Let us have a break from the usual travel post about mountains, waterfalls, beautiful spots, etc. This time, I will be talking about my travel inspirations, how I become a travel junkie (well, still a wannabe) and how travel inspires me.
Disclaimer: This is a long post, so if you are not in the mood of reading much today and totally have zero interest on knowing about this, worry not, I’m totally okay with that.
So what inspires me to travel?
“We wander for distraction and travel for fulfillment” – Hilaire Belloc
Do you have a wandering soul? Did it come to the point that you always have an itch to go for the next trip? Do you have the urge to go places and always looking forward for the weekends and long holiday breaks to have that another adventure? If so, then welcome to the club!
As a traveler, I was in a constant awe at the sheer numbers of people itching to hit the outdoors, chase the next waterfall, climb the next mountain, explore the caves below or even dive the deepest seas. I wondered what their motivation is for traveling. Are they just tourists who like to hit the well-known spots, or are they seasoned travelers who long to experience the “real” culture and beauty of a local place? Either way, every person I encountered on my travels had this insatiable appetite to witness the grandiose beauty of world.
When I was thinking and pondering about my travel inspirations, I came to realized that my urge to travel came at a very young age. Although I didn’t have the chance to fulfill those aspirations during my childhood until I graduated college, I can proudly and happily say that I am living out one of my dreams now.
So the question is when I became inspired to travel?
I first felt the urge and have the itch to go places when I was 12. It was due to one of the history projects that we have wherein we need to watch a documentary of an old version of the place and compare it to the new vista of the place. I can still remember the feeling of excitement how these places have transformed into a magnificent landmarks nowadays. I’ve always known at that time that I wanted to go places and experience and appreciate the beautiful creations that the world can offer.
Where I was Inspired to Travel?
It took me a little while to figure out where I want to travel. I’ve always known that I wanted to travel to places but I have no clue what kind of places inspires me the most. It was after my studies that I realized that I’d love to travel somewhere in the world that seemed mysterious, remote and isolated. I wanted to go somewhere to where few people have travelled. It was only then I realized that I was looking for an experience of a lifetime and share it with the people closest to my heart.
What inspires me to travel?
I am actually inspired by the idea of travel itself. It is actually the travel that inspires me to travel more. It is the adrenaline rush that keeps my wandering soul hyped for the next travel / adventure. The experiences from the previous travels are the main reasons why I crave for more! It is really humbling to say that I am happy for myself, knowing that I was living the kind of life that I thought would just be a dream. It was in this moment, I sworn to myself that I will see more of the world, against all odds.
To this day, I’m not entirely sure what or who inspired me to take that first step outside the four corners of my room and explore the great outdoors. The inspiration may have come from travel guides, stories from other travelers, friends or family. Maybe it was the adventures promised along the jaunt that entices me. Or maybe, just maybe I was just born with the need to travel.
So without further ado, I shortlisted my personal list in what ways travel have inspired me.
Travel reinforces my senses and makes me more appreciative
Traveling is unquestionably a feast for the eyes, but do you ever feed your other senses? No matter where you are in the world there is always an exciting panorama to gape upon. Whether it be the grandiose Sierra in Asia, the stunning vivid emerald green rice paddies in Banaue, the cottony sea of clouds in Mount Pulag, or the crystal clear waters of our own beaches, we all gasp at breath taking scenery that leaves us in a jaw dropping awe of what nature or man has created, in a visual sense.
It may sound absurd but I don’t think I’ve ever fully appreciated the beauty of nature until I started traveling. I don’t know about you and other travelers, but for me travel do heighten my senses every time.
The saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” maybe the reason why so many travelers linger too long in one place, whether it be the beauty and grace of the local people, the unforgettable stunning scenery or the overwhelming size of intricately carved ancient temples that have stood for ages, you simply can’t tear your eyes away let alone stop snapping photographs.
We are all a product of our upbringing and once I had children of my own, I wanted them to appreciate the fact that even if you cannot see, your other senses really do become heightened as I had learned. Not being able to see, heightened every other sense and almost gave a clearer picture in your mind of where you were, without needing the pleasure of actually seeing what was in front of you.
Maybe it’s because of the environment that we are into, that we tend not to appreciate and pay much attention of what is around us. But when I’m ‘on the road’ I find myself paying so much more attention to my surroundings. Traveling, especially to a new and unfamiliar place has that effect on me. Whilst I’m trying to immerse up everything around me, new experiences along these jaunts heighten my senses and draw me into this new environment.
While traveling, it made me more aware of what is happening around and seems like I am more connected with the environment. Whether waking up outside, in the midst of the forest, near the riverbanks, in an open field surrounded by trees, with the sound of birds singing in the morning, or taking in the awe-inspiring view of a dramatic landscape, travel makes me love and appreciate nature, in a way I never knew before.
Travel broadens my perspective
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ~ Marcel Proust
Traveling gives me new perspective. Sometimes, we need to take a step back to see things differently. Oftentimes, it’s effective for me to take a few steps back whenever things really get messy and complicated. A quick travel or a vacation can do a little magic here.
One of the reasons why vacation is called that is due to its obvious meaning. The root word vacate means to leave wherever you are and whatever you’re having behind. We need that at least for a while.
With that said, we need to leave everything behind when we travel – stress and issues in life. Many times it’s easier for us to discern other people’s real issue and help them to move forward than our own. Why is that we can address other’s issues quickly than our own? It is probably because our issues and challenges are too closed to us that we are consummated and had limited thinking about it.
To address our own issues, we sometimes need to be away to have a fresh look. We need to be shifted and see our own issues from a different perspective to gain new insights. For me, traveling is quite perfect instrument for that!
Most often, people associate travel with therapy and I for one would agree a hundred percent with this. Why? Travel is therapeutic in a sense that you will have a quick reset and see the things in a different angle. It is certainly therapeutic to abandon a particular issue or a challenge and dilemma which has been ‘eating’ thyself from within. Dwelling on the thought of our issues can be painful at times. So, by physically leaving a familiar place, people, and daily routine can have an immense change in the way we see things.
One way for traveling to be therapeutic is to not think about your issue at all. Just let it rest for a while. As the saying goes, “learn to rest not to quit”. Have that needed rest, find your strength and contemplate while you’re away. And when you return, you may find your issue differently. You can even tell and realize that it is not really as big as you initially thought. This will work most of the time, well at least for me.
Travel clears my mind
Sometimes it is hard to stay in one spot for so long. The same old routine could bring on boredom, which could turn into anxiety and frustration. Nobody likes to be in the same place, doing the same thing for a long period of time. Are you?
While a schedule is good to have, it can become something you are so dependent on that when it changes, you too could begin to change in unsafe ways.
Some people do not have the opportunities that others have when it comes to traveling. Some people may go their whole life without witnessing other cultures and learning from their traditions. Some people might stay within the four corners of their rooms. Some do not have the capability to see any. However, if the opportunity does come, jump on that adventure.
Why we should travel? Why should we go for an adventure? Because that travel could be just what you need to clear your head. It might be that adventure that can lead you to start a safer life for yourself and avoid self-harm.
We’re all different when it comes to finding the right coping skills that help get us through our urges to self-harm. However, traveling could be a coping skill you’ve never really thought of before. Sometimes, we even have to have that quick afternoon walk to get away from the chaos of life. A walk in the park and watch the passers-by could help us realize that everyone carries some kind of baggage. Even if we didn’t know exactly what that baggage was, but it can help us realize that we are not the only one carrying the world.
It might seem obvious, but the most precious gift of all that travelling gives you is time. Time to be in your own thoughts and time to think, clearly.
By switching off from my routines in daily life, such as stern office work, daily chores, to-do lists or even just the normal distractions of the TV and phone, one can think more clearly, especially about the goals and passions in life. What do I want to achieve this year? How am I going to do it? What do I want to make more time for?
Whether it’s riding the bumpy 8-hour bus to our next destination, lying on a tropical beach with beautiful palm trees swaying above my head, or trekking through a scenic rice paddy in Banaue, traveling gives me a lot more time, and therefore a room to breathe, reflect and dream.
Simply by changing our environment, I feel inspired and new thoughts and ideas seem to spark into life.
Travel teaches me a lesson
We don’t stop learning after we graduated. Every day is a school day, as they say! Travel constantly teaches me something new every day, may it be history and geography of the place or the culture. From how noodles are made, or rice is harvested, or how the clay pots are moulded, and the tale tales of those mystic places we’ve been visiting, every travel offers something new aside from the precious experiences that we can cherish.
It’s not just things or people we learn about though, travel teaches me about myself too. By being constantly thrown into new environments and situations, every day is a lesson in self-development! I’ve feel like I’ve learned more about myself when I started travelling than when I am not in my previous years.
I have always believed that travel teaches us lessons without a scorecard. It enriches ourselves gently. The moment we step out to see the world to meet people, to get acquainted with different cultures, taste different and exotic cuisines or simply breathe in an unfamiliar city, we learn a lot!
The lessons that we learned while traveling just happens naturally. We don’t have to try too hard for it. It’s all about totally losing ourselves into the arms of a new environment. But first, we have to first shrug off the ‘safe’ and ‘tried and tested’ syndrome. We need to go beyond our comfort zone and delve into the unknown with a wandering soul.
Also, our companions or buddy teaches us a great deal of lessons while traveling. They are the ones who we interact during the happiest and tragic moments during our jaunts. They are the ones we considered as our extended family sometimes. And they are the ones who we argue and make peace with, for at the end of the day, they are the ones who stood beside us during our most undesirable state while traveling.
Travel has taught me a lot. It has taught me so much that I am even keener to learn more through it.
Travel teaches me to be patient
It cannot be avoided that few of our travels didn’t go as planned, isn’t it? Sometimes a well-planned vacation can still go wrong. It could be during the trip, accommodation problems, etc. we might lose our luggage, gotten hopelessly confused with directions, have taken the wrong train or bus. In general, life doesn’t always go according to plan, even when you’re on vacation. Learning how to deal with the curve balls traveling throws your way teaches you how to be a more patient person in your everyday life. Trust me, after you’ve talk to a non-English speaker local in another country asking directions when you’re lost, you’ll be a lot more patient when it comes to dealing with your average, everyday problems back at home.
One of the most important things I’ve learned and will continue to learn every day whilst travelling is the value of patience. Something you realize quite quickly when you start a new adventure, is that as soon as you step into that airport terminal or bus station to take your first journey, you’re no longer in control of everything, and the best thing you can do is accept your new reality as quickly as possible, and go with the flow. Be flexible and adapt quickly and be ready for a backup plan.
After all, what’s the point in getting annoyed if your flight is delayed by 5 hours, or your trip is cancelled due to bad weather? There’s nothing much you can do about it! And so being patient is the best way to handle it – something we’ve learned after numerous delays and extra-long bus journeys! Rather than get annoyed, just shrug it off, find another things to do to entertain yourself. Read a book, play some game, grab another coffee, or enjoy chatting with your companions, or make friends. These things are to be to be expected occasionally along the way, and is usually not a major issue. Delays and relinquishing control will only spoil your adventure if you let them get into your nerves!
Something that is admirable to witness about the locals and other travellers would be the incredible patience and ability to not get frustrated or annoyed easily in tricky situations. We can always try to take a leaf from their book and inculcate this in our own system.
Travel help me realize that there’s no place like home
Traveling in a foreign land is a deeply rewarding experience, and I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a place I’ve been to. The cultural immersion, the experience, and the people I got to know and be friend with are all worth remembering and a great memory to live by. With all that being said, and as much as I enjoy a good vacation, there’s nothing like coming home. Traveling to other places reminds me that other countries like Japan and Singapore are absolutely awesome. The adventure, the beautiful spots, the amusement parks, the food, unfailingly good service, and an efficient transport system are just some of the little things that you come to miss once you leave the country. When you live in your own country, it gets easy to overlook some of the amenities you’ve grown up with, and how beautiful the place is and how hospitable and loving the people are, but once you spend a few weeks any place outside of your own country, it’s hard not to realize just how fortunate you are to be with those simple things regardless it is only a third world country.
Travel encourages respect and cultural understanding
The best thing about travel for us is the people we meet along the way. From igniting a simple conversion or showing thanks to a local who helps us along our way, it enriches our experience and helps us get to know and understand the local culture better.
Learning about other cultures in school is one thing, but actually experiencing a culture yourself is completely different. Whether you’re visiting art museums, looking at grand architectural landmarks, enjoying the amusement park, visiting temples, or even just stopping for a coffee break in a happening café, traveling exposes you to people and lifestyles that are completely different than anything you’ve probably encountered back at home. Before you know it, you’ll be picking up on local customs and falling in love with food you can barely even pronounce. Well, I’m referring to a Japanese and Singaporean / Malaysian Cuisine here. 🙂
When traveling, we need to go taste the local food, listen to their music, smell the fragrance, engage into full sensory experience and see what defines the culture there. Understand the practices and where they come from. But most of all, we should give our utmost respect to their cultures and traditions. If possible we should live like them to better understand them.
Meeting people from different cultures, languages, backgrounds and mind sets, and immersing into their world, can often give fresh insights and new perspective into the same old issue. Your thinking can alter to see what can be different about your issue, and more importantly, what can be possible!
We’re all part of the human race, yet so diverse and similar at the same time. We’re different, but not that different. We learn from each other, if we’re open to fresh ideas.
Regardless of culture, skin color, geographical location, or language, everyone in the world strives for the same things. We all want to be safe, we all want to be successful, we all want to live lives that we can look back on and be proud of. By never leaving your comfort zone, it’s easy to begin thinking in terms of “us vs. them”, but nothing can be further from the truth. Once you travel, you realize that the entire globe is all striving towards the same goal: happiness.
Travel takes me out of my Comfort Zone
The world isn’t as scary as you’ve been lead to believe. If you watch the news that much, it’s hard to not start thinking that the entire world is a scary, dangerous place, but in all honesty nothing could be further from the truth. Even our own country is currently tagged as dangerous. Granted, it’s important when traveling to keep your wits and take special precautions, but in general, the average country is just as safe as the one you live in now. Danger is always out there, but you have just as likely of a chance of having something bad happen to you in the perceived safety of your home as you do abroad, so why let your fear inhibit you?
One of the favorite things to do when we travel is to try as much of the local cuisine as possible, even when we’re not too sure about it. We absolutely love discovering great local food and it’s especially exciting when we discover a delicious new dish!
Finding good food when traveling is important as much as discovering the unexplored spots. It’s one of the main reasons why travel is incomplete without food. Well at least for me. 🙂
However apart from trying new foods, I love the fact that travel constantly takes me out of my comfort zone and encourages me to try new things and experiences. For example, I would probably never have tried the King of coasters in Japan – the coaster with the longest track (2 KM) and a speed of 120kph of have never hiked one of the coldest mountain in the Philippines (Mount Pulag). Travel has definitely taken me out of my comfort zone and with it, travel provided the most rewarding experiences!
Travel encourages me to be true to myself
It may sound a little cheesy, but traveling definitely makes you find your true self – there’s no shying away from it.
All of us have our own individual journey to travel, our own race to finish. But it’s incredibly powerful and joyful to share your journey with a companion, a comrade, a supportive partner, people who value and accept you as you are, who can empathize the mountains and valleys that you’d go through, and don’t underestimate people who have a wild sense of adventure and fun!
Build parallel tracks with those you want to enlist onto your journey. Have your own individual space without forgetting the power of traveling together. You may travel faster alone, but you can go further together.
Provide encouragement as much as you receive, if not more. Get on that adventure together. By that, I do mean life’s journey and also that wonderful vacation in exotic places.
When planning an adventure, sometimes the huge range of choices and decisions to make can be overwhelming. Should we book a tour or travel independently? How long should we stay there? Should we book an activity or just relax? It’s hard to know how you’ll feel in the moment, but the best way to answer all these questions is to be honest with yourself. Do you enjoy trekking enough to book a 5 day trip or would it be better to book the 1-2 day option? Do you really want to spend 6-10 days touring all of a city’s beautiful spots like theme parks, museums, beaches, etc or would you prefer to grab a coffee and watch the world go by in a local cafe? Or stay inside the four corners in the comfort of your own room.
I love the fact that travel gives us these choices. However, when in doubt, we always revert back to asking ourselves what we enjoy most, and ultimately, what makes us happy. Personally, we love a great adventure, and get a great buzz and sense of achievement from a dangerous scenic trek, or roughing it a little to camp under the stars, but we also know how much we enjoy a little comfort and relaxation. Especially after an adventure. So we’ll ensure our adventure is based on these preferences. By being honest with ourselves, we know that a mix of adventure and relaxation is how we like it, and will make us most happy.
Travel makes me appreciate what I have
Travel has opened my eyes to small, ordinary things of life- things that are undervalued, but have great significance. Now I am more conscious towards waiters, cashiers, train personnel, florists, vendors and any random person whom I come across on my vacations. I have a deeper sense of respect for them, because they are the ones who make our travels smooth for us. I often make it a point to interact with people, and that makes my travel experience even more rewarding.
When traveling abroad, you will meet people that live under all kinds of circumstances. You will see just how different things are compared to your own country. I believe that traveling to countries where you will face poverty or where people are not able to enjoy the same rights or freedoms like you back home, will make you appreciate what you have more. That is the point where I consider myself lucky and I try to be grateful and thankful every day.
It’s easy to take what you have for granted, and travel reminds me of this constantly.
We regularly witness the struggle and hard times of living in a developing country, and it’s a humbling reminder of how lucky we are. It makes us appreciate what we have, and reminds us that we were simply lucky to have been born where we were.
Travel inspires me to be more creative
I find myself more creative now as a person. By creativity, I don’t mean that I have mastered or learn some kind of art. I simply mean that I have become more creative in my day-to-day living. Travel opens our mind so much that we begin to see something interesting in everything – it could be something as simple as preparing a meal or arranging our things in our office desk in an interesting setup.
Travel inspires me to be more creative, it unlocks skills I forgot I had. Away from the burdens of modern life, and with time to think and reflect, my inner creativity is awakened. Sometimes I feel like traveling takes me back to my childhood creativity. To skills that were somehow lost or buried in the maelstrom of ‘growing up’, or perhaps pushed aside when spending too much time memorizing facts for exams.
There’s a chance that you think you aren’t creative, or that’s a skill other people have. But travel gives you the head space to explore your creative mind, and you may just find yourself writing, or drawing as you sit on that bus, or on that beach. Travel gives you the chance to reawaken those skills and desires. Believe me, I’ve experienced it. And whilst I love to just sleep or watch a movie, I get even more enjoyment out of creating something of my own (such as this blog post) and travel inspires me to do so.
Travel gives me wisdom
Ever since I have started traveling and mainly started writing about my experiences, I have also been able to improve my world-wide knowledge. Now I read a lot about destinations, different cultures, traditions, cuisines and other things. Now I find myself more equipped with knowledge, which has eventually made me a wiser person.
People always say that travel is a trans-formative experience, and I think that all stems from realizing that you are capable of far more than you ever could have imagined. As an introverted person and a homebody (now turned into an ambivert and a bit outgoing person), it seems nearly impossible that I’ve done some of the things I’ve done. Whether I was standing up for myself in a foreign language, making friends with complete strangers, dealing with unruly crowds, or even efficiently planning a vacation, when I look back on my travels, I feel a sense of pride akin to finishing a marathon. Travel truly changes me, but in the absolute best way imaginable. Now, no matter what’s thrown at me, I know I am capable of rising to the challenge and, most importantly, accomplishing it, mistakes and all.
Travel touches my soul in a way I never expected it could. It might sound a little cheesy but it’s true. By seeing and experiencing other cultures and ways of life, travel opens my eyes and makes me question life in a good way. It inspires me to aspire for more from life.
Travel helps me put insignificant tasks or routine into perspective. It makes me want to complete them quicker or abandon them altogether if they don’t really matter. Hell, does that dress really need ironed or can you just hang it outside for an hour to let the wind blow out the creases naturally? Yes it might not be perfect, but I could spend that few minutes doing something that will actually fulfill me or better still, make that phone call or chat to a friend or family that I’ve ‘not had time for’.
Travel encourages me to do what makes me happy
Travel taught me that it’s fine not to have the perfect travel plan. If not everything is going according to plan, missing the flights, got lost in the mountain trail, delays due to bad weather, got lost in the concrete jungle, or got sick while traveling, it is totally okay. Travel teaches us that we can’t control everything that happens and that’s alright. These are the things that our out of our control, so we better know how to handle it well. We should not stress over these matters and remember that it’s all part of the journey and those are the ingredients that adds flavour to our journeys.
Despite all the mishaps that we may encounter along our travels, we need to keep in mind that even the worst situation can be turned into an awesome one if we just know how.
If you love to travel, tricky situations, failures and misfortunes won’t stop you to continue. This is probably the most important life lesson: “Do what makes you happy!”
As long as we are happy on what we are doing, nothing can hold us back to do it all over again and again and again. Life is short and there is no need to wait around until you might find happiness. We should pursue our happiness now! If traveling makes you happy, then do it now. You are responsible for your life, so make the most of it.
So that’s it, these are the things that inspires me to travel and the reasons why I shall keep on traveling! Hopefully this list provided a catalyst into your inner wandering soul to keep on traveling and enjoy life. See you in the outdoors.