I question, often, why it is that people travel.
Is there something to run away from? Something to run towards? What makes people want to move? Are we simply performing a social experiment by packing up and going elsewhere?
Maybe someone followed love. Or they left it. Or went looking for it. Perhaps, quite simply, a break was needed.
Whatever it may be, it's human nature to question where we are, what we're doing and where we're going (in life and, often times, in physical location).
It feels like I've been away from home forever, at this point. Of course, that isn't true. It's been just over a year, a number some might scoff at, but one to be praised and cheered at by others. Recently, in feeling a bit uncertain about my current, next and final destinations, I reached out to some friends of mine, asking for travel advice and words of wisdom. The responses I received were overwhelming, both in volume and in cognizance.
I felt as though I should share these replies. There is some true sagacity here.
I sometimes feel a little adrift without my network of friends and family from home. But I also feel that now, when we're young, is the time to experiment with new locales and lives.
It's true. Now is the time. Sure, there are a lot of travelers who are older than me…some hiked up and over the hill ages ago. I'll never be the one to say that you're too old to travel, but I will say that one's younger years is probably the best time.
Find the time in your life when you have the least number of responsibilities, or at least the fewest number of things to lose, and get on with it. Go see things, do things and meet people from other countries. Wouldn't you rather allow these experiences to shape who you'll be in the future?
Most people will never do what you have done. Don't bail now. Missing home and connections is normal but it is no reason to run home. There are only 2 reasons to leave there 1) You are unhappy. Well, that is in your control. Make yourself happy. 2) You have something back here that is better than what you have there. While this is a great country it is not going anywhere. Nobody ever lies on their deathbed and says I wish I had less adventures.
I'm the type of person who wants to be able to look back on my days and, to any given situation think, “yeah, I did that.” It's important to embrace where we are and what we're able to do while we're there. Sometimes we don't even do the things we could do anywhere until we're somewhere else.
Make the most of your location, your life and your circumstance. Nobody wants to live with regrets and, as long as we live our days like this, nobody ever will.
If you are wondering whether you should stay or go, then it's time to pack your bags and move on to the next thing. If the pull is on coming back to the US, then do so. If not, go somewhere else. As a side note, don't forget that North America contains the second and third largest countries in the world. Sheer size and diversity make it worth exploring.
People, as a general rule, never see enough of their own country. I can understand that some place far away and “exotic” might be more appealing, but it's important to remember that every country has places that are far away and, if not exotic, they are definitely different.
And hey, if you didn't love that one place, there's always another. And another. And then another. And there's always that other place that you already know you love. There is always some place to travel to.
Leading a life of uncertainty is never easy. Yet, it's these challenges we overcome (times like this, where you're unsure of what you want, missing the norms of home, the close mates, etc) that ultimately make us stronger, more rounded people.
The compelling bit about this is that, while true, it's difficult to discern. It can be challenging to realize the value in an experience or the potential in an opportunity until after the fact. Even if one is able to recognize the worth in a moment, it's likely the worth of that moment won't come to fruition for some time.
Step back, take a look at where you are in life, appreciate its role in the grand scheme of things, and embrace the uncertainty of the future.
Don't get too hung up about it. You have so much living to do.
No matter what you decide, you're doing an amazing and wonderful thing right now. I so admire the courage it took to leave home on your own and see the world. Good things will come to you no matter where you are.
It's absolutely vital to remember that good things are where you find them.
Open your mind, lose the dogmatism, and be available to any and all people, experiences, energy and creation. If you're looking, you'll find it. Whatever your reason for traveling, and no matter what you find in the process, it will be good.