Without a doubt, traveling is a passion of mine. Whenever I hear that someone has traveled somewhere, my ears perk up and I want to learn more. Where did they go? What did they do? What was the experience like?
Traveling moves my spirit, and it feeds my soul. I don’t know what it is but there’s just something about going somewhere new and exploring life outside my everyday norm – what I refer to as “life outside myself” – that really gets me going. More often then not, travel becomes an exploratory journey of me not only learning about another country or culture, but also learning a lot about myself along the way. Traveling very much lends itself to being a catalyst for soul searching and reflection.
I’ve been fortunate to have traveled and lived in countries around the world, and as much as possible I like to encourage folks to get out there and explore. I’m a huge advocate for both local and global travel, as no matter where you go you’ll expose yourself to something new and insightful. So, if you’re like me and you’re oozing to get out there and do some traveling this year, here are five insightful reasons to make it happen in 2012.
You will be inspired. There’s no doubt about it, traveling is inspiring. You’ll see new sights, be introduced to new cultures and you’ll gain first-hand insight into alternative ways of being and living. The possibilities for inspiration throughout your journey are really limitless; you just have to be open to letting it in. Whether it’s the intense blue sea you’ll be surrounded by in the Greek Isles or the vast countryside of Ethiopia sprinkled with beautiful children along the way, just getting out there will fill you up with both visual and soulful inspiration.
You will get a huge reality check. This is definitely a good thing, as it often results in gaining a new perspective of what life around the world is like for many people. Once, while traveling through a developing country, I didn’t have running water in my room for days. I mean dayssssss. Daily actions that I was so used to easily doing, like taking a shower or flushing the toilet, were non-existent. It definitely was not the most convenient situation to be in (and “in 15 minutes” as a reply to when we’d get water got old real quick), but that experience was a reality check. Millions of people across the globe live every single day of their lives without running water in their homes – that’s the reality, and I got a taste of it.
You’ll open yourself up to life outside yourself. There’s no doubt about it, you’ll stretch yourself and get out of your comfort zone. Sometimes just a little, sometimes a lot – it really depends on where you go! We are so fortunate to live in a world where there are so many different cultures, ways of life and being, and dare I throw this in there… types of food (I happen love food, so I’m all about trying new great veg dishes around the world)! Explore it! See what’s out there; get out of your bubble! When you do you’ll see first-hand that yes, while cultural differences do exist – and there’s nothing wrong with that, there are also a lot of similarities and ways that we can connect with each other. We just have to be open to it.
If not now, then when? Far too many people put off their travel dreams for too long. If you’ve spent years saying you’re going to start traveling soon, but that’s not happened – let 2012 be the year that you do it! Come up with a savings game plan and stick with it! Determine what you’re financially able to do, and plan something special around that. It may not be that $3000 trip to Africa, but perhaps it’s a well-budgeted $1200 trip to a country in Central America (depending on the time of the year, and how thrifty you’re willing to go (hostel vs. hotel), you can actually do it for much less!). Stop putting your travel dreams on hold; make it a priority to make it happen!
Give yourself space and time to slip away. Sometimes what we need most is time and space to be away and to just be. It’s so easy to become consumed by our day-to-day to-dos; and before we know it, we’re living life on a treadmill and going nowhere fast. We feel lost or empty, and we’re not exactly sure why. In moments like these, getting away from your everyday environment can yield a breath of fresh air and renewed energy and insight. There are ways you can plan your trip for intentional reflection, like by bringing along a journal. Or, you can travel without any structured reflection in place, and just let what comes to you surface as it may. In either case, you’ll very likely gain new insight and perspective by simply just being away.