We live in a day and age where technology plays a vital role in our lives. An entire world of knowledge is accessible by a quick Google search. The average human being spends a total of 4 hours a day on social media (yes we understand the irony here as you read this article), and to put it simply, it can be a hard thing to escape. Technology has not only changed our lives, but the way we travel and at times, it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. But as we pack our backpacks, jump on a plane and head to a new and exciting existence - we begin a journey (not just in miles but in personal progression), that leaves us with truths and realisations that allow us to look at life with a fresh perspective...
1. You can trust the kindness of strangers
It's a term we don't hear often in modern society, but a realisation we come to terms with when travelling. Obviously you need to trust your instinct with this one - accepting a Tuk Tuk driver's private shopping tour around Bangkok won't do you any favours. But we learn to ask for directions, approach other travellers on the street or in our hostel sand open our hearts to the locals and their culture. When we return home from our trip, we tend to hold onto this truth with a new found confidence - approaching and the human race with opening arms.
2. Less is more
Iphone upgrades, new cars, houses, designer shoes. Consumerism is a huge driving factor in modern society and with a whirlwind of media and advertising in our everyday lives it can be easy enough to get caught up in this never ending pursuit of materialism. Travelling allows us to strip our possessions down to the bare minimum and in doing so, our thoughts have less distractions and more time to focus on the more important things in life - such as ourselves, others and the planet. We begin to find the truth - and we all have a different 'truth' - whether it be "happiness is only real when it's shared" or "happiness comes from within." Either way - we find out who we really are and what makes us happy.
3. We are all human
Travel opens us to different ways of life. Ways of life that are (surprise, surprise) DIFFERENT to our own. Yes it's common knowledge, but something we can at times, forget. Travel is a reminder that there is an entire human race that exists beyond the walls of our normality. It allows us to look out our normality objectively. It makes us curious and question why we do what we do and whether or not our pursuits, studies, dreams or work are really integral to our inner happiness. We remember that there are communities out there suffering and dealing with bigger issues. We remember that we are not, in competition, and merely an existence on a planet that shares a common goal - to exist.
4. Our possibilities are limitless
We've all done some crazy stuff on our travels - bungy jumping, skydiving, crossing borders with little sleep. There's something about the pure adrenaline, freedom and euphoria that we inhabit when travelling that gives us the confidence to do the things we wouldn't usually do. Travelling solo, visiting a third world country or navigating across a country without google maps is a huge achievement and upon returning home, we remember that we are capable of great things. Hello dream job!
5. We are actually OK on our own
Social Media allows us to connect, with everyone, at anytime, any day. It almost becomes an obsession to constantly check what everybody else is up to and as humans we seek the company of others - so there's no surprises there. Our friends and family can be reached with a click of a button and potential partners can be sourced via dating apps (note: we have no complaints there). With the ability to communicate with anyone across the globe in the palm of our hands, some of us can at times feel anxious when alone or without our iphones. Travel forces us to step away from this instantaneous comfort. At first, it can be daunting. But soon, we realise that loneliness is a result of an inability to be alone. Soon we find solace in our own comfort and appreciate the lonesome bus journey, the quiet time on the flight or exploring a new found city at our free will.
6. Life won't always go to plan. Embrace it.
Flight cancellations. Stolen passports. Lost passports. Lost in a city. Bus delays. It's all pretty common when embarking on a backpacking adventure. At first it frustrates the sh*t out of us. After all, we are accustomed to feeling angry when our phones are running slow, when we find no internet coverage, when our train home is five minutes late and when our we reach a Red Light. Such events are an obstacle in our everyday life and causes higher levels of stress. When travelling however, we soon realise that such obstacles are out of our hands. These things will happen. Take a deep breath and chill out.
7. Life is actually pretty amazing
Numbness is something we all can relate to at times. Our brains are wired. Every morning we pick up our toothbrushes with the same hand. We wash our body in the same motion. We dry off in the same order. We almost become robotic. Most of us have that 'thing' that wakes us up and allows us to feel alive, inspired and motivated again - whether it be running, yoga, drinking, surfing and if you're reading this - most likely travel. It's an act that reborns us, forcing us to tackle life whole - heartedly, to say yes and remember (because yes at times, we can forget) that life is pretty FRE*KING AMAZING!
Main article image: Fraser Island QLD Australia via Tourism Australia