What travelling and living away from home taught me…
INDIA//WEST BENGAL-Kolkata’s Victoria Memorial ground
As a westerner and a 21st-century modern young girl, I love to travel. Who doesn’t? The unknown is what we strive for. It gives us a sensation of freedom, power, and thrill deep within us. However, nobody questions why is it we feel these things only once we leave our native homes? Why are we only happy if we are moving? And why does it make us successful to be living in such a way?
Generally, I think we are missing the point in life. We often just encourage experiences over knowledge so, in the end, we believe in places rather than people… But really, when you think about it, it is not the places you go that make you happy. How often do you remember these places? More often it is the people you meet along the way that sticks with you, not that lovely beach you saw. People are whom that makes you happy.
As the technological and media world develops and reaches out to every one of us every day, we are subject to developing this mentality. The mentality of fantasies. We are true romanticists and create many illusions in our mind. Now in the 21st century, it is easier than ever to travel (from a Europeans perspective) with many methods of transportation. Before even in the early 1900s, it would take one month’s to cross the seas in order to reach the other side but this wasn’t in the cause of “travel”. More due to trade reasons, army service or even slavery from manual labour. Also, the media has branched out completely. If you look at your mobile, computer, newspapers, televisions and even more there will be advertisements of other countries promoting their beautiful beaches, social life, cultures etc. Most the time you will see a beautiful blonde girl there lying on the beach looking all bronzed and glowing from the rays of the sun. We only imagine ourselves to be in her shoes when we are sitting there at work, doing a normal, repetitive and, tedious 9–5 shift.. thinking why not me? When is it my time to be successful or free from any responsibility?
MEXICO// STATE OF COLIMA- Tecomán
The truth is I was the very subject of this situation.
I believed that in order to be successful, knowledgeable and well cultured I needed to leave my home, which is what I did. But “how?” I asked myself. I couldn’t travel permanently without no income so I searched for ways to find that and that is when I came across an opportunity to teach abroad. So I did it, I studied for a TEFL qualification and one year later I found myself teaching across the seas.
Yes, I had fun and many laughs. I met many interesting people and had many wonderful experiences but one problem was that I still didn’t feel so fulfilled within and I couldn’t find myself making true or deeper connections. Due to this doubt, I continued my search of fulfilment in Asia after my partition in European countries and Latin America.
But wait, there was one problem and that was I found myself more lost than ever the more I travelled. “How could this be???” I asked myself. Where do I stand and what is my purpose in life?
Only when I came into contact with people whose ideologies were the complete opposite to any traveller I had ever come across I started to change and feel happier. These people respected education and knowledge. They gave themselves a time each day to keep up with the world and the daily happenings. I understand that I took my time for granted up until now and I pitied myself instead of doing something about it.
Being in this kind of environment was an eye-opener for me. Everything I learned from them made me want to learn more for myself. The more I learned the more inquisitive I became. I started to question what I already knew and the realization that I had forgotten a considerable amount of necessary information made me feel guilty. The only way I could redeem myself was to start again which is what I did.
Honestly, in the end anyway, you will find yourself craving for that sense of responsibility even from the smallest kind. It is just human nature. From my point of view, life is all about balance.
Becoming more aware of things, devoting time to study and make research made things much clearer. Life started to have a purpose and I saw myself doing great things. It’s okay if you don’t succeed at first, but just don’t give up. Try again even if it takes you the 10th time to get there. Even the best artists or musicians of today did not get recognition on their first try. It took them several attempts at being knocked down, but the climb is what made them stronger as a professional.
I think the problem that many of us face is that we believe success comes to us. If we give 10% then this is enough to get us by, but eventually you realize you are stuck are the same rut. Laziness is the start of planning to fail. The truth is the only way you are getting anywhere is by standing up for what you want. Research, plan and study. Use many resources and please don’t be lazy. Be open to many ideas and advice from many platforms or third parties. Remember seeking and taking advice is not stupidity or making yourself seem weak, but in fact, knowing you can accept other opinions rather than your own shows you are serious and considering of others and even yourself.
Another thing I learned was that no matter where you go you will find problems. My mother used to tell me “you can’t run away from your problems, but instead deal with them with confidence knowing it will pass” however I disregarded this very easily. I wanted to take the easy way out and find my peace elsewhere. I once heard somebody say “how can you appreciate where you are going if you don’t even know where you come from?” this guy wasn’t half wrong here and made sense to me. I realized that if I can’t understand my own home how can I understand a foreign place. The ignorance was what was keeping me back from connecting in life, but I was just too overwhelmed by everything that was happening in my life to snap out of this bubble.
Knowledge over experience-
Education is key. It develops your mind mentally and you become more aware socially in life. You will find your relationships will become stronger and healthier because you yourself are fulfilled. You make better decisions and understand human behaviours (most of the time.) They say that you can’t truly love another human unless you love yourself. It’s okay if you don’t initially know what you want. Trust me. I was in the same boat. I had an idea but this didn’t feel so right to act upon immediately. To stay in university for at least 3 years is a huge commitment, so it must be thought well. Do planning and research, experience a little and explore the field you are interested in, but please do not forget about it because of other life’s distractions. So in shorter words, what I am trying to say is that our world is often promoting experience over knowledge. Many assume one must be intelligent if you are moving around from one place to another, but wait if someone has been studying their whole life in the same place that makes them a little less knowledgeable about the world, right? No. That is not always the case. And in some cases, they are more knowledgeable about the world than someone that is a frequent traveller. Just remember it takes hard work and dedication. I mean, there are many factors to travelling that are beneficial for instance you become more streetwise, due to hardships you come across whilst you move around. But one thing to consider is, this does not mean you know about the world and the cultures it holds (I will talk about the advantages of travelling at another time). I’m not against travelling but hey, don’t believe travel is a free pass to all your life answers!
I know these words are based on opinions partly through research and experiences, so it is possible for different views and perspectives, but I just want to give my take on it and try to advise you all to use travel for the right reasons rather than why I did. Believe me, save yourself the money! :)
As of 2018, make this a year for your growth- focus on your skills and really develop them. Give time to your day to do this. Help others. Support your friends and family, and be there for the time they need a push. But let us not forget, do not compare yourself because you, yourself are an individual and this is an open and free world for new ideas, innovations, and creations. Please do not feel it is too late. It is never too late.