What Traveling Has Taught Me

Every time I step off the plane in a new place I feel like life has been restored.  Well, first I say ah, I made it. Phew.  Current events did that to me.

For me, the comfort zone gets boring.  Not only boring, but it gets uncomfortable.  There comes a time when I just get really tired of the routine.  It’s like using the same equipment at the gym – not really losing or gaining anything after a while.  Some days I wake up so angry that I have to get up and be at work for 8;  I get so angry when my hair isn’t cooperating;  I get so angry at the things I read on the internet.  So that’s why, every now and then, I will sporadically book a flight somewhere; book an appointment to change my hair color; or I will spend most of my work day typing away to a post that I can’t wait to publish because I think this is a good one.

I travel for work and for my own pleasure.  When it’s for work, I say it’s for work.  When it’s pleasure, I say I just need a break.  I need something other than Saturday and Sunday when I don’t have to be up while the sun is still rising, give me a week in Florida.

I’ve been to a number of places, for a number of days, and some a number of times.  With that, I’ve come up to what it all has taught me:

Everyone should travel alone by themselves at least once

Being by yourself while maneuvering through a new city, state or country is exhilarating as it is nerve-wrecking.  It creates a whole new level of independence a person never knew they needed.  It scared the hell out of me to be overseas or across the country by myself, and sometimes it still does.  It always will.  I felt like an alien or like I didn’t exist at all.  I remember feeling like no one goes out of their way to even look at you.  It takes the 6th stranger to walk by you just to ask a question and receive help.  Sometimes I leave on short notice and it doesn’t give me enough time to mentally prepare for where I’m about to land.  Jet-setting has definitely made me a non-stop thriving young, adult woman who is always ready to take on the world. Don’t be so afraid of the culture shock, own it.

It creates a respectful perspective

Before I visited Asia I probably called everyone Chinese.  Now, I address them as Asian like I am American, and that’s just out of respect.  You cannot call a Korean a Japanese, or a Vietnamese person a Chinese.  It’s completely disrespectful and I didn’t learn this until I was in their territory.  I hear this the most when females talk about getting their nails manicured at a salon.  They’re not all Chinese or Chinese at all.  Just call them Asian to spare the ignorance.

Watch your mouth and listen

First of all, East Coasters – before you go 3 hours behind, try to act like you’re not a sheltered New England resident by saying this wrong:  it’s not Oregone, it’s Oregin.  I learned how to properly pronounce Oregon in a TSA line for a flight to Portland, OR from an Oregon native.  Slightly embarrassed, but fully educated.  Do your research for in, around and about where you are headed!

The thrill

No high like the high I get from wandering around somewhere I’ve never been.  Aimlessly, I am out there.  I will wander my way through New York at 2 AM just to have all the lights reflect off of my eyes.  I will skip over the hotel coffee just get lost finding one while in Germany.  I will take taxi’s and gaze out of the window as if I’m in a movie.  I try to locate the highest point in every place I visit just to get a whole new wow moment.  This thrill…it says I got this.  I can handle this on my own.

Appreciation

Being away from home in these different environments really puts you in an unusual place – no pun intended, kinda.  You may get homesick or you may be head-over-heels with where you are.  Either way, you’re appreciating what is going on.  It creates a whole new emotion for where you have come from or where you are going.  It’s important to really acknowledge this feeling because it actually does make or break a person and really affects the overall journey.

Being aware

It is so extremely, extremely important to know your surroundings.  It’s vital.  I pay very close attention while navigating through unknown areas to me.  I remember signs, landmarks, turns and buildings.  I particularly am more keen on this when I am overseas in foreign countries.  For as often as I walk around independently in these places I need to have an idea of where I’m going and how to get back.  It’s beneficial for your awareness strategy and important for your safety.  Another thing I picked up on was to take note.  I make a little mental reminder of taxi car numbers, license plates and things that could be useful in a sketchy situation.  A great tip to add is have contact information for your hotel, taxi, embassy and emergency officials.  It will never be a bad idea.  I thought my father was crazy for making me take small safety precautions like this, because what’s really going to happen?  But, things do happen and you need to have a little preparation to help yourself be relieved by having these outlets at hand as best you can.  Be kind, but careful on who you make friends with when traveling.  A lot of people don’t have the same intentions as you.

To live and experience

To travel is to live.  It truly is the best cure.  Don’t just exist.  The thing about the world is that beyond these people and their shitty opinions and decisions, we all stand on a beautiful place.  The hues that we are able to see in the morning and evening is breathtaking.  It’s the silver lining us humans need.  The way the sun and moon take turns shining is just marvelous, it’s a metaphor of how we should treat each other.  The way that waves of the infinite water that hold a whole new world underneath kiss the shore and make you feel like everything will be okay.  That inhale and exhale that happens when you’re at the top of a mountain.  Your reflection while peeking over a bridge into the little river beneath.  The sound of the cars that have steering wheels on the opposite side from home.  Purchasing a key-chain you will never add to your ring, but best $2.99 ever!  Or how your usual latte somehow tastes so much better every time you order it from somewhere new.  It’s the little things that really make their mark and make you feel alive, make you want to feel, and make you want truly live it out.  I say travel the hell out of your life and be sure to do something you never thought you would.  Every day a completely different, better you will be born.  So much to see.  So much to hear.  So much to be.  So freakin’ much to fall in love with.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. I had the exact same thing with pronunciation when I visited Stavanger in Norway…even the flight stewards couldn’t pronounce it. Wasn’t until I arrived that I found out the correct way.

    1. I won’t even pretend like I know how to pronounce that!! It can become verryyyy tricky. Maybe watching videos before we visit will be more helpful for us travelers. Anyway, hope your trip was amazing and thanks for commenting!

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