Traveling is not the only way to learn about life, but it’s one of the best ways there is.
Whether you’re at a crossroads right now or you simply need a breather, here are a few things you are bound to rediscover when you travel. So when in doubt, pack your bags and just go, travel.
1. Be here. Be now.
“Suffering comes from wishing things were different.” -Pema Chodron.
I first heard this during an adventure camp in high school, but it keeps on coming back to me especially when I travel. It’s so easy to dwell on the past or look so far into the future and miss out on the present.
We get so caught up in our worries and fears that we often forget what life is all about. Instead of making the most out of our circumstances, we often wish we were in a different place, doing a different thing, with a different set of people in a different time. This isn’t entirely wrong. However, if we live our lives this way, we will never make actual memories. Memories are made in the present. Exactly where we are, embracing what we have.
Traveling has a way of allowing us to live in the moment. No past, no future, just embracing a special moment in time when we can only allow ourselves just to be. And be happy.
2. Look back but don’t get stuck. In travel, life or love.
Bangkok, Thailand 2013.
Sometimes, you’ll find yourself in places so beautiful you don’t want to leave. Then you travel again, and you’ll find yourself seeing places that are more beautiful than the ones you’ve been. You will find yourself grateful for taking the chance to explore again. The world is huge and strangely beautiful, and so is our lives.
It is more convenient to look back than to move forward. More comfortable to stay where we are than to brave the unknown. The complexity of the future is perplexing to us. We love the safety of our comfort zones. We probably have a nagging feeling in our hearts that we are meant for so much more, but the ease of the familiar is shouting at us as if it is the only option we have. Most of the time, it’s not.
So what do we say?
Sail on! Never get stuck.
There are far, far better things than any we leave behind.
3. Freedom is always on the other side of fear.
Pai, Thailand 2014.
I remember the first time I flew on my own to work abroad. The future scared me so much I wanted just to go back and cancel my flight. Two years and several cities later, packing my life in a suitcase remains to be the bravest thing I have ever done. The second was falling in love, and next was mending my broken heart.
To be honest, I never thought I’d reach the other side, but I did, as with most things in life.
To not know what exactly lies ahead but finding the courage to get yourself out there to figure it out is the closest thing to faith that you’ll ever discover.
Our fears often eat us alive. Many times, we will probably die a thousand deaths before we figure out how to live. And when we finally realize we need to live and not just survive, there’s no turning back. Our fears of failure or getting hurt becomes secondary to our fear of not living at all.
Life can be full of uncertainties but is also filled with surprises.
Don’t hold back. Right or wrong, there is no way of finding out what’s on the other side but by getting, sometimes, good even dragging yourself there.
4. Nothing lasts forever.
Mount Kinabalu Sunrise. 2015
We’ve probably heard it since forever, but it doesn’t get any truer until we get older. And it doesn’t get more relevant than until we come home from our travels.
We get back with our lives refreshed after an excellent adventure we just had. We wish the adrenaline rush will sustain us until our next adventure, but it only lasts for a few weeks or even days. We miss the feeling so much so we book our next flight and we look forward to our next adventure on the road. And the cycle goes on because nothing lasts forever. The places we’ve been will stay in our memories only for a while until we come to a new location and make a few other memories again. But we love it. We just love the feeling.
It is a fact of life that sometimes, memories are all we have. And even memories fade with time, but it’s okay. It’s the impermanence of things that makes them beautiful. It’s the brevity of life that makes it more meaningful.
It is the very thought of forever that makes us cringe sometimes. Unless it’s a very wonderful thing. And although it’s wonderful, it probably wouldn’t be so wonderful if we knew it would last forever. Unless we’re talking about heaven here.
5. Travel light.
Mount Kinabalu 2015.
When we were climbing Mount Kinabalu, one of the things that slowed us down was our backpacks. We had so many things inside. Too many clothes, too many foods, too many years. The weight of our backpacks was too much for the climb, so we decided to ask for help. After unloading our backpacks, it became easier for us to climb. Not only easier, but we climbed faster as well.
Sometimes, we have too much excess baggage in our lives, and it prevents us from moving forward.
A sinful past. Failed relationships. Unfruitful attempts at getting ahead in life.
Over the years, negativity may have slowly built up that we live within the walls of our self-imposed limitations.
There are so many things we don’t need to carry with us. We only need a few things to get by in life.
Faith, hope, some love maybe.
It’s when we travel light that we travel free.
6. Live the search.
WWII Memorial Bridge. Pai, Thailand. 2015.
Long before Rip Curl nailed it, many others have embraced this adage.
They say not all who wander are lost, and it’s probably true.
You’ll get to meet a lot of people when you travel. Some of them may seem familiar because you see yourself in them. Others are way too different and it gets all the more interesting.
There are those who travel to escape life, but there are those who travel for life not to escape them.
Life is not a sprint. It’s a marathon.
It doesn’t matter if we arrive early or late, what is important is how we tried our best to run to get ourselves there.
So keep walking. Keep running. Keep Searching.
The life that we’re living can only be summed up by all the things we are doing in between.
7. Get out there.
Explore. Dream. Discover.
Nothing takes the place of experience as the best teacher so get yourself out there.
Allow your feet to get dirty. Let your legs get hurt from walking. Let your stomach react badly from all the local foods you will allow yourself to eat. You will get lost sometimes but still, get out there. It’s okay.
Get your heart broken from trying. Then try again. Try until you’re comfortable.
Get yourself out there and do it often. Allow yourself to experience as many things as you can until you can’t anymore. And when you look back, you can laugh at yourself for all the things you allowed yourself to have. The joy, the pain, the suffering, and the many lessons learned. Make sure you learn.
I learned the hard way that it takes so much to live and love. I used to believe I can just sit down and wait for things to happen. I waited for things to change. Most of the time though, they didn’t. The thing is, you can’t just expect for things to happen, even though sometimes they will.
If you really want to get the most out of life, you have to make things happen for yourself. Whether it’s love you’re fighting for, a dream or a career, do something. Get out there. Yes, get yourself out there because if you won’t, no one will.
This article is an entry for the Bali, Indonesia Writing Competition 2015!
About the Writer
Juliemae Riconalla is a Life student. Currently an OFW but a wanderer forever. She’s not a writer, but she writes as she feels. Loves sunsets, airports and long bus rides. Other than that, she’s still trying to figure out how to live a more meaningful life, but until then, she’ll do whatever just to stay alive.
Follow her as she starts to write her own stories of faith, love, and adventures at julieandmore.com.
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