Why do I travel? Very simple. Everybody has a story, and I love stories. Children can be better engaged in any chore or task by making a story out of it; roleplaying a life that seems more exciting than the one you’re living. Well, why does it need to stop there? Why stop when we grow up? And why not continue to try our darn hardest to live those stories?
I was one of those little girls who wanted to live in a castle. I wanted to live in a big, medieval castle in the middle of a seaside forest and have a flying horse and a galleon ship to take me anywhere at my command. I was so intrigued by the stories that I would find wherever I just so happened to be. And you know what? Nothing has changed. Well, maybe I don’t need a castle, but I certainly still want the horse and the ship.
My search for stories (real ones this time) began with a two-month solo trip to Europe. This changed everything. Suddenly, it isn’t roleplaying anymore. Suddenly, you actually need to realistically figure out where you’re going, where to spend the night, where to find affordable food, and how to find entertainment that matches your interests. This search is the second thing that got me into traveling. Every first few days in a new city or town would become a treasure hunt, like in those pirate tales I’ve always romanticized.
I quickly realized that beyond the hunt for necessities and ways to spend my time, the real treasure is in finding new communities to, at least temporarily, be a part of. Not much to my surprise, I realized that what makes or breaks an experience are the human encounters and stories exchanged.
Which leads me to my third point. Once you put yourself out there and meet new people, what if your language knowledge doesn’t align? Going back to childhood years, do you remember when you would get a new toy, videogame, or puzzle? There is immense satisfaction once you learn how to use it, control it, or solve it, respectively. But what about the excitement of figuring it out? Learning a new language is exciting! Even if it is just basics to communicate with your daily encounters, I have found great satisfaction in studying a few words and phrases before traveling. It suddenly feels like you have started to unlock a new level of life on this planet.
Moving on to my fourth and final point, one of the most valuable reasons of why I travel is because of how the lifestyle has formed and changed me. Traveling has made me very good at improvisation. Things rarely go the way you planned them. Remember those stories we were talking about? The best ones tend to be the most unexpected. Travel has taught me that any place can feel like home if you want it to be. And if you don’t, moving is just as exciting as getting to know a city better. Above all, travel has taught me that the one leading force that will never allow your mind to settle in comfort is change. Traveling has made me a person who always wants more of life, more connections, and more valuable lessons. I never want to stop learning. I never want to stop challenging myself. And I certainly never want to grow out of my dream galleon ship that navigates me towards new chapters in my story.
Feature image: aingnamma – Pixabay