Saturday, February 28, 2015
It’s an itch and a thirst, a terminal infection. It’s travel.
Recently, I've come into a mild travel-kick. Beginning last spring, when I took a trip to the UK with my rugby team, I became enchanted with the freedoms of international exploration. Always being an avid backpacker and fisherman, I took every available moment during the next summer to explore a new corner of the state which I call home. This winter was highlighted by a trip to Ecuador to tune-up my Spanish abilities and tour the South American paradise. When every day for 2 weeks was characterized by new people, a new environment, new foods, and new culture I didn't want the excitement to stop.
It’s an addiction.
So now, sitting on a chair at my desk, I am left to dream of future travel and postulate why it’s such an important activity in which to engage. First, it is an opportunity to define ‘you’. Travel offers a blank slate. No one knows who you are, you are not bound by any agenda, and your limits are those which you set for yourself. How you handle yourself with such autonomy will define your character: how do you use your time? Will you step outside of your own comfort zone? Will you make the effort to meet new people? How do you decide with whom you share your experiences? How will you decide which experiences to have? Along with dozens of other questions, only you have the ability to provide an answer through your actions on the trip. Second, travel will widen your perspective on everything. What matters to you, needs vs. wants, and daily routines all have the potential to be challenged by any one of the experiences you will have while abroad. Hopefully you will uncover some of the trivial problems in your life which may be done away through minimization. Furthermore, it is easy to come to grateful conclusions about the place you call home. The value of the “little things” will probably increase after the trip. Lastly, I cannot omit the rejuvenating properties of travel. We have all heard of the importance of rewarding yourself for hard work, meeting goals etc., and travel is (potentially arguable) THE best reward for such behavior. Mind at ease, any length of travel provides both a physical and mental separation between you and the problems of reality. Placing yourself in such pleasant situations has to be beneficial (I mean, mental health days are a thing, right?)and when I’m a doctor I’ll be sure to do the research that would allow me to prescribe patient with “x Mandatory days of travel” as a legitimate treatment.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe all it will take is your first trip abroad. Either way, I know that I cannot get enough of the adventure entailed in travelling. The sites, the people, the cuisine, all of it cumulates in an experience that is as much about the journey as it is the destination. We cannot afford to maintain such a narrow perspective as is developed by those who never leave their home state. Not in a time of interconnectedness, of globalization, were we must subscribe to a global rather than statial way of thought. Opportunity is there: the money, the methods, and the destinations. There is no excuse to not go out and experience the world, our world. Go out and gain the perspective, BE a cosmopolitanis, a citizen of the world.