Why are we the best versions of ourselves when we travel?
To explore the world is a gift in oneself. To be able to meet new people, share new experiences and grow with the world is something I never lose sight of. The feeling of being on a plane; walking that narrow street toward the cathedral; sky diving in the air of Switzerland; climbing one of the many ranges of the Himalayas; sitting in a cafe with a bunch of unrecognizable faces and still being able to share stories of a lifetime; doing the many things you otherwise would have never done. Have you ever wondered what is it that makes us want to travel more? I mean who doesn’t love the idea of a comfortable bed in a big space in the suburbs of the city which junk food and Netflix to the rescue?
But yet, there is an urge to see new things. Why do we feel so great when we travel? Is it about finally having to click snaps in those picture perfect locations? Or to post check-in status’s on social media for the world to know how amazing our life is? Is it the freedom to meet new people and socialize? Or is it something more than that? Something with a deeper intent or something as simple as freshly brewed coffee?
All of us will have different answers to all the questions stated above. Although my reasons might seem more personal, they are more universal and I am sure most of you would strike a chord with me on this.
Reasons why I am the best most authentic version of myself when I travel:
- Experiences will always have an upper hand
From a trainee to a senior level executive, from $100 to $2000 a month, from Benetton to Louis Vuitton, from Honda to a Mercedes, all our lives we aim to be better, bigger and run for all the materialistic achievements. What we fail to understand is how perishable our wants are, in this unbelievably materialistic world. What we ignore believing is indeed a very simple fact; experiences will always have an upper hand. While having a big house or a high end car looks satisfying to the world, what matters the most are the experiences we gain out of life.
From my last travel journey, some of my most memorable moments have nothing to do with which car we hired to drive across the hills, or which hotel we stayed in, but instead about the way our team pushed our car out of a waterfall for over an hour; or how I walked up to a total stranger in a café who I am best friends with now or how I found soul worthy connection midst the crowd.
Travel, for me, has been about finding the new world. Every single time the plane lands onto new grounds, I cannot wait to walk the trail, or taste local food, or even make a new friend over a hot cup of coffee or chilled beer. Every time I travel, I know I am embarking upon a new story of my life, all beautifully gift wrapped around exciting experiences that will stay with me forever even after the leather from my MK bag wears out.
- Getting lost is a good feeling!
Only a handful of you are probably going to agree with me on this one. But I truly believe that being lost is not always upsetting.
I was walking the streets of a small village called Zermatt in Switzerland to find myself some good coffee. Almost half way through I realized I forgot the way back to my hotel. There are two types of reactions to a situation like this: panic and try to run back to your hotel and just order room service; be bold and embrace the feeling of being lost and trusting yourself in the hour of need. That’s what I did. I smiled and walked anyway, looked for a pretty wooden café with dim lights, walked in and asked in broken English, for some cuppachino ;). Although it took me over an hour and a half to find my way back to my hotel, on the way I discovered a beautiful little chapel with a catholic wedding on, a quintessential café with mouth-watering coffee and french-bread, streets I would have never walked otherwise and photographs I now keep as self-created souvenirs for myself.
Getting lost is a good feeling. It’s about how to react to the feeling that decides your course of action. Ever since that (and many other) incident, I have found myself embracing and cuddling my lost soul. I have learnt the ability to adapt to challenging situations. It’s a power, to be so beautifully decorated even when the world around you seems hard to deal with.
- Trust – the world and yourself
Enjoying being a lost soul has taught me how to trust myself in the need of the hour. Travel on the other hand, also makes you have faith in the unknown faces of a new place. It makes you build trust in the unknown.
The world is a bitter place, true. And we sure should be careful of the people we engage ourselves with. But the world is more empathetic than we could imagine.
One evening in Granada, Spain, I met a girl and ended up having one of the most amazing conversations of my life. I still remember her words and how fearlessly, she offered me dinner at a local diner. She learnt I was a vegetarian and had difficulty finding vegetarian food in the city, so helped me choose vegan tapas and even offered to walk me back to my hotel.
It’s hard to be completely fearless on unknown land, in fact we shouldn’t even try to be so, but limiting ourselves because of our fear, and not willing to engage in subtle adventure defies what travel truly means to me. Travel pushes us to out our faith in kind strangers. That is the trust we need in this world. Breaking cultural and social barriers is what travel should be all about.
On the other hand, the ability to face fear, or move ahead of cultural or language barriers makes us trust ourselves. Travel helps us realize what truly matters and pushes us to run after our passions and dreams and fight for the our beliefs, helping us create meaningful lives.
Just imagine how it would feel to live a life without the chains of societal responsibilities, not being answerable to anyone but yourself or not being around people who tie you with expectations and rules and careful establishments?
Travel lets your do all of this by restoring your faith in your own self. You will meet a whole new person, trust me on this.
- Comfort is boring
You have a comfortable home in the urban, a fair enough job at an MNC, probably even come back home to a family, watch some TV and fall asleep. Wake up again and it’s the same cycle.
Anyone who has lived in a tent midst vast mountains on a night with feels of -10 degrees, with food not so great and milk getting cold in seconds would know the importance of patience and the fact that there is beauty even in the uncomfortable, that being flexible is a skill we should all master.
Ever lost luggage at the airport? Ever felt your legs ache so much that you want to just take all your frustration out on the people around you? Ever gone hungry, and being offered nuts by a total stranger? The after feels are precious, aren’t they?
Travel teaches us to get off our comfortable couches switch the digital life off and for once face challenges stepping out of our daily comfort zones. And when things don’t work the way they were planned, we have to go with the flow, build a new plan in the heat of the moment and learn to flex ourselves with the situation.
- Everyone is human
We are all humans striving to be better in this world. Keeping aside all cultural differences, boundary and language barriers, religion and caste and all the superficial things in life, everyone and I mean EVERYONE is running behind the same things in life : Love, security, happiness and respect.
Travel has bought me face front with people both younger and older to me, people speaking a different language, richer and poorer; and I have learnt one of the most important lessons of my life: people are out there for love, respect, happiness and security. I have learnt to look past the superficial aspects of life and I have some lifelong friendships with people across the world. This is the beauty of travel, no judgement’s made.
Last but not the least, I’d just like to say what I have truly believed in: Travel while you are able to, make time for it, because the person you are before a trip and the person you will after a trip, will differ. And you will fall in love with the world and yourself.
Dreamy Traveler| Seeing the world through my lens| Social media junkie| Bibliophile| Food-a-holic| Music lover