Remember Why You Travel

From time to time, no matter where you are in the world, people have the habit of getting frustrated or losing their cool. Getting over charged on a taxi fare, perhaps poor customer service, maybe it’s having your bag ripped off. Whatever the case may be, try to put it behind you and remember why you travel in the first place.

The sense of adventure has it to be at the top of the list. Moving on to a new destination for work or travel is always an emotional moment. It might be a sense of nervousness, asking yourself over and over again, ” Am I making a mistake? Am I doing the right thing?”. Or it could be a sense of exhilaration coursing through your veins knowing at the end of the long journey something new awaits you. If you are a well-seasoned traveler it could be the relief that you’re getting the change of scenery you’ve been craving for. I can recall the sense of anticipation of moving to Australia was so strong I had pick out the song I would play as the plane took off from Canada just so I could feed off the energy.

Meeting new people always stands out in my mind as a reason to hit the road. Having family and good friends back home is important in maintaining a balanced life. But thanks to apps like Skype, Viber and Wechat there is very little reason to get homesick. Your loved ones are always there at the click of a button. Staying in hostels, starting new jobs, using transportation or interacting with locals are all great ways to meet new and exciting people. I find it liberating to be on my own because it forces me out of my shell. It makes me a more sociable person. It forces me to takes risks I otherwise wouldn’t take at home. It’s this sense of adventure that has put me onto my fourth career change in twelve years. Plus it’s entertaining to hear the travel tales of others. There are always gems of knowledge that can be plucked out of the experiences of others. Thanks to a friend of mine I always travel with a role of duct tape. He told me, ‘ It fixes holes in tents, shoes and can even hold your motorbike together’.

Be willing to adapt to your new surroundings. There will always be something to whinge about because lets face it, not everything will turn out to be a positive experience. Sometimes we meet bad people, get a shitty flat or hotel, eat something that makes us sick. But never let these things prevent you from getting to know your new surroundings. This especially applies to long distance travel. Spend a week on a motorbike, twenty plus hours on a bus, or two and half/ 5 stop-over journey. Once you’ve started you can’t turn back, so turn it into a learning experience rather than a chip on your shoulder.

Most importantly, pushing personal boundaries is something everyone should try to do to make the best of the experience. It is what makes us grow as people. This doesn’t mean you have to go skydiving or bungee jumping, but try and think outside your own box. Last year I went snorkeling for the first time despite the fact I’ve never been a confident swimmer. I’m thankful I did because I saw something natural and beautiful, but I also overcame a lifelong fear. It brought an element of excitement to the trip that made it a more memorable experience.

So at the end of the day, try to put a positive spin on things. Take the good with the bad. It’s a privilege to be able to travel the world. Don’t let one bad moment in time take away from your overall impression of a city or a country. Don’t allow one moment in time ruin what could otherwise be the trip of a lifetime.

By Glen Riley

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