I just remembered when I thought I could not go to South Korea, a destination that had long attracted me, and I was so sad… What would have happened if I had been persuaded by my excuses caused by various fears (and still I’m called «brave» when stumbled upon at an airport and asked if I’m travelling alone); what would have happened if in the end I got tired (I’ve never had a lot of energy and I need a lot of sleep), or if I allowed myself to be defeated by full flights and I hadn’t looked for other options to travel (desperate, enquiring whoever crossed my path, asking for advice, searching on the Internet, and finally running from my house to the farthest airport and then to the other, which was closer) and if I had stayed at home …
I could not have made so many friends, I could not have shared meals or discovered celebrations, I could not have confirmed once again that the good news is not news, that we should also take care of ourselves in «safe» places, that kindness also abounds, that in every part of the world people have desires that they want to pursue (sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t) and that behind every skin color, every «rare» custom, every religion and belief, there is a human being like me – and like you.
Luckily I decided to put aside the excuses and I was more willing than fearful. I do not know if I’m brave (I’m very insecure in a thousand things): I’m just a person who wants to be happy travelling, facing the fears that all human beings have, and connecting places and people.
In my travel diary I’ve found this:
Travelling is learning, inspiring, doing magic, and «moving things.» We flow with the unexpected, we go through plan changes and we do our best to see the positive side of everything, since we want to have a good time: during these adventures we can deal with cancellations, modifications to our itinerary, unforeseen situations that are outside our control. That helps us to be more spontaneous, less structured and even improvised and creative, and we face what comes up.
Never be afraid to travel. Go alone, accompanied, with a friend, your couple, a lover, with your dog or with your grandma. But travel. It does not have to be far: it can be to the park round the corner, explored with genuinely curious eyes. Problems will arise even if you stay at home.
There are a thousand ways to travel and pay for it (by offering work in exchange for accommodation and food, cultural exchanges, volunteering experiences…). Where there’s a will there’s a way and you can always find one if you research. I grew up with the idea that a lot of money was needed to travel, but then I discovered that it is not necessarily so, that my mind was programmed in a very rigid way, and that there are other possibilities and not just one. If we feel that travelling is our right, and we conceive it as a human right to explore the world in which we were born and to get to know other humans, we will do our best to exercise it, no longer as a dream or a wish, but as our mission and something that is fair and belongs to us.
By travelling we can discover things that we did not know we ignored. This learning experience is so enriching that it not only benefits those who learn but also those around them. It makes a happier world of people who get to know themselves better… because every journey is, in the end, an excuse to get back to ourselves…
Leave aside the excuses: remember that when you die, you will not take with you more than what you have experienced in life, so you should experience what you would like to take from it. Keeping in mind, sometimes, that life will end at some point, and that we do not know when, makes us remember what is important to us. And what can be more important than growing and learning? One way to achieve this in an intensive and condensed way in a single experience is to travel.
I am convinced that if we could all travel, wars and prejudices that generate fights and hatred would not exist. Travelling is the answer.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
[Samuel Clemens] Humorist, Essayist, Novelist
* If you wish to read a «travel novel», with a mixture of real facts and fiction, I invite you to read a chapter per week of the one I am writing (in Spanish, for the time being) on my blog, called «I Think, Therefore I Travel. I Travel, Therefore I Am«: http://aluratravels.com/pienso-luego-viajo-viajo-luego-existo/
I hope you like it!