Growing up, most adults will tell you how you need to experience the world while you’re young and that now is the time to travel the world. I’ve always wondered: what’s the rush? Is it really that bad to travel once you’ve settled down? Why would you only want to experience the world while you’re young? And I think I’ve finally figured it out.
We live in a generation where we millennials seem to have it easy. We get the chance to experience life; go to college; fall in love a million times. It’s actually quite ridiculous the freedom we get for so long, but the truth is there is a rush. Being in my twenties, I am able to say I’ve seen and experienced quite a bit of the world and learned great lessons from doing so. Five lessons in particular stuck with me from going abroad…
Trust me, there’s nowhere better than where you live. Whether it’s a small town in the middle of North Dakota or Los Angeles, you will never find somewhere the same. Different isn’t bad, but different teaches you to appreciate what you currently have. We spend so much time worrying about the future and how to get what you don’t have rather than appreciating what we have in front of us. For example, during my travels to China I learned to appreciate toilets. Yes those porcelain things in your bathroom are scarce on that side of the world. When you realize that suddenly you need to use you leg muscles to properly use the restroom while in China, you certainly start to thank the man that invited the toilet.
I’ll admit it, I fell asleep in history class a lot, which isn’t something I’m proud of. As you get older you learn a sense of pride in knowing your history and the history of the places you’ve been. I can remember walking the streets of Rome in amazement of how much history and life has walked through those streets. Learning the history of the places you’ve been and will go don’t just bring pride, but they bring you culture. It’s a sense of meaning and purpose. Knowing the history gives you knowledge and gratitude. The saying goes, “History repeats itself.” So why not be prepared?
Sounds simple but it’s probably the most complicated of them all. Love for those in your life, love for the culture, love for the people, love for the food. Traveling gives you a sense of love, no matter in which direction it goes. You learn to love those you left behind more and you learn to love those around you while you’re experiencing new adventures. You find yourself falling in love with the passion of the Italians or the sense of romance of the French. There’s love all around while traveling, but most importantly, you learn to love yourself. In that moment and in that place. It’s the sense of presence that brings you the love.
Though these may seem obvious lessons, it’s usually the simplest to learn. Travel now. Do it will you have the ability and freedom to roam. Travel with loved ones or by yourself. You’ll not only find yourself, but find new people to add to your life. People are not lying when they say the world is big and full of life just waiting to be lived. In the end, the sum of your life will be your experiences – so make them worthwhile.