Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You
Long before I ever stepped foot out into the world there were talks of this dreaded “travel bug”. A “travel bug” they’d say was a feeling you’d get after tasting what the world had to offer. It would leave a nagging imprint on you, much like a feeling a bug would leave on you after biting you. Although painless, it would linger and act as an ever-constant reminder of your experience abroad.
I’m here to tell you, the travel bug exists. From the moment that my eyes open in the morning to the instant that they close in the night, I think about traveling. See, the world has a way of becoming you. It is something that seems to stay with you forever, as if it a part of you.
It seems that as a writer, you always tend to highlight the nicest things about traveling, such as “what I learned here” or the “best things to do there-types”, but rarely do people talk holistically about traveling. There are some downsides to traveling, but I argue they are heavily outweighed by the good. Nonetheless, there are a few things that a person should know before they engage in any form of traveling.
You might get the bug
First and foremost, you might get it. It is true, when you travel there is a good chance that you will get the ‘bug’. At least if you don’t get it, it will get you. You might fall in love with the world and leave all else behind in pursuit of its majestic presence. You’ll want to roam to all ends of the world seeking adventure and exploration while leaving no stone left un-turned. It is difficult to explain if you’ve never experienced it for yourself, but when you do you’ll understand exactly what I am talking about.
You can never go back
Traveling reveals to you all dimensions of society. The good, the bad, the great, and yes even the ugly. Some say that the world is a cruel place, I don’t necessarily agree although I clearly see where this belief comes from. Exposure to the world’s positives and negatives is one thing you’ll never be able to take back or forget. Ask anyone who has traveled, they will be able to highlight both immediately. Thinking back, looking over your past experiences, you’ll remember the helpful smiles and friendly encounters to the corruption, injustices, and poverty in the world. I say that with knowledge comes responsibility, which may be why some say that ignorance is bliss. You will not likely be able to go back to the ‘simple life’ after traveling, at least not in your mind.
A good way to illustrate this is with a story taken from a chapter in Greek Mythology, about Pandora’s Box (or vase):
In Greek philosophy there is a story about Pandora. She was given a vase and was adamantly told to keep it sealed. One day when her husband was not home, she decided that she would have a peak into the box to see what was in it. Her curiosity drove her to this action. When she did, she released all the ‘evils’ of the world. According to ancient Greek mythology, man would forever fight these evils.
The story of Pandora’s box in Greek mythology was written in part to explain why evils exist in the world. For me, the moral of the story is simple. At times, your curiosity can lead to things that cannot be put back into the box. Traveling exposes you to new things. With traveling and discovery of new things comes new knowledge and with new knowledge comes new responsibilities. You need to be prepared for that.
It’s hard to imagine life without it
Once you experience a world outside of your own, you want to experience them all. It becomes increasingly difficult to imagine living without these new experiences. Because one learns so much from cultural interaction and exchanges, you in many ways become addicted to traveling. There is a chance that the norm will no longer satisfy your thirst for experience. Your first time traveling is like your first time of anything, you are nervous, anxious, but yet really excited. You may forever chase that travel-high you get from getting your feet wet.
With all of these traveling warnings, why travel in the first place?
There are warnings for everything you do, nothing is a perfect situation. Traveling is no exception. Travelers incur risks much like anything else, and they aren’t all financial or physical. Many of them are like the ones listed above, things that will not be seen by others. Things that you will carry with you personally.
Unknowns in life are not always dangerous or bad. Stepping out of your comfort zone to experience new things can reveal new possibilities that you may never before have imagined. Sometimes you have to walk up a hill to see what’s on the other side.
Knowing all of this, you have to know that traveling also has much to offer. Traveling teaches many things to those who are opened to its lessons. Traveling can change you, help you to develop, and help you to see the world with a new pair of eyes. The world is a beautiful place. Mother nature is always ready to teach, are you always ready to listen?
If you have a few minutes (~7), I strongly recommend watching this video below. It is a great illustration of what humans do in their lives.
“Dare to Dream”
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