When starting our trip 4 months ago I was excited. Excited to discover new places and to go on journeys that will lead me to unforeseen adventures. Excited to discover and taste new and exotic foods and to meet interesting people along the way. I have experienced all this and I am more than grateful. Moving from one place to the next has been tiring at times, but by far more rewarding. As a matter of fact I am writing this from a town in Laos named Luang Prabang – it has taken me ages to reach this place and movement has brought me here. Yet, apart from the physical movement, I have realized that there is something bigger to traveling that has been even more valuable to me – the movement in your mind and discovery of oneself.
I don’t want to fall in line with people telling and writing about “how I discovered myself while traveling”. I simply believe that traveling, and I don’t mean as a tourist but as a traveler, can truly help to teach a lot about oneself. And I also do believe that these lessons are for life and will make a different (even better!) person out of you. This applies for you as a traveler but also for you as a person.
Learning about what is important
The first and most important lesson learned is to find out about what is really important. This applies for your travels but eventually is a lesson that also finds itself in life. It is not about how many countries you have seen. It is not about how nice your hotel is. Our choices and demands have changed. We have become far more content with less. Not necessarily less in terms of materialistic things but we rather appreciate the smaller things and get more satisfied through them. It is not about how many places you have seen but how you have seen and experienced them. I know time can be of an issue but you experience these moment just once in your life so better make the most out of it. Traveling has made us realize about what really is important to us – and this has become more and more evident the longer we travel.
Don’t limit yourself
Everything is possible if you really want it. We have had a lot of second thoughts before traveling for a longer period of time. Is it the right time to do so? Can we just leave our jobs behind and travel?
Yes, you can.
Along our travels we have met a lot of different people from very different backgrounds and stages in life. This ranges from student graduates who leave for a year of traveling before starting their studies, couples who sold all their belongings and have been on the road since many years, retirees who have saved their entire lives and now are traveling the world or even backpack-parents traveling with their small kids. They all took a decision to travel and did not limit themselves as to whether this is the “right time” or not.
If you have set your mind for something do not bother with doubts or setting limits in your mind. Make a decision and follow through on it.
Start living the here and now
Every day of our travels has been unique. There really is not a single day where we know what will happen. We are so busy with the present that there simply is not much time left to think about the future. This made us enjoy and experience each and every day to the max. It is just a fantastic feeling to wake up in the morning not knowing what this new day will bring to you.
Stop worrying too much about the future or what has happened in the past but rather set your mind to maximize the here and now. The worst thing is to look back and regret not having done the things you really wanted to do. So please don’t let that happen and make the most of it – right now!
Overcome your fears
When we started to travel we had some fears. Fears of catching diseases, fears of getting sick from weird food and dirty water, fears of our belongings getting stolen or getting mugged on the streets.
We eventually overcame these fears and realized that fears just hinder oneself. What we have learned in our recent travels is to let go, use your common sense and “just do it”. Fears will become a phobia and will haunt you and eventually put you in a bad situation. They hold you back from discovering new things and taking new opportunities. Many are even afraid to travel because they fear of not having the right orientation or communication skills to do so. I personally had to overcome my fear of hitchhiking as it was always something that I thought I could never do. I eventually overcame this fear and we ended up hitchhiking half-way across Cambodia (and eventually also across all of Myanmar, read about our hitchhiking adventures) – which turned out to be one of the nicest moments of our travels!
Everyone has fears of some sort. We all encounter them in some form or another but it is up to us to overcome these. Many people are afraid of failure but travels have proven that only if you manage to try and go for it you will know and learn out of it. Better try and fail than to never know. Don’t ever let this fear control you.
We have gained so much from our travels. We learned from our mistakes and have acquired a much deeper understanding of what is truly important to us. We not only evolved as travelers but also as humans and believe that traveling has changed our perspective on others and ourselves.