„And so you went? Just like that? Packed your stuff and left?“
„Haven’t you worried about your future? That you might lost what you have?“
Then they always sigh a little. Take a breath or two, look to the ground and search for the words.
„I wish I was that brave. I always wanted to do it. But first, I had to finish the school. I had no money, I couldn’t go. Then I found a job, I had a contract, I couldn’t go. Now I have kids, you know, it is responsibility. I just cannot go.“
Listening to these stories always breaks my heart a little. There are two kinds of people that talk to me now after my trip finished. The first are the young people of my age, that talk to me and say how awesome my courage to travel is, but then they always add: “I’ll also go. But not now. I study (have a boyfriend, have no money), I can’t. I’ll go later.”
And then there is the second group of people that say: “I always wanted to go. But it is too late. I can’t anymore.”
I’ll tell you a secret. They both are wrong. Taking the courage to go is not about bravery or heroism, it is a decision. A decision you can make at any point in your life.
But there are several good reasons why to go travelling while you are 20+.
How traveling around America changed my world
When I decided at my 22 years to hit the roads, my decision seemed to many around me irrational. I was about to finish my degree with great results, had a long-time boyfriend and my whole life appeared to be like from a perfect movie, which you would just never want to leave.
And yet I did. At the age of 22, I realized that these were the years that change us the most. These were the years when we would have to focus on ourselves, on what we want and what we need, cause these years would once decide how we were going to live for the rest of our lives.
Even though I was at this time the happiest girl in this world, something inside me felt I needed a challenge. Something that would kick me out of my comfort zone and let me fight the dragons and demons of this world. Something that would grow me wiser and stronger. I needed a transformation.
I truly believe letting yourself go of the world you live in since your birth is A MUST for the personal development of your inner self. Here I bring you my reasons why.
You set yourself free
We live in a democracy and therefore we barely can consider ourselves to be unfree. But what happens when you set off on the road and go traveling?
Imagine you take your whole existence to a wholly new place. To the place, you have never seen. To the place where no one knows you. It DOES actually feel like you are in a new universe, another world, with all the expectations, rules and standards left behind. You can be whoever you want. Being stuck at home and having no objective viewpoint often misleads us thinking we are following our dreams, while we are fulfilling dreams of someone else.
You will learn to manage a chaos
People use to keep away from travelling because of a fear of unknown. Fear of unexpected, unwanted and undesirable circumstances that will just mess up everything and make your life worse. Why would you go and risk it? Why wouldn’t you just stay home – safe and warm – forever?
After leading a student organization about 70 people for one year, I learnt about myself I was already able to manage the order. I had plans and processes for every single section of the organization. Alternatives and crisis plan for every thinkable crisis situation. And it all became boring. I asked myself – well you can manage an order, but can you handle a chaos as well?
And so I went. I planned nothing. I expected nothing. I let the flow lead me – and you know what? I managed that too! We, people, are capable of so many things we have no clue about, and it is only the fear and insecurity that keep us away from trying.
Don´t be that coward. Go!
You will fall in love
Oh yes. So many times. With the countries, nature, the culture and especially – with the people. I fell in love all over again every time I changed my place.
You know how fulfilling and empowering it is to be in love. The whole atmosphere of excitement and adventure will simply draw you in the flow of love and passion with every other traveller you meet along the road. People on roads are different from those you meet at home. They are liberated, open-minded, joyful and warm-hearted, they live for now and they give you all their existence and devotion, cause they know the time they have with you is limited. There is just no holding back, cause every moment you live, you live just once.
“I am sitting here, casually on the floor at the gate of my flight home, chewing coca candies and writing my blog, and all I can see are the people looking at me. I might think they judge me because I am being too careless. Too open-minded. Too wild or unbehaved. But in real, I think they would like to sit here with me. Some of them smile or wink when I look at them. I know what they think. I know they would like to come back in time and live their life again, but this time – to the fullest.”
My diary, 31 May 2016
You will fall roughly. Many times.
Of course, travelling is not all just rainbows and butterflies, and it brings along much bitter experience too. Being in the flow of “anything-can-happen”, you also come to sketchy places and unkind people. I was robbed in the street by a man with a knife, I was being lied to and tried to be tricked so many times, I cannot even count it. I was being naive and endlessly trusting.
And yet I don’t regret a single bad moment that happened to me. They all became a valuable lesson I’d never forget in my life.
And then you stand up again
As much as I appear to be one of the most adventurous and courageous people you have ever met, trust me, I wasn’t. Behind every single time of achieving something, there was a huge amount of insecurity and doubt. I was desperately fearing failure in anything I did. Well, I can tell you, there were moments in my trip that brought me really down. Right to the knees. I have lost what I loved and I felt broken and betrayed and I thought I wouldn’t ever stop crying in my life.
But hey, I did. One morning, I woke up, look out of the window, took a fresh breath and exhaled deeply. I let go. Of anything that was hurting me, of anything that felt wrong to me. Of all the things I simply had no power to change.
Accepting the fact that things are sometimes not going the way we want them is truly empowering. And instead of being insecure and fearful, I became the exact opposite.
Now I fear nothing at all.
You will be proud of yourself
The hardest part was expecting me upon arrival back home.
I had to face the fact that the world I left simply moved on, while I came back to the exact same points as when I left. Friends moved out of the town, my fresh ex-boyfriend was having a new life and I felt lonely. But I was not sad. The lecture I was given on my trips taught me I would eventually get over this as over any other bitter moment in my life. I was able to tell myself: “Hey girl, you went through tougher things in your life, you will manage,” and I truly believed that. I could look into the mirror and give myself a supporting smile, knowing my own self is strong and would always be there for me when the circumstances bring me down.
Still not sure if you should go?
Then let me give you just a few more arguments why to go (NOW!) is absolutely the best idea to do:
Thanks to the journey you take, you will:
- Realize, our times on this planet is limited, and we should live it to the fullest
- Value small things. Like breath-taking views and laughter of your friends
- Experience and learn so much
- Prove yourself you are fucking good and capable of anything you want
- Which grows your wings and set you to fly
Days spent travelling will give you exactly those memories you will never forget. And as my favourite author Mark Twain once has written:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn´t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
So why are you still here ?!?!?!