At the start of 2017, I set a few goals for myself to achieve by the end of the year. One goal was to travel more than I have ever done so in the past.
At the time of writing, I’m sitting in the hotel lobby in Los Angeles waiting for my Uber driver to pick me up for this evening’s flight back to London. Right now, I’m reflecting upon the fact that I really am so blessed and grateful to be writing a blog post from LA – a place I only dreamed of visiting for a very, very long time.
This year I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to travel to 5 different countries, 8 international towns/cities and go on 13 separate flights.
After having visited France, Spain, Thailand, Ireland and the United States of America, here’s what I came away with:
“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert
The more I travelled, the more I became conscious of the incredible vastness of the world and its enormous intricacies. Of course we all understand that the world is a big place, but in our day-to-day lives we’re sucked into this consuming bubble of our own lives. We’re trapped in the rat race, running around the “life of me” and so fixated on chasing that next big thing to keep us satisfied in our own little life plot. As depressing as it may sound to some, the reality is that we’re just tiny spots in an immeasurable length of time. Every person you meet, walk past on the street, and sit next to on the train has their own life story playing out simultaneously. You and I are just props in the background.
The positive way to see this, however, is that it reminds us not to sweat the small stuff sometimes. And as well as this, it can and should drive us to work towards making even more of a positive impact. As the great Dr Eric Thomas says, “be phenomenal or be forgotten”.
“If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” – Lemony Snicket
You’ve heard it before – tomorrow is promised to no one.
Travel whilst you’re young and travel whilst you still can. You have fewer commitments fewer responsibilities and far more flexibility to utilise. When you go into full-time work you have a very limited number of holiday days (this will obviously vary depending on which career path you choose). As a student, you benefit from the luxury of longer summer holidays; please make the most of this.
“Buy the ticket. Take the ride.” – Hunter S Thompson
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to blow your money or spend all of your time on holiday. There’s a balance to strike, a balance which is subjective to you and your personal needs. Work hard, keep learning and continue to build on your future success. But don’t forget to take those well-deserved breaks and take time to explore places you’ve never visited before. For those of us who are young and inexperienced in particular, travel teaches you a whole lot of life skills and experience.
“Investment in travel is an investment in yourself.” – Matthew Karsten
Travel teaches patience. When abroad, things often go wrong, go missing or go broke. Not everything will go your way and that is absolutely fine. It teaches you to be resourceful, to think on your feet and to problem solve. All of these skills are essential not only in professional situations but also in life.
Travel teaches you to unplug from your phone. When you only have Wi-Fi access in your hotel, you’re forced to spend your day out without being able to meaninglessly scroll through your Twitter or Instagram timeline. When I’m at home, I’m always hooked to my phone and to social media. Of course, when I’m back at the hotel and I have Wi-Fi access I am catching up with the latest updates, notifications and emails. But whilst I’m out, it’s mentally refreshing to have no choice but to not even think about social media or my phone entirely.
Travel truly teaches you to live in the moment.
“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.” – Anonymous.
“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.” – George A Moore
There’s no place like home.
I always find that as much as I enjoy living away at University, staying with friends or travelling abroad, coming home to the comforts of my own bed is incomparable. Returning to my family after being away from them gives me a feeling of true gratitude. For me personally, I know that I can become irritable or stressed out when I’m home for too long (especially after having moved out for University). I start wanting my own space to relax and to focus. But sometimes a break is all that is needed; a break to remind myself of what’s important, where is important and who is important.
So to conclude, travelling has been an unimaginably rewarding experience that has not only given me a lot but it has also motivated me to push even further towards both my short and long-term ambitions. I hope that both you and I are fortunate enough to be in a position to visit new countries, learn from other cultures and be met with new experiences.
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller
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