With Travel, Your Mindset Matters
Travel has the ability to change your life. Growing up I can remember going to school with people whose parents were from all over the world, but never fully understanding what that meant because in my eyes, we were all the same.
All Americans, all caring about similar things, doing the same things and typically thinking the same way. My peers did different things in their household, but I didn’t and couldn’t realize or understand the meaning behind their actions due to never having the notion or curiosity to divulge deeper into our differences.
It wasn’t until college that this changed for me. Every Asian person stopped being “Chinese” and I realized how uniquely different people from around the world actually are. The continent of Asia and surrounding countries are as diverse if not more than the melting pot that is America. My curiosity didn't stop there.
Travel only expanded my knowledge of these things. The more places I went the more I learned about different cultures, people, and myself. My feelings as a child were verified. People all over the world felt more similar than different. But those differences are extraordinary and when shared and absorbed are absolutely amazing.
Travel changed my opinion of what was important to me and what I valued in life. Family first. That goes without saying, my family means everything to me. Then, MY time. Instead of spending 40 and sometimes more hours each week working quite literally for someone else’s dream, I’d rather own my time and use it learning and growing academically through travel, and spiritually through experiences to hone in and discover what my dreams are and can be.
We spend 13 mandatory years of our life in school on a schedule, and then an additional 4-8 in school getting the “training” we need to only spend the next 35 years working if we're lucky. Fitting in the time to explore, to learn, for family, and for self seems like an endless unachievable task. Weekends, I think we can all agree, aren’t long enough and are mostly used for much needed self care from a jam packed work week.
Travel taught me to appreciate my time. To constantly work toward utilizing the time I have in the most productive way possible to see and learn as much as I can. It’s easy to be lazy. To watch Netflix at home for hours on end. To be redundant and do the same thing over and over again. While those things do provide momentary satisfaction, there's something about exploration of other places, countries, and cultures, that's more alluring.
My choices. I used to feel limited in what I could and wanted to do because of the way I allowed my surroundings and society to limit how I dreamed. I didn’t have to go to grad school, work while doing it, pay off student loans, get a job, work all the damn time, get engaged, get married, have kids, work, then die in that order. While I have nothing against that route, I have choices and I discovered soon enough what was and wasn’t for me.
Detouring from that path wasn’t the end of the world. It enlightened me to the fact that I had the power to work hard enough to be able to choose where I work. I could choose where I lived. I could be patient and wait for a spouse that uplifts and drives me both mentally and physically. I could choose to explore and see the world with no regret because my life is just that. My life. I get to choose how it’s lived, and as long as I’m happy, healthy, and motivated, it’s ok. It’s ok to be different. The choice is mine.
Can travel be affordable? Absolutely. The same way we use coupons, go to multiple stores to shop around to figure out a way to get the name brand something, or hit the plug up for something we need, these same methods can be used for travel.
Travel doesn’t have to be about the beach ALL the time. Or about staying in a resort ALL the time. Being different is ok. It’s what we all fight so hard to be anyways. Go try a homestay in another country and live with a family for a week to really immerse yourself in another culture. Go stay in a hostel, meet new people, eat weird food, and just walk around until you find something to do. Turn your damn phone off and talk to people.
Go visit that friend that’s always inviting you to visit that you put off because she/he “lives too far”. That housing is free, the food may be too, but more importantly you put yourself and your needs first, and not Game of Thrones, or Insecure.
Dare to be different and travel alone. Leave that “damn I used up all my time off” friend behind and go on an adventure alone. You’d be surprised how many solo travelers there are out in the world. Your mindset matters when it comes to pretty much everything. A positive, proactive mindset will take you further than allowing negativity and doubt to halt your progress. When it comes to travel of any kind, approach it as a mission to make it as feasible and realistic as possible. Make it a priority. Use your time wisely. Realize you have choices. Get good agents. And live adventurously.