If you let it, that is. Traveling is stimulating. When the traditional work grind is interrupted and a trip is embarked upon solely for pleasure, beautiful things begin to happen within. Feelings of pure freedom set in; freedom from everyday chores and routines. Travel liberates our souls and opens our minds to a whole world of possibilities. Journeying through life with an open heart and the desire to learn and connect with one another, allows for a vastness of beautiful diversities to be discovered. At the same time, travel also reveals an astounding interconnectedness among people. Freely flowing through a land of unknowns, a realization of our innate adaptability should be acknowledged and appreciated. Every single person has desires, hopes, dreams, fears, pain and joy. But how differently are we taught to deal with these emotions and what hardships have others faced in order to see the world as they do? Travel. And watch, as your own beliefs are questioned and your perception alters. This is when our view on how to live begins making more sense.
As powerful and life changing as travel can be, not everyone sees vacation time in this light. When on holiday, some wish only to shop ‘til they drop, remain on resort property, or have their photo taken while “holding” the tip of the Eiffel Tower. Others want to see and explore new lands with eyes wide open, absorbing every hilarious and uncomfortable feeling, embracing the unavoidable awkward moments and every cultural difference encountered. Our senses are heightened when exploring unfamiliar places, and to many, that feeling of being completely out of ones element is the absolutely exhilarating part.
Getting the most out of travel is all about seeking a relationship with both the land and the people. After climbing straight up a mountain for nearly four hours, there’s a humbling sensation of getting to know that particular mountain range’s terrain and the sheer enormity of it all. Riding in a cable car up to the same plateau or peak simply isn't comparable to the triumphant feeling of finally reaching by hand and foot. It's just so off when you see a girl in a short skirt and high heels being photographed in a remote and rugged region, a glorious natural wonder surrounding her. We automatically ask ourselves, where in the heck did she come from? It's not that I wouldn't take a cable car to a mountaintop, because I definitely would. But, there’s something to be noted about the voyage itself and its role in an overall experience.
The absorption of culture and natural beauty can be incredible, if you allow it. A home cooked meal with a native family or a night out with a group of locals, and the conversations that ensue, may become some of the greatest experiences over a foreigner’s journey. If the realization has never quite sunk in, you are the foreigner when you travel. The locals, speaking their native tongue are not foreign, you are. Learn traditional practices and attempt as much of the language as you can. Not only is it respectful, but can also open many doors and aid in building lifelong memories and friendships.
Give and give off what you wish to receive and the good vibes and great times will come back to you, guaranteed. Meander outside the zone of comfort. Get a little lost. Safely lost. When a traveler is open and eager to learn, they’re bound to see our world in a new, stunning light.
Despite language barriers... love, compassion and gratitude translate wonderfully. Good travelers build relationships along the way, leaving permanent impressions in the heart. If not immediately recognized, as it rarely is, these impressions change us.
Open-minded individuals who expose themselves to unfamiliar surroundings and situations return wiser than before. Truly delving into a foreign culture and staying long enough to get comfortable is the key. Life is like a treasure hunt of experiences. We’re searching for simple slivers and priceless fragments of a ginormous and ever-changing picture. The world and all its abundant gems are mind-blowingly beautiful. If given the opportunity to really get out there and see a portion of it, don’t even hesitate. Just do it! And do it right. You won’t ever regret it.