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Travel Brain: It's A Matter Of Perspective

USA | Tuesday, 10 May 2016 | Views [241]

Some people can’t get behind my lifestyle. They think they understand what it involves (a trust fund, limitless free time, and a nagging sense of unaccomplishment) but at the end of the day, not many people get it right.

 

So what is it that gets me out into the world and travelling on a daily basis? It has nothing to do with infinite anything, and certainly not this idea that I’m incomplete—it all comes down to getting the most out of my days while I have them. To me, that’s more important than anything.

 

Getting that travel brain doesn’t come easy though, you’ve got to give up on other dreams to keep up the travel life—the life of a permanent home, the life of always understanding the words coming out of a friend’s mouth, the life of never getting lost. I’ve sacrificed a beautiful day somewhere to travel to another locale and fine thunderstorms, I’ve walked mountains to arrive at a village where no one speaks English, I’ve eaten food that was delicious, but wasn’t anything like my mum’s home cooked meals. But travel—I did it all in the name of travel.

 

If you’re into getting your head hardwired for travel, here are a couple tips for maintaining perspective and learning that while it’s all going to come up roses, it also means you’ve got to pluck the daisies every blue moon.

 

I’m always on the move, but I get to see a new place almost everyday.

 

I think I once had dreams that most people have; the normal life, one with a picket fence and a beautiful house and a car and kids and a puppy. Some days I imagine that I’ll get back home and cultivate this life, but for the moment I love being on the move, calling every hostel between Perth and San Francisco home, every Airbnb from Santiago to Minsk, every couch between Shanghai and Puerto Rico.

 

True, I can’t call any one place home at the moment (at least, not mine, I still have my home with my mum back in Australia) but every day (or close to every day) there’s a new vista out there waiting for me to take it all in. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world (at least for the moment).

 

I get nervous around strangers, but it hasn’t stopped me from speaking up.

 

Talking to people I’ve never met is something of a normal day for me—otherwise I wouldn’t ever talk to anyone for the most part, because it’s less likely that I’m with one of my travel buddies. I still, however, get that nagging fear every once in awhile that maybe I would be better off just keeping my mouth shut. I used to be quite shy and part of the reason I set off with my backpack was to help get out of my shell a little bit.

 

That doesn’t mean I don’t have a day or so where I relapse, but at the end of it all I always figure that if I can talk to a stranger, and have a real conversation, there are a million things that I’ll be brave enough to do, like hike that mountain alone, or wandering a crowded souk that twists and turns, or taking off on an adventure to help with great white shark conservation. Because in the end, isn’t talking the easier part of all those three?

 

If you ever feel like confidence is an issue for you and you couldn’t make it through a convo with a stranger at the way, chin up—it’s easier than it looks.  

 

I save just like the next person.

 

I try to put away $20 every week. Why? Because you never know when a rainy day is going to hit you, or more importantly, when you want to make a quick escape to Greece. Yes, even as a serial traveller I occasionally want to go on a vacation away from my travels (what can I say, if you travel at all you know that it’s hard work and isn’t about sitting on your bum by the pool, which consequently I love to do). It’s also a great habit—you never know when you might need a squash fund.

 

Somedays I have to have a pep talk with myself.

 

When you’ve come a long way with yourself, you get to the point where it’s totally normal that you pep talk your way out of a sticky situation. Sometimes when it rains, and I wanted to do something outside, I get really down about it. And I have to talk myself out of not being total being bummed and having a bad day about it. Or if I’m lost, I have to remind myself all of those other times where I managed to successfully find myself where I was supposed to be. Talking to yourself can be good—don’t be afraid of it (they say it's a sign of intelligence!).  

 

And yes, I do miss home from time to time.

 

I get homesick just like everyone else. Sometimes I get to a new place, maybe after a particularly grueling flight, and wonder if now isn’t the perfect time to head home and catch some shut eye in my own bed, have a chat with my mum, and sit back and refresh. It happens to everyone.

 

But I always take homesickness at face value, calling it like it is, and getting down to the actual meaning behind wishing I was somewhere else. When you’re home sick, what you really want is home, right? Duh. But it’s simple; it means you miss something where you came from, and that there’s something there waiting for you when you return. Of all the feelings in the world, I don’t know that there’s ever one out there that’s better than knowing that there’s going to be a loved one waiting at the end of the terminal, with arms wide open, welcoming you back into the fold.

Sure, travelling is wonderful, and I love it and do it everyday, but there’s just something about a welcome home that keeps me going strong. Because at the end of the day, I know I can always go back to where I belong.

 

So whether you’re about 6 months into your gap year or its week of your new expat life, keep in mind that there’s more to having a travel brain than just liking to party at Oktoberfest—it’s about keeping a level head throughout the whole thing. Bon voyage!  

 

Tags: get out of your own head, save, travel, travel brain

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