I feel fortunate that I have had the opportunity to travel extensively across the world learning from different cultures, diverse people, and foreign experiences. Before I switched jobs, I daydreamed of leaving everything behind for a year or a few around the world. Core to my being, the spirit of wanderlust seems to hurl me through life on a quest to see every inch of this Earth. I do not have a bucket list so to speak, but rather an insatiable desire to get lost in an effort to find something deeper.
Forty-five countries later I have endured countless eye-opening moments, uncomfortable situations, and breathtaking sights that photos could not do justice. Each journey chips away at the resolve that I have nothing more to learn about myself. Every time I make a wrong turn or miss my train or meet a new travel companion, my life reroutes and expands any previous notion of reality. If you want to experience a deeper sense of growth, take a trip. Or rather, relinquish control and let the trip take you.
Take the leap.
If you ask yourself why you want to travel, it likely has something to with taking a break from your daily routine or a vacation from work. As exciting as a trip may sound, often hesitations arise. Do I have enough money? Can I take time away from my job? Will I miss out on something while I am gone? What if I get sick? The unknown elements of travel engender curiosity and spontaneity, but can also stir up fear and end a trip before it begins.
I urge you to take a leap. Whether you spin the globe and book a ticket to the first place your finger lands or take the dream vacation you have always hoped to take, I guarantee your adventure will contain surprises that will change you for the better.
Look beyond what’s right in front of you.
The most exciting parts of a foreign country are the unknown elements that confront you every minute of your trip. Bundled up, these elements comprise a culture and shape your perception of a place, its people, and the customs. Where you begin to experience a deeper understanding of your journey comes from the heightened state of awareness that travel instills in each adventurer.
Pico Iyer, a famous travel writer, wrote “Travel is like love… We are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed.” With an open mind, you can seek the imperceptible joys of traveling that are found in meeting new people, immersing in a new culture, eating foreign foods, acknowledging culture shock, and embracing the unfamiliar.
Can you recall the last time you took a trip without your cell phone map or travel guide? Hole-in-the-wall spots were meant to be stumbled upon. Sometimes getting lost turns into more of an adventure than your initial plans. These quiet moments with yourself as you navigate through strangers and strange places may feel uncomfortable.
Pretend you have not lost your way, but rather you are exactly where you are supposed to be. While everything around you remains foreign you will become attuned to your inner truths. These situations inspire the greatest growth as you challenge yourself socially, physically, emotionally in new environments. Embrace your free time by losing your way and give into the unknown knowing that if your stumble turns into a fall you will at least have a good story.
Find your new normal.
When you return from your trip, you will realize little has changed at home. On the other hand you will have changed immensely. No words will suffice to describe your adventures. Inside you will feel a little more free as you internalize the experiences that will have shaped and changed you for the better. Your new normal is accepting that “normal” means different things in different places. If you find yourself intrigued by what’s normal in different parts of the world, you have accepted the challenge of uncertainty. If you accept that you know very little about this vast world, traveling provides the opportunity to continuously get lost in the right direction.
Cameron Cler is a traveler at heart, obsessed with seeing the world and discovering ways to contribute to positive global change. As a registered yoga teacher, she balances her constant travel and work in the startup world by channeling her inner yogi and welcoming peace in chaotic moments. Her passion is cultivating creativity and inspiration while sharing travel stories, yoga classes, wellness tips, and smiles with her friends, family, and students. Follow her latest adventures @ccler.