We have all heard the phrase — travelling to find myself — at some point in our lives. From drama-filled show and movies to friends who experienced painful break-ups to your average everyday person just having a hard time in life and in search for meaning and answers.
This phrase has become so cliched that is has lost some of its meaning throughout the decades. Honestly though, travelling is just one of those things you have to experience in order to understand the effect it has.
I am not some travel expert who has been all over the world and gained countless experiences but I have visited a few places in my relatively short time on planet earth and I hope to go on more trips in the near future.
If you’re of a similar mindset then allow me to share a couple of things I have observed in my “travels”
Throw All Those Expectations To The Bin… Where They Belong
Stop reading all those travel blogs and looking at those travel photos and then suddenly form some kind of expectation when you finally go to the place you want to go someday. They are nice to read and look at – sure – but they are no substitute for the real thing. Just get up and go. Leave all expectations behind and take it all in as it is — good or bad —
Gaining A New Perspective
“Life is hard.” Period. No ifs’ and buts’ about it. It is hard to stay positive in the face of so many hardships. This is from personal experience. I still find myself falling into that dark place from time to time. Traveling affords you something that staying in your personal space cannot, and that is “perspective”. You will soon realize that your world is minuscule compared to the events that has been happening everywhere.
If you think you have it hard, there is always someone less-off than you. Comparison is never a good thing and is it not meant to make you feel worse, but rather serves as a small reminder that is suppose to give you “new perspective”. We all have problems, some worse than others but they will all resolve themselves eventually and all of it will pass.
Not convinced? Then let me share with you some of the reasons why the world ain’t such a terrible place to be in. These quotes came from people who have traveled the world and experienced something so amazing or something so simple and yet so humbling that it changes what? You guessed it. Their perspective on life.
Because I trekked in the Gheralta Mountains in northern Ethiopia, and it reminded me that travel is the cure for thinking you know or have seen it all.
– Audrey Scott, BBC Travel contributor
– Dave Seminara, BBC Travel contributor
– Jimmy Cohrssen, photographer
– Jodi Ettenberg, BBC Travel contributor
Because, not long after leaving Las Vegas last summer, I got to see a Vegas-style performance done to uncanny perfection in Sin City’s curious cousin, the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
– Pico Iyer, BBC Travel contributor
Because I got another chance at exploring the raw yet irresistible nature of French Polynesia’s waters. It really is just like the postcards – no, better.
– Brooke Dombroski, photographer
Because in wild and wonderful Papua New Guinea, I took a boat to the base of an active volcano.
– Ian Neubauer, BBC Travel contributor
Because I met five snow leopards at a rehabilitation centre in Kyrgyzstan, and it reminded me how wild and beautiful the world can be.
– Stephen Lioy, BBC Travel contributor
Because I spent a twilight swimming with blind fish in a Yucatán cenote, reminding me how many hidden and mysterious places the world has to explore.
– Lindsey Galloway, BBC Travel Worldwide Weird columnist
Because I sailed aboard a small boat in Norway’s Lysefjord and realised there’s nothing grander than feeling tiny.
– Terry Ward, BBC Travel contributor
Because after eight days of strenuous hiking, I arrived at Everest Base Camp, at 5,380m, and realised that my end point was just the beginning for climbers heading up the world’s highest mountain.
– Laurel Robbins, BBC Travel Localite
Because I realised in the stark landscape of Tigrai in Ethiopia that you can step inside a church carved out of solid rock and instantly find hushed solitude.
– Finlo Nelson Rohrer, BBC News Magazine editor
Because jumping into a river with millions of bright red salmon made me happy to be alive.
– Josh Humbert, BBC Travel contributor
Because I finally travelled on the historic, 122km Bernina Express railway through the Italian and Swiss Alps. The peaceful ride evoked days of yore as we passed by 1910s craftsmen stations.
– Erica Firpo, BBC Travel Localite
Because after months of frustrating Thai language lessons over Skype, I learned how to correctly say more than ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ to a Bangkok street vendor I’ve visited regularly for years.
– Brian Spencer, BBC Travel contributor
Because of the patience, peacefulness and generosity of Hong Kong students, even after they had been tear-gassed and pepper-sprayed by the police. Determined to remain calm and focused, the students offered food and water to everyone at the protest sites and even free hugs and massages.
– Kate Whitehead, BBC Travel contributor
Because in Thailand I shared a moment with one of nature’s most majestic creatures.
– Steven Tyler, musician
Because joining a ragtag band of fellow travellers, cooks and guides as I trekked back from La Ciudad Perdida in Colombia reminded me of the joy of sharing your journey with others.
– Candace Rose Rardon, BBC Travel contributor
Because when I was about as miserable as I have ever been – drenched in sweat and rainwater, covered in mosquito bites, my hiking shoes and socks caked in mud, exhausted after hours of mud-sloshing, branch-whacking, and millipede-dodging in the jungly wilds of northern Cambodia – my guide pointed into the gloom and I saw, not 15ft from where I stood, a giant face carved in rock on the top of a tower. I was reminded yet again how the world graces us with inexhaustible wonder.
– Don George, BBC Travel contributing editor
Because I called Rio de Janeiro home for a few weeks and can now say I’ve seen the world’s most stunning city.
– Valerie Conners, BBC Travel contributor
Because during the Mid-Autumn Festival, the skies over Singapore become a citywide, airborne gallery.
– Abbie Kozolchyk, writer
Because I made it to Bhutan, the most spiritual and magical country I have ever visited, and helped prepare and serve soup to young monks at a monastery. It was an honour.
– Eric Ripert, chef
Because seeing a chicken try to decide whether to cross the road in Hanoi made me ponder life’s great philosophical questions.
– David Farley, BBC Travel Eatimology columnist
Because I finally went to Mexico for Día de los Muertos and discovered that every once in a while, reality can exceed expectations.
– Brad Cohen, BBC Travel Thirsty Explorer
Because at sunrise in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, at the rugged, empty edge of the habitable world, I felt small again.
– Andy Isaacson, writer
Because sometimes even extraordinary buildings like the Taj Mahal are humbled by the simple beauty of everyday life.
– Gavin Haines, BBC Travel contributor
– Allison Busacca, BBC Travel editor
Because while I was travelling in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Colombia, the family of this extraordinary Kogi girl made me local lemonade and welcomed me into their world.
– Simon Reeve, BBC TV host
Because I finally climbed to the top of Florence’s iconic Duomo, and was rewarded with a view virtually unchanged since Michelangelo’s day.
– Eric Weiner, BBC Travel contributor
Because floating next to these humpbacks in Tonga reminded me of just how beautiful the Earth’s creatures can be.
– Lia Barrett, BBC Travel contributor
Because through the power of the internet and technology, I have known people from all across the world and have formed unlikely bonds and connections with them more than I ever expected. I hope to visit these places someday soon and meet them in person but for now, thank you, salamat, xie xie and kamsahamnida.
– Dave, writer
Credits: To BBC for quotations