Blogging is a lot like going to gym (something I took up in January for the first time).
It’s really fun and quite an adventure at first… and then life gets in the way.
So, I’m that person today who finally makes their return to the treadmill after they’ve spent most of April and May doing the “life” equivalent of pigging out on the couch!
And I even did a bit of work while traveling, as well.
But as much as I love learning about other places and cultures, the most valuable lessons I’ve learnt from traveling has always been about myself. I recommend you leave your home as soon as possible, even if only for a night and even if you simply go to the closest place to where you stay! Because half the satisfaction I get from traveling, lies in what I realise about myself when I return home.
Traveling really isn’t about where you go,
or how long you stay there.
Traveling is about perspective.
Whether your destination is Bloemfontein or Barcelona, Durban or Dubai, you’re guaranteed to return home with a few new things from every trip . Trust me, I’ve been to all of these in the past year and my bags came back much heavier!
But the most valuable things you get to take home with you, won’t cost a cent:
- A fresh new take on where you’re from – comparatively speaking, distance wise and the perspective people at your destination hold of your point of origin. These are invaluable because you figure out just how much your heritage matters, not because it affords you anything – perhaps it affords you nothing at all (as is the case with the Rand exchange rate!). It’s significant simply because you realize that you belong. You came from somewhere. It’s not a disadvantage nor is it an advantage, unless you decide to label it one way or the other. It is, quite simply, context.
- Where you fit in – there’s always someone better and worse off than you, no matter where you go on earth. The scope of that simple truth has never ceased to astound me. It’s the outlines of your existence.How you colour the picture in, whether you even stay within the lines or go outside them – all of that is within your power. Wether being better or worse off than someone depends on a bank balance, your number of twitter followers or how many hours you have to spend on the beach – it’s all relative. How you see this depends as much on where you’re from (what you’re used to, if you may) as it depends on your perspective. It’s quite a relief to remove yourself from your self-imposed standards, your context and your outlines. The anonymity travel affords you creates a kind of vacuum, within which you can float freely, observing, enjoying and learning.
- Where you’re going – your dreams, goals, priorities and plans nearly always end up shifting, changing, evolving and growing in their scope. It’s about fueling your imagination, feeding your flights of fancy and entertaining a greater variety of variables in your own calculation of what you’re capable of.
I love what I get to do for a living. I’m incredibly grateful, but it’s as a direct result of my recent travels that I’ve realised how big my comfort zone has become. I don’t think I’m alone in my experience of this as a kind of “quarter life crisis”. I think you reach a point when you start looking at your goals of a few years ago and you come to the shocking realization that you’ll have to start adding to the list.
Nothing you really want will happen unless you make it happen. You’ll only ever get what you’re willing to settle for.
It doesn’t matter how many times the world slams a door in your face,
how many times your extra effort has gone unappreciated,
how many extra miles you’ve gone to achieve your goals – even if it was to no avail.
What matters is that you set goals that utilizes where you’re from, that puts to good use the insight you have gained into who you are and where you fit in and most importantly: set goals that make the process of getting there worth your while.
Because even if you spend the next …forever getting there, once you start doing things for yourself, doing what you really want to do simply because you enjoy doing it, you free yourself up from dreading the journey, you stop living for the destination.
You learn that thanks to those ever-shifting goalposts, the endless list of destinations on our to-do lists, you might as well find the value in coming home from every adventure a little wiser, a little more aware of where you’re from and a little more enlightened about where you want to go.
But mostly, you learn that the real reward lies in gaining value from the process of getting there.