“Congrats for a new beginning bro. I am sure you will make the most of it,” I gathered myself and finally said it, feeling a little guilty for not being there on his marriage day. I mean when you’re on the road forever, missing a few important occasions becomes a part of life. And missing your friends’ marriages is certainly one of them.
“So where are you off to, for the honeymoon?” I innocently enquired next.
“Unfortunately nowhere bro. The marriage and other functions took more money than we expected. I think we will have to keep all our travel desires unattended in 2019. Can’t even think of a weekend getaway, forget about the honeymoon,” he replied, sounding a little distressed for he had spent most of his savings, despite it not being a one of that big-fat-wedding in a big Indian city.
And it wasn’t something new to my ears. I’ve heard a similar excuse a few more than I expected, in the previous years. I heard people giving up on their travel dreams for reasons I can never imagine — because they’ve invested in a new car, because an 80-inch flat screen TV sounded like a better investment, because health insurance was important!
I’ve noticed, despite travelling getting a relatively popular trend every day and with everyone around us becoming more travel savvy, most people still need some kind of motivation, a force, rather, to make them travel and see the world — whether that motivation comes from a few inspirational travel quotes or a real-life story. Because in the world of ever-changing devices, where materialism is ruling our mind, investing 70,000 Rupees in an iPhone always feels more tempting than investing 30,000 in travelling.
Travelling makes you smarter. It gives you better ideas and helps you appreciate life in ways you never did before. If you don’t believe me, just compare two people (whenever you have a chance) and you will find the one who has travelled more in their life, speaking not only more sense but appreciating life a little more. Talking about myself, in just a few years of nomadic life, I can see a big positive change in me. No matter what, I now hardly feel agitated or overpowered by the moment. Understanding people has become easier for me. I even understand myself much better now than I ever did before.
So yea, travelling has its own benefits and you should never compromise with your travel dreams. And speaking of some travel inspiration, and the reasons why you should start travelling today, here are some:
Materialism Only Gives Temporary Happiness
The sad thing about materialistic happiness is that it is not permanent. Once you own something, and you own it for some time, the excitement slowly fades away, leaving you as the same old person you were before — discontent and wanting something else in life, but this time, with a little more appetite.
“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there would be peace.”
For example, imagine that you buy a new iPhone. You show it to your friends and you get the best feeling in the world. Soon, your iPhone becomes a few months old, and the excitement of owning it fades away into oblivion. The money that you originally invested in buying it slowly loses its value, leaving you with nothing more than just another (now, not-so-exciting) product in your hand. But any money, invested in travelling, or in other words… any money invested in gaining experiences, never loses its value.
When you travel, you earn friends, you earn knowledge, some peace of mind, and a lot of self-learning. And even if nothing, the experience, at least, gives you stories to talk about for an entire lifetime.
Speaking of myself, since I’ve quit my corporate career in 2015, and with it, everything that didn’t fit in a backpack, to travel around the world, I’ve realised that no matter what I own, it never fills my heart with joy as travelling does. Exploring the most isolated corners of the world and befriending people I randomly run into is, for me, the greatest of all joys.
The World Is Better (& Safer) Than You Think
I hear this a lot from people who know me that the world is changing for worse and I should not be (or, at least, be a little careful while) travelling alone. I remember when I was travelling solo in Nagaland, I received at least a dozen Instagram messages every day with people showing their concern and asking all kind of safety questions.
I understand some places need more caution while travelling, and there is no harm in keeping your wits about your personal safety. But if there’s one thing that I’ve understood the most during the previous three years of uninterrupted solo travelling, in and outside of India, it is that the world is a much better place than most of us think.
I’ve volunteered, and stayed with families in India, Australia and Europe, for weeks, using their bedrooms and eating the meals they served (having no idea what I was eating for most of the times) and never did I feel unsafe. You can call myself lucky, but I think every person has this intuitive feeling to sense danger, and as long as you don’t feel it, there’s no point in holding yourself back. Because being cautious is one thing, and being scared is the other.
And if you’re scared (to even step outside in the real world) you’re just holding yourself back. Being fearful is the most self-damaging thing one can do to themselves.
Travelling Makes You A Better, More Confident Person
The human brain is conditioned in a way that it appreciates familiarity. It finds it comforting in doing the same thing every day — take the regular route to the workplace, hang out with everyday friends, and return to the same place it knows as Home.
But if you want to grow as a person, the road can give you a lot of perspective, about the world you live in, and about yourself. Living with an Italian family in Rome, exploring the tribal communities in Nagaland, and being on road in Kerala for a month has taught me more about myself in ways that no school, no job, ever did before.
I mean think of it this way… what would you do when you end up in a new country, with no one coming to receive you at the airport, and where people don’t speak your language? You would think hard, try a few dozen sign-languages and find your way around. And in the process, you develop a smarter and more confident self than you were, before. The more you travel, the better you get at communication, problem-solving, patience, compromise, and a dozen other things. There’s no better self-development tool than travelling.
The World Is Changing Fast
I remember when I first visited Leh in 2012, in the Ladakh region of the Indian Himalayan state of J&K, the place looked so peaceful and unworldly. But since it gained popularity (which majorly happened after 2010) it has lost its charm pretty much entirely. Now there are more guest houses in Leh than there are open spaces. Monasteries are surrounded by tall commercial buildings. The sound of the prayer bells is overpowered by the maddening traffic.
And then again, urbanisation is one thing, and still not as destructible as natural calamities. With growing imbalance in the world and natural calamities happening more frequently than ever, the world is anyway changing rapidly.
I remember when I visited Kochi, in Kerala, last month, after a destructible Kerala flood in August 2018, it looked so different and lifeless than when I last visited Kerala a couple of years ago. Similarly, global warming and climate change are having their own powerful change too. The mountains that earlier wore a crown of snow all year round, are now found dry and empty even in the winter months. Islands are losing their share and are shrinking every day. Wildlife is quickly dying. No wonder, with a growing imbalance in the world and natural calamities happening more frequently than ever, the right time to travel and see the world is now!
You Don’t Need Everyone’s Approval To Travel
I always suggest people to not seek everyone’s approval before they start travelling or take some other life-changing decision. Because there will always be people who will understand you, and there will always be those who won’t. But at times when you feel stuck in life, travelling can be your quickest escape and it may just because you asked those who discouraged you from travelling, you may end up not doing it at all. So don’t seek everyone’s approval.
Travelling gives you a frame of time to leave your worries behind until you gain strength to fight back. And in such times, if you didn’t just let go and rather sought other people’s solicitation, you may lose the courage to even leave at first place.
Similarly, don’t wait for other people’s company. If there is no one to travel with you, just leave alone and travel solo.
I understand that solo travelling can feel unexciting and unsafe if you haven’t done it before. What if I get mugged, or worse, got lost in a new city? How would I enjoy my time alone? These little insecurities will always play their part. But once you do it, you understand that solo travelling can be more exciting and safer than you initially thought it to be. Solo travelling gives you the ultimate freedom to travel when you want, and travel as you want.
To honestly admit it, I was never a born solo traveller either. But from the very beginning, if there was one thing I was sure about, it was – if I put off a trip because of other people, I can never travel the world and see places I always wished to see.
Life Is Short & Unpredictable
And then again, as much as we hate to believe it, there is no denying the fact that life is unpredictable. You never know what tomorrow holds for you, so why not enjoy today, spend a few hundred dollars, travel the world and make memories. Why bother buying material things that, in a few months, are anyway going to become old and unexciting — or worse, save money for future that may not be ours at all to behold.
I mean we all have come across stories where people have lost lives to an accident or a disease before they crossed 30 or 40 years of their age, giving us a fair understanding of how uncertain life can be.
Though it doesn’t mean that we should live our lives in fear, we should understand how fragile it can be. Where planning for the future is certainly a good thing to do, over planning, and planning alone and not enjoy life, is a waste of a lifetime. So seize every day, travel and explore the exciting world we live in. Because in the end, when we will be old (if we happened to become one, at all) and sitting on the couch, tired, there will be nothing that will excite us more, but the little life experiences we had, still alive in our fading memories!
Also Read: What 2018 Taught Me
Is there still something else that’s holding you back from travelling? Spill in comments below!