There are three things you should do to be a better version of yourself- live, love, and travel.
1. To travel is to live your story
To become a central character in the adventures that you once only read about in books. Today you dive into an emerald waterfall, tomorrow you will meet a stranger whose words will change your life and the day after you won’t be the same person who took the first step into this journey, with love and fear mingled, wondering how the world out there is going to greet you, unprepared for its unrestrained embrace. To travel is to tell your story, the one you hear more clearly now, the person you are, without everything you have always been told to be. You aren’t at the same place anymore and you can’t hear the same voices. The one that you do hear is your own.
2. To travel is to change the world
When you travel, you realize that reality is subjective. All the ideas you thought as the concrete unchangeable reality at home, change so easily at the next border. It forces you to choose from every culture the missing pieces of your own soul. From one land to another, one country to the next, ideas bend backwards and forwards. The absolute norm for the people of your land is strange to them and vice versa. You can’t help but ask then, what is really important? When you move across a land, you carry thoughts and ideas of other civilizations and times, of people whose perspective is vastly different from yours. You become a carrier, not of things or goods for exchange, but of new thoughts.
3. To travel is to be familiar with the scent of life
It’s the fragrance of sunlight as it plays with the earth in the dawn air at the place you just arrived. It’s in the smell of a steaming cup of tea in a little shop in the mountains. It’s the scent of a village when smoke rises from the wood. It’s the forest at dusk and in the rush of the rivers. When the stars awaken at night, you can smell the dark perfumed sky. Every place has its own characteristic fragrance like no other. A fragrance that can’t be captured in a bottle, nor replicated, but one that drifts in memory. One you won’t find on crowded roads with crowded thoughts, full of people rushing ceaselessly, where no one stops for life, unfurling its curious wings. When you travel, the scent of life, rushes to meet you.
4. To travel is to become a part of history
Far too many great souls that existed were travelers: Prophets, kings, wise men, poets, explorers, scholars and sages alike, they knew that in a journey lies transformation. Wherever they went, they left a trace of who they were. When we travel, we merge our own trace with the eternal trace of mankind and his ceaseless journeying through earth.
5. Travel is love in movement
Once you know that there is more to the world than you previously imagined, you just cannot go back. You ask yourself, ‘What does it really mean to be alive? What do I love?’ When you’re back to the life you once knew, you no longer wish to talk about the mundane: the weather or a new place in town. Travelling sets you free from the things you thought you couldn’t live without, having found new things that are indispensable to you: a passionate spirit with purpose. A new possibility burns within you, one that is just as limitless as the world.
6. To travel is to be naked
You may carry your clothes, but in truth you travel naked, open to surprise, wind, soil and stranger. When you travel, you are forced to leave everything familiar behind. The only thing you take with you is who you really are. Your truth is all you carry and this is what you give, to where you go. Their essence is what you take home.
7. To travel is to converse with the world
Travelers tell each other stories that they wouldn’t speak as easily otherwise, possibly because they may never meet again or because the road opens up their heart wide, enticing them to share all that’s in it. There must be magic in the dust of the road that shakes off the dust from my heart. Something makes me speak and share my deepest secret with a perfect stranger and the same thing makes them open their lips too. A traveler converses with the world because you put yourself out there where the whole world is conversing. It isn’t about what the media will tell you, you can’t live without. It’s a real conversation with real people: about someone you love and can’t imagine your life without, what makes you feel alive, hurt, loved, fearful, and passionate. About who you are beneath all the layers. A silent conversation takes place even with just a nod, an acknowledgement. Your eyes meet and suddenly you aren’t strangers anymore. You are old friends meeting once more upon distant lands.
8. To travel outside is to travel within
The things you hear on the road are not to be taken lightly. They are powerful. In fact, you find new words pouring out of your own lips too. Definite shapes and forms fall apart like a child’s sand castle and take new dimensions. You come to know yourself in the voices of other travelers.
9. To travel is to move your mind by a million dimensions
In a journey you confront something that has never before been a part of your existence: faces you’ve never previously envisioned, the textures of a land, a new way of living life, even the way in which you show your affection. Travel is not just about moving your body from one place to another, from one picture frame in front of the Eiffel tower to the next in front of the Statue of Liberty. Travelling moves your mind, irreversibly alters your heart and merges you as one unstoppable human race.
10. To travel is to confront the truth
Everything comes right in front of you. The great beauty and the ugliness, the way the world smiles with its unseen lips and cries with its unseen eyes, its unbounded happiness, its utter despair, its way of hoping and dreaming. No message is filtered and delivered to you by someone, who wishes to impress their thoughts upon yours. You confront the truth yourself. It is to become aware of your own spirit. To know that, though we may seem far apart by kilometers, miles and boundaries, we are indeed one humanity connected by an invisible and delicate yet powerful thread. Everything that affects the other, affects us. I see you and you see me and there’s no way for us to pretend that we do not see each other. You see me, a physical person, but you also see my feelings, feelings remarkably similar to yours: the need to love, to live dreams and go beyond the limiting ways in which we are told to live our life. To travel is to know what it means to be human.
11. Travel is alchemy
In that moment where two completely different worlds collide, alchemy takes place. Ideas of life which were utterly unfamiliar and foreign are discussed over wine, coffee or a beer and then those thoughts don’t die or remain there. They travel onward with them, scattering to different parts of the world. When you travel, you even surprise yourself. You dance on the streets, climb mountains and swim in glacial river streams, when you didn’t even know you had the strength to climb mountains nor the spark of madness required to dance on the streets. You follow your gut and the things you do and see, change the world irrevocably forever because it changes you irrevocably, forever. Yes you will have to eventually go back to your ‘real life’ and the real world, but you won’t ever be the same person going back home anymore.
Because travel transforms you.