.

Questioning old patterns of behavior, getting to know what is essential for you personally: You might call it the process of finding yourself. And there is nothing that can help you more in finding yourself than traveling.

Do what you want to do.
Travel.

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You are already traveling?

Then share this with your friends and tell them to travel now!

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