I’ve spent much of the past 6 years traveling, with the longest “home” ground lasting all of 9 months at any one time. While a life of transit can be unsettling; it also throws down some amazing opportunities to learn, grow and become all the more stronger.
Here’s what I’ve learned and how I relate it back to a more socially conditioned life:
Accept, Adjust, Accommodate
TRAVEL: Plan as much as you like, but you can never be prepared for what you don’t know is going to happen. Don’t worry, don’t stress, just take a deep breath and apply those three little words to whatever misfortune might happen
LIFE: With the same notion, you can’t prepare for the unforseen; but you can control your reaction to it. These three little words are mighty powerful where ever life might lead you.
Learn the Language
TRAVEL: Even if it’s just the basics, locals appreciate that you are trying to learn more about how they live and will welcome you more openly knowing that you are there to learn and discover. It might even lead to an intimate local-life experience that will give you a greater dimension to your travel than night time TV in a 5-star ever can.
LIFE: When your starting ato a new gym, social group or job, mirror the behavior or your colleagues (perhaps even the boss if you eventually want his position!) to become accepted quicker. If they see your eagerness to learn and fit in- you’ll get further FASTER
TRAVEL: Have your wits about you, listen to your intuition, don’t overdo the mind altering substances and ALWAYS know what is going on around you. When you’re not engaged; you’re not aware of the pickpockets, scammers or midnight rapists that might be lurking around the next corner. Be present. Always.
LIFE: Don’t allow yourself to get so comfortable with life and routine that you miss the magic unfolding right in front of you. A sunrise, an invitation to do something new or perhaps even the love of your life. Get out of your head, off of your phone, up from your couch and ditch the count down clock to your next life altering event – you might just miss out on the magic unfolding right in front of you If you’re not mindful enough to catch it.
Let Go of the Judgmental Mind
TRAVEL: Before you see colour, age, race or religion, see first the human standing in front of you and give them a chance to show you who they are from the inside out.
LIFE: Whether it’s your boss or your cleaner, a blind date or your next employee: don’t judge on first sight. You don’t want to miss the depth of character that unfolds and the adventure you COULD share.
Eat the Damn Food
TRAVEL: Get yourself clued up and ask for the local delicacy. Research the etiquette. And perhaps bring along some water purification tablets just in case. You may get sick, but when you get through it, you will probably have a great story – just remember to get checked by a doctor when you arrive back home.
LIFE: Don’t be so rigid with your diet and routine that you miss out on some extraordinary delights! Not just from your plate, but the night that might unfold when you say YES to that date with the hot guy from the gym at the seafood buffet. One treat here and there won’t ruin your diet, so just enjoy the moment knowing that you can always head back to the salad bar tomorrow .
TRAVEL: Pack the absolute necessities and know that wherever you are traveling to, they will have anything vital you may forget. You might not be as comfortable as in your daily life, but your pack will be lighter and you will 100% survive through creative improvisation.
LIFE: Handbags and Briefcases – You’re up!! So you’ve got a pair of fresh knickers in case you get hit by a bus, protein powder, mints, toothbrush, Quest bars, deodorant, perfume, hair ties, make up, mirror, brush, charger, back up phone, hand sanitiser, make-up remover, snacks… it’s just ONE day. You’ll survive with phone + keys + wallet. Trust me.
Ditch the Technology
TRAVEL: I sit here writing this in Bali, having forgone my phone and smart watch (I know) for the better half of the week, and guess what? The world didn’t end and I feel SUPER relaxed.
LIFE: have a tech-detox on a Sunday and ditch your responsibilities for at least half a day to people, your inbox, Facebook, training hard, dieting and just LISTEN to your body speak. Funnily enough it will actually tell you what you want to eat, when you need to exercise, where you want to be, when to relax and whatever else is needed. Your connected more to yourself than your phone – or at least, you should be.
TRAVEL: Take a business card from where you are staying and walk/ride/run until your hearts content. You don’t need GPS where you are going, and with help of the locals; you’ll enjoy the whirlwind journey of finding your way back home again.
LIFE: Forget who you are now and think about who you could be. If your job doesn’t make you happy – leave it. If your reltationship is falling apart – lose it. Friends that don’t understand you anymore – let go. Ditch the negative Nellie’s that keep you in your square boxed life, and seek something more, something greater and more purposeful. Lose the things you don’t like about yourself, and go on an internal journey to find the things you do.
Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable
TRAVEL: Economy class red-eye’s, tuk-tuk’s and over-packed over-night trains, nude massages, “vomitron” worthy tucker, and a side of language and leering that leave you feeling awkward as a turtle in Antarctica. Yep, travel isn’t always a comfortable experience but it gets you from A to B regardless of the journey you took to arrive at your destination.
LIFE: Sometimes the best experiences are when you throw off the bowlines, sail out of safe harbour and dive in head first to a world you don’t understand. It can open your eyes, and lead you to LOVE new and exciting experiences. We all had to try something for the first time once, but when was the last time you really pushed out of your comfort zone?
Appreciate the Sound of Your Own Silence
TRAVEL: Solo travel is scary, exciting, adventurous and daring. It’s brave, it’s bold and it’s the fastest way to discover who you really are, what you want out of life, where you want to go and how you’ll get there. You only have your self to rely on when you travel as a single; so be prepared to get REALLY good at listening to your inner voice.
LIFE: When you return from life abroad; don’t lose the lessons you learnt afar. Remember that YOU still know your self better than anyone. Rembember YOU still know what you like to eat or listen to; how you like to work, play, laugh, love, workout and most of all – LIVE.
“Travel is the only thing you buy, that makes you Richer”
Love & Light,
Monique Elouise xx