I am back to writing…after a long hiatus. I don’t even know why I stopped in between…life happened I guess!!! Though that is no excuse for anything 🙂
What inspired me to get back was a series of articles I read off late about travelling and my own travels to different cities the last couple of months.
As a teenager, I was always fascinated by young people from different countries who would travel without parents for months together. I always wondered how is it that they could just leave everything they were doing and travel…there was also an element of envy, that, initially I did not travel that way! Yes you guessed right…I love to travel!
Eventually I understood that while my structured education process (read school and college) gave me a lot of information and therefore knowledge, travelling just widened my horizon and my understanding of a lot of things 🙂 :). Travel just became an educational process by itself.
I have had people who ask me…why do you travel so much? What gives me the “kick”? It got me thinking about why I love travel so much…I was at Abu Dhabi airport waiting for my flight to be announced and this young lady sitting next to me started a conversation. She asked, in due course, “Do you think I should go to graduate school or move to Vietnam?”
I told her “Vietnam”…not that she was really asking me…if you know what I mean. She was thinking out loud. Her response was, “Yeah…but…”. Three alphabets that can kill everything in life…BUT.
BUT is lethal. It makes it sound like we have the best of intentions, when really we are just too scared to do what we should. Most people I know who waited to travel the world never did it. Conversely, plenty of people who waited for grad school or a steady job still did those things after they traveled.
I am thankful that I got opportunities to travel widely in my teenage years…some opportunities I created for myself. Very often I heard some grown up say to me, “It’s great that you’re doing this … while you’re still young.” To me it sounded like vicarious longing and mid-life regret. Often I have responded saying, “It’s not about this being great while I’m still young! It’s great for the rest of my life!” And it’s true – what I learnt or still learn during my travel is something that has stayed with me…it is an intrinsic part of my life, of who I am.
I realized as we get older, life can just sort of happen to us. Whatever we end up doing, we often end up with more responsibilities, more burdens, more obligations. This is not always bad. However it also takes away from some of our dreams, experiences that could have shaped who we become.
Youth is a time of total empowerment. You get to do what you want. As you mature and gain new responsibilities, you have to be very intentional about making sure you don’t lose sight of what’s important. The best way to do that is to make investments in your life so that you can have an effect on who you are in your later years.
Travel allowed me this luxury…the luxury of learning, experiencing and of discovering the beauty of life — to remember that I am not complete.
How can I put in words what it means to walk the streets of old Delhi on a cold December morning smelling some great Indian food, cycling on narrow country roads of Southern France and soaking in the beauty of the mellow countryside, walking across the moors in Scotland smelling the earth, the majestic beauty of the Himalayan range as seen from Nepal…words cannot describe these experiences. The only way you will relate to them is by experiencing them yourself.
While you’re young, you should travel. You should take the time to see the world and taste the fullness of life. Spend an afternoon sitting in front of the Michelangelo. Walk the streets of Paris. Climb Kilimanjaro. Hike the Valley of Flowers. See the Great Wall of China. Get your heart broken by the “killing fields” of Cambodia. Swim through the Great Barrier Reef. These are the moments that define the rest of your life; they’re the experiences that stick with you forever.
Traveling will change you like little else does. It forces you to think about issues that are bigger than you…I realized that the world is both, very large and very small!!! I have a new found respect for pain and suffering, having seen that two-thirds of humanity struggle to simply get a meal each day.
Its an amazing way to learn about the world as a magnificent place of art. The people that fill this world contribute so much to it…shaping it…building a kaleidoscopic culture. Soak that culture while you are still young. It can change your life forever. It did mine!
Invest your time wisely…for your future depends on where and what you invest your time in. A lesson that comes back to me repeatedly… life is a result of intentional habits. Whatever you sow, you will eventually reap. The habits you form in this season will stick with you for the rest of your life. So choose those habits wisely :):)
And for those who feel youth has gone by…fret not. You can still travel…I know a lot of senior people who still enjoy their travails and do not hesitate to live life kingsize. I am learning from them also…so go out there and explore the world with all it’s infinite opportunities!!!