When I was younger I dreamed of traveling to new places.
I wanted to visit different parts of the United States, but also hoped to leave the country to see new cultures as well.
At twenty years old I got my passport. After opening the white envelope and holding the little book in my hands, it hit me: I could go. Granted I could not get up and leave that minute, but once I had my passport, all of those dreams of visiting new places started to lose their haze and developed some focus.
These dreams could now more easily become realities.
Two years later I had traveled to Mexico twice, and once to Colombia, Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. It was fantastic and I loved it. Meeting new people, eating new foods, and taking in the sights, sounds, and smells were incredible.
Every time I left, I came back rejuvenated, even on the trips that required me to put out some physical labor. I felt like I had a renewed sense of purpose. I found motivation that I either never had or did not have in quite some time. I liked the “me” I became when I travelled.
As a budding psychologist, I find myself asking typically two questions of a many of life’s circumstances: how and why? As much as I ask them of others, I also ask them of myself.
How do I feel when I travel?
Rejuvenated, motivated, and rested.
Why do I feel this way when I travel?
This is where I sometimes draw a blank. I don’t know why.
Honestly, flying tires me out. Changing time zones and navigating a new city when I don’t speak the main language is difficult. I don’t get my full eight hours of sleep each night. The only other thought I have about what makes me feel this way is the people.
The people that create these different cultures are diverse and beautiful. There are so many ways that they are unlike me, and yet they are both surviving and thriving.
I am curious to know what life looks like for them. Are they happy? Are they satisfied? Do they have things that I desire but am lacking?
While my senses are constantly on the go while traveling, my mind is too. I’m taking it all in and processing as much as can, and what I cannot process now, I attempt to later (typically in my journal).
This is why I encourage travel.
While there are so many elements of uncertainty that come with it, your life is uncertain even today and right now, in the comfort of your normality. There is always the chance that an event will occur that will rock your world, or that an epiphany might be granted to you that changes everything.
We are not guaranteed next week, month, or year, and not even tomorrow. We don’t admit to the uncertainty before us, but whether we are home or abroad, it is still there. Through the uncertainty and the diversity, there is beauty in that there are also so many similarities of the human race. There are all basic needs and wants that each person has, from security and safety to wanting to receive love and acceptance.
We are all on the same journey.
So, take a trip. If you are truly nervous, start somewhere a bit more close to home or dive completely in. Take as much or as little time as you need and prepare your mind and heart to grow.
Do the crazy things that you’ve only ever dreamed of. Take public transportation, drink the extra glass of wine, go up to someone and introduce yourself.
You are never too old to continue to grow.