And just like that, I am no longer a stranger in my own heart..
About two years ago, I wrote a blog about the being lost at 23. I just turned 25 and I just don’t feel this lost anymore.
Let me clarify.
I just got back from Europe, and I have all the symptoms of the travel bug. I want to stargaze from a random balcony in the middle of Rome again. I want to take the wrong bus to a beautiful place I had no idea existed again. I want to ride that ATV in Greece and run out of gas and be stranded on the road for 2 hours with no one to help again (but don’t worry I got a pretty nice tan). I want to jump off a boat into the Aegean sea and be terrified out of my mind again. I want €2.50 heavenly gyros from that hole in the wall place in Santorini again, and the €3.00 tapas with someone singing to me in Barcelona again. I want that shot of espresso heaven from Venice again or that gelato I couldn’t stop eating in Rome. I want to go out at midnight in the rain and drink a bottle of heavenly Chianti with some good prosciutto in an open restaurant that I just stumbled upon and not know how to get back to my place again. I want to speak to people with foreign tongues, but with hearts that connect like we speak the same language, again. I want to hear about what interesting things people are up to, and why they’re in the same place at the same time as I am. I want more random, but not so random Instagram followers and Facebook friends from all over the globe because we met abroad.
Alright, let’s take a step back. I am not a traveler. Although, it’s been on my mind for a while. And as you know, once you start traveling, you don’t stop; life just begins. Life just began for me. Last month, I have visited four different countries, and 12 cities, and all I want to do is get back on the road and explore new places, new brains, new hikes, new beaches, new coffee shops and new foods. Oh, how I would love me a glass of Spritz right now, mmmm.
People travel for all sort of reasons –to have fun, to learn, to escape pain, and to find themselves– I traveled for all the same reasons. But I got much more in return. I began to find happiness in between the pages of my passport, in airports like they’re a modern gate to adventure, on trains, on airplanes and of course on random streets in foreign places. And I am talking, really happy, like hella dopamine, endorphins, serotonin and oxytocin filling all your vesicles, kind of happy. I found time to think clearly, observe, and hear new tongues and new ideas. It gave me time to absorb, reflect and understand how certain things are done around the world. I sort of get a criterion on life.
Let me explain.
A lot of us read books, learn history in school or self-educate on what is going in this world we live in; I traveled. I went to places I have been curious to see, heard so much about, or never heard of at all and just wanted to explore, like Croatia. I explored Roman history, I learned about the Spartans and the Spaniards. Of all the books written in the world, I quickly realized travel is the best education. But travel isn’t only educational, it’s also a chance for us to take a step back and put life in perspective, a chance to step out of our comfort zone, to make new friends, and to find ourselves.
Here are a few things I learned from my recent trip (I’ll keep you posted once I am back from my second trip):
- Experience, culture and adventure: Creating memories makes you a much more beautiful and well-rounded person than your gucci flipflops. There is something much more special about walking on the concrete of the Flavian Amphitheatre (aka coliseum) than reading about it. There is something special about talking to strangers abroad then to a stranger at your local Whole Foods, there is something special about dragging bags through train stations and airports! I quickly learned the value of Collecting moments, not things. So pack your clothes and go! Go on an adventure and experience new cultures.
- Self-investment, It’s ok to do what you love: We live in an admirable world, we’re born to be good citizens. I mean, I don’t know why I went to college, why I applied for jobs after college, why I work a 9-5, but I did it because I thought I had to. Then, you travel. And you do the things you love, the things that scare you, like jumping off a cliff into the mediterranean. And you find new things to love. And you decide you don’t want to be a banker or designer or a developer anymore – you want to surf, do yoga, play the guitar, research brains And more importantly, you actually meet people who are spending their lives surfing, and teaching yoga, and playing the guitar and researching brains.Then you’re like ‘hell! Look at all these people living that life, I hella wanna be like that’ and all the sudden, you don’t need any more inspirational quotes on Instagram or Facebook. You’ve finally realized it’s possible to spend your life just doing what you love and life is suddenly exciting again. That’s a part of finding yourself.
- Perspective: My plan was to buy a new car and phone this September. My plans have changed. I bought my next ticket to my next adventure instead. While traveling won’t solve all my problems, I got a whole different perspective after trying to fit my life essentials into a suitcase. No fancy, ankle-breaking Louboutin heels or Prada tote will fit. Once you’re abroad, you see different standards of living, you see different styles of communication, you visit exotic churches and learn from and seeing what God is doing on a greater level throughout the world. You will learn invaluable lessons, you will grow, and certainly, you will create some invaluable memories. You will be challenged to reevaluate your own values and cultural norms, I sure as hell did. And when you come back home, you’ll bring a broadened perspective of the world with you. I met Anna on the road last month, she is so much of a jokester as I am, we discussed travel and how she’s been to 107 countries so far. She asked me my name, I said ‘Revan’. She said “Listen Van, There are 7 billion people on this planet. If you disappeared right now, how many people do you think would actually care?” I said not sure. She said: “maybe 500? that’s if you’re really cool like me”, I laughed, then she added “you realize that’s not even 1% of 1% of 1% of 7 billion, right?” PERSPECTIVE! You’re nothing more than a grain of sand on an endless beach. And it’s liberating to know that. Again, PERSPECTIVE! One thing that’s very apparent among well-travelled people is how laid back they are. They don’t get hung up on stupid things. Why? Because the road humbles you! You learn how insignificant you are in comparison to the world. PERSPECTIVE. When we stop caring about dumb things, we allow ourselves to care about the things that do matter, like friends, family, our loves and our passions. We learn how to choose our battles and focus on what matters. We rediscover what is really important to us, and that IS a part of finding ourselves.
- Life is beautiful: Life is a wonderful gift. It really is, and as we travel and experience more of the world, we become overwhelmed with gratitude and appreciation for all the beautiful things we see and the moments we enjoyed and the people we’ve shared them with. So go out and create things worth remembering. Write your own book in the pages between your passport. Wander. Explore. Follow wherever your heart takes you.
I met myself on the road last month. Exploring brought back love and power into my life. Realizing how small I am helped me feel strong enough to push the world off its axis. Do you need to travel to find yourself? No, probably not! But amidst all the noise of your life, it is hard to really give yourself the space to do so. When we travel, we give ourselves time away from that noise. We see all the different flavors of the world, absorb it all, and decide what we like. You are not lost, you are being found. Whatever the hell that means.
PS. If you bought some Ethereum a month or two ago, congratulations!
Now, go out. Get lost. Life is beautiful.
#blogging #travel #TravelBlogging #Wanderlust