A 25 minute walk to the bus station to catch a 12 hour bus ride. Switch buses. Catch the bus to the airport for 20 minutes. Check into flight. Grab a quick bite to eat. Catch a 2 hour flight. Make a deal with a taxi cab driver to get us to our hostel.
Check in. You try to understand everything that has just been told to you (rules of the hostel, rules about an extra towel and how much it will cost you, if breakfast is included, where you can store your food, what time check out is, etc.). After all, you are in a different country and everyone seems to speak faster than they actually probably do. Your host asks you several questions. You make out that he has just asked you if you understand what he has just told you. You nod yes and tell yourself that between what you actually did understand and the wishful thinking that at least one other English speaking person that speaks and understands the language much better than you will be here at the hostel and will befriend you ASAP…you got this!
As you retire to your new home that is yours for the next few days or so you remove your heavy bag from your back. It has left indentations on your shoulders from its weight and there are sweat marks on your back, your clothes are sticking to you. All you want to do is take a shower and wash away the past 24 hours plus of walking, buses, planes, taxis, sweat, and dirt. Your next thought…what is my next adventure?!
This is travel. After all, the purpose of life is to live it, go on adventures and experience new things.
1. Travel forces you to be “unconnected” at times- There have been days that I have gone without internet connection. That is right… no Facebook, no Instagram, no checking the news. Instead, I have had wonderful conversations with people that might otherwise would not have occurred. I was actually able to unplug and detox from “pop culture” so to speak. I think we too often forget how easy we have it. We have a tiny, little computer in the palm of our hand that is able to make phone calls, send emails and texts, take pictures, record videos, has a GPS navigation system…all for a nominal, monthly fee.
2. Travel helps you to be more present- Traveling forces you to be in the moment. When I would go on short trips (aka “vacations”) knowing I would have to return to work after a week or so, I would spend a good portion of my trip anticipating the next excursion or destination. Now I am able to enjoy the experience for what it is and not think about anything else. It is nice to be able to “stop to smell the roses”…enjoy every walk, every bite of food, every conversation, every sunset, every footstep in the sand and just slow down. “The trouble is, you think you have time.” -Buddha
3. Travel forces you out of your comfort zone- You will be in situations where you do not have the comforts of home. You will be exposed to many situations that make you feel dirty, exhausted, and just plain gross. However, what was uncomfortable yesterday, becomes comfortable today. “The days you are most uncomfortable are the days you learn the most about yourself.”- Mary L. Bean
4. Everyone, everywhere wants the same thing- People all over the world all come from very different backgrounds and cultures however, we all want the same things…to be loved, validated, success, and time to experience the aforementioned. How we go about attaining these things is how we differ. No one has it all figured out.
5. Making new friends is easy- People are genuinely nice. If you are nice, people will be nice in return.