Saturday, 16 July 2016

"Dear Travel: You've Made me a Better Person"

There's no doubt most of us dream of traveling, being free and going on adventures. When we make these dreams happen, it is one of the most exhilarating feelings. I am still processing the two months I spent in Southeast Asia this past Spring. They changed my life. Not because they were easy or comfortable or glamorous, but because they showed me things about myself that I would only learn through being uncomfortable, in a different environment (often getting lost!) and being exposed to the unknown.

For those of you who who want to make travel happen, or heck, make more of it happen, I hope this article will provide just a little bit more perspective into what this is all about.

I remember being in Pai, North Thailand, about two weeks into my trip. I got sick and had to take a few extra days to rest and recover. I was very weak and my body was also adjusting to the new climate, time zone, language, food and culture. Until then, I was used to a more secure and comfortable environment when traveling, where medical care and support are always readily available.

This was new. And I actually seriously considered going back home.
"Maybe I can't do this. Maybe I'm not built for this. I thought this was supposed to be fun and empowering",  I thought to myself.

During this time, I also met a soul sister, someone who I connected with immediately, where the conversation just resonated. I explained my situation and her reply was full of faith and confidence, exactly what I needed. (This happens a lot when traveling- meeting the right people at the right time)
The message I got was clear, "Don't give up. Trust the process. This is exactly where you're meant to be."

These were big lessons.
So instead of wanting to be somewhere else, I embraced the moment I was in. 

And because of that, I got better and continued traveling with a more open mind and less expectation. My plans changed because I found more joy in not knowing and just being in the moment. I was able to let go of the need to control every outcome and enjoy the experience and growth in the process.

Trust in ourselves and in the process is built through letting go. We don't find it in certainty or routine, we find it in the unknown. And boy, I can't tell you what is more scary and vulnerable than that.

This is why traveling has been such a wonderful teacher to me in this. It's given me the opportunity to face the unknown and practice courage. There is no price to the experiences that make us who we are, they are beyond the cost of a plane ticket or buying the stuff we need for our next trip. There is no doubt that growth can happen in so many different ways, but I must say that traveling is pretty high on my list.