As Walt Whitman said, “Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you. You must travel it by yourself.”
What is so exciting about traveling? Is it exploring the world one country at a time? Is it widening our horizons and experiencing new cultures? From my experience recently I proved to myself that every time I travel I feel different. I feel like I have changed. Though this may not be the case: I am still the same height & weight, I still have the same hair and eye color…so what has changed? The place I left behind has remained the same, my physical appearance I left with is still the same, but something new has sparked inside me.
I always thought travel gave some sort of fundamental change in a person. All of my thoughts and desires have been shaped by my experiences.I recently spent over two weeks backpacking in Europe. And I loved the thrill of throwing myself into each culture and new language. Unlike those I was traveling with I was busy admiring the architecture and enjoyed wandering through art galleries. I was constantly thoughtful to the millions of people who had been walking these cobbled streets for centuries. How many other people stared at this painting? How many thousands of people have taken a picture here?
Many articles write about the change you experience after travel. Becoming more social and accepting, gaining confidence, becoming culturally aware, and of course being a proud American…or whatever. But weren’t all these things true before? They might be more externally vocal now but I don’t think travel created this change in you. Travel developed what was already inside of your heart.
My trip helped me get a grip on my need for planning. I realized I won’t always get to my transportation on time, I might take a wrong street, I might end up not able to communicate with my waiter, I might have to eat a lot of food I wouldn’t normally eat, I might have to get down & dirty (literally falling multiple times on a hike) and lastly, I might not be able to plan out my day in its entirety.. Life is full of surprises and traveling throughout my life has shown me the love I have for these surprises.
No one can tell you how travel will shape you. Not I or the guy who wrote books about where to go when you are going. Sometimes you might not even think it shaped you at all. It is okay to vacation for relaxation, but it also okay to vacation whilst looking for a deeper meaning.For now all I can do is share how travel has shaped me.
So, if you have been meaning to break out of your shell do it! If you are worried about money or funding, save up and jump in with two feet. Do not get caught on the worrying or the ‘what ifs’ that can often stop people from traveling. Just close your eyes and jump in!