There’s a characteristic of our generation that can only be described as severe restlessness. I am not specifically referring to the number of friends you have who are prescribed Adderall; although that’s definitely another cultural trend I could discuss in length. What I’m talking about is a restlessness of the soul, the wandering spirit, a culture of nomads.
We’ve been bred on this notion that we are going to do it differently than our parents; we’ll be adventurous, experience life to the fullest. We’ve sat over lunch with our friends choosing our post-graduation plans, always teetering over the line of what we knew as the safe choice and what we knew as the adventurous, spirited one. We talked about living in Brazil in a house by the beach, spending days on the hammock and driving taxis at night.
We thought about moving to London, buying expensive rain gear and renting a studio on Piccadilly Circus. Of course every woman dreams of giving it all up and finding a cozy flat with a view of the Champs-Élysées, spending weekends sitting in corner cafes and eating macarons by Place de la Concorde. But reality always sets in and ruins the daydream.
Many of us have chosen the road more traveled, giving into the societal pressures of securing a job and a 401k. We’ve resigned ourselves to desks with a window seat, looking out on the cold streets of our increasingly disillusioned present. Sometimes, in between deadlines and Facebook stalkings, we find ourselves thinking about that corner bistro in Paris or the cozy hammock in Brazil. We let our minds wander to the wet streets of London and the architectural beauty of Prague. Then we begin to wonder, “What the hell am I still doing here?”
Whether you have this realization once a month, once a week or even once a day, it’s one too many. Your life is fleeting, and your youth will pass even quicker. You are too young to be settling for the nine-to-five, and there should be nothing holding you back from doing what your innermost urges tell you. So stop whining to all your friends and be the adult you claim to be; buy yourself the next ticket to anywhere.
Life moves fast and there is no better time to pursue those inner urges than in your 20s. This is the freest you will ever be, unshackled by the chains of mortgages, insurance policies and general responsibility. You are responsible to no one but yourself and your own whims. Now is the time to stay up until 5 am as the waves of the Moroccan beach spray your tanned, toned body. Now is the time to eat whale testicle at a local dock in Seoul. Now is the time to fall in love with everything and anything.
You’re more willing to take risks
With less to lose, there’s more to gain. Life is about moving outside your comfort zones, about embracing the present moment, even if it scares the sh*t out of you. Right now is the time for you to meet Spanish strangers at a café and let them whisk you off to a party in the Latina quarter of Madrid. Only now will you rent a moped in Thailand for five dollars with absolutely no idea where to go. It’s these years that you’re supposed to make mistakes, get into trouble and learn to live life as openly as possible.
To be inspired
There’s a reason that some of the most influential and greatest artists of American literature spent their most creative years in Europe. There’s nothing more inspiring or life-changing than being engulfed in the beauty and culture of another world, another life. The colors, the smells, the people, the architecture, the squares of another city are enough to renew your soul and ignite your inhibitions. Besides, how else are you supposed to write your novels?
To humble yourself
It’s a valuable life lesson to live as the exile, the foreigner. In no other time or point in your life will you feel the cutting chill of being the outsider as you will living in a country that isn’t your own. You’re the new guy, the tourist no one takes seriously, and that will not only humble you, but give you a sense of empathy you never had before. It’s this grounding that will make you a better person, a more well-rounded person who will come home with a larger sense of what it means to be alive.
For the stories
A wise person once told me that life is a collection of experiences. Your life, and the legacy you leave, will be as full or as empty as you make it. Don’t you want to be one of those older people with countless stories of their youth spent traveling through the Arabian desert or hitchhiking from France to Spain? Don’t you want to tell your friends about the six months you spent living with a Spaniard, sipping sangria and learning to salsa dance?
For the friends who will play ambassadors
The people you meet abroad will play foreign ambassadors for the rest of your life. You will find yourself developing relationships in obscure corners of the world, conversing with people with different ideals, languages and cultures. You will find yourself with connections all over the world, coming back home only to know you now have friends all over the world. Next time you go to Sweden or Australia, you’ll not only have a place to stay, but a friend to show you the real parts of that country.
For the romance
If you’re in a sexual rut, there’s no better reason to pack up and head for somewhere new. Only in Europe can you play out your wildest fantasies of moonlit dinners at bistro cafés by candlelight. Only in South America can you go dancing with a man who whispers sweet nothings in your ear in a language you only understand through the longing of his words. Only somewhere else can you be whoever you want and let your inhibitions fall to the wayside. Shack up with an Italian for a few weeks and let yourself enjoy the idea that it doesn’t matter what, or who, you do while you’re “just visiting.”
For the food
Is there any better reason to travel than for the food? Seriously, how many days are you going to settle for Chipotle before you realize you could get four Spanish burritos that actually taste like “the original”? Don’t you want to try a real croissant? Who knows, maybe you’ll learn how to make paella or find some Italian cookies you’ll have imported to the US for the rest of your life. (Then you’ll be able to tell people you found the most delicious cookies in Sicily, and now you just have toget them shipped.)
To find yourself
There’s no better way to find yourself than to disappear from the daily grind and get lost somewhere along the Atlantic. Only once you remove yourself from the familiar can you find the truth. Only when you are abroad can you see your past life, your home, with a renewed sense of clarity. Going abroad gives you the time, space and moments of solitude you need for self evaluation and exploration.
Because once is never enough
Even if you went abroad in college, or spent two weeks in Europe after graduation, those memories will never be enough to satiate the longing in your soul. There is only so much you can take in, so many things you can do when you’re with your family on vacation or gaggle of friends. You need to see everything, do everything, again. It’s time to do it the right way, on your own. Because it could take a lifetime to be truly fulfilled by everything the world has to offer and those few times you went abroad should only make you thirsty for more.
For the perspective
A change of perspective is like taking a long deep breath after a long day. It’s important to change things up in life, to look at things from another angle, another way. Only going abroad will give you the distance you need to see your life from a renewed lens. Seeing another way of life is a great way to learn to appreciate your old one. Spending six months trying to communicate in another language will teach you to appreciate your own language and the capacity of those words. Because it’s not until you’ve begun missing home that you truly start appreciating it.
For your soul
Hemingway described Paris as a “moveable feast” and “wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you.” The notorious writer set the standard for embracing life abroad, letting it become part of you. Because even when you go home, part of you will forever be changed by the experiences and renewed sense of self that comes with leaving everything behind and starting anew.
To gain strength
Strength comes from overcoming fears, inhibitions and facing situations that aren’t always within your comfort zone. Only once you’ve left the familiar can you begin to challenge yourself. They say that the strongest people are the ones who faced adversity head on and came out the other end. Only once you’ve been in a situation where you had to dig deep down and find a strength you didn’t know you had can you call yourself a stronger person.
To be an explorer
Why can’t you be the one who sets the trends, the one with the unique style who always has those one-of-a-kind pieces? Why can’t you find that pair of lambskin boots in the mountains of Switzerland from a local farmer’s wife or that spice that’s only grown in the farms of south east Asia. Life is about tasting, trying and finding new things, new experiences and new lessons.
To fall in love
Life is about falling in love with everything. It’s about finding a sense of comfort in a local café or that overwhelming sense of comfort that comes with connecting with a painting at the Prado. It’s about seeing and loving everything as if it’s the first and last time. Only when you’ve left and sought the comforts of another place can you experience the overwhelming joy of falling in love with everything around you for the first time.
To appreciate the moments
Only when you’ve sat at a café in Paris for two hours, watching the people and reading your favorite book that you learn to appreciate the small moments in life. It’s the rolling mountains and the busy outdoor markets of Barcelona that should take your breath away. It’s the miles of rice patties beneath the soft glow of the setting sun that should assuage the aching in your restless soul and introduce you to the simple pleasures that life can bring. Only when you’ve learned to live in the moment, seeing and taking in every second of the now, can you truly say you’ve lived life to the fullest.
Photo via We Heart It
About the author:
Lauren “LMoney” Martin grew up with one goal: to be the first woman engineer. Upon finding out there were women engineers already, she chose to study advertising at Penn State University, which led to an attempt at acting and ended in a career as a comedy writer.
So much thought!
I love this article ^^
If given the chance
and funds to travel to places, I definitely will!
First of all I want to greet everyone a happy happy new year!!!
The past year (2013) was a wild ride.
A lot has happened – some under control, some without.
Though no one’s year is expected to be perfect, I have a lot of things to be thankful for the past year.
Let me rewind back to my 2013 and mention just a few…
- March 10 of 2013 was when I made this blog! I have always wanted to have my own blog and write about my interests and other random stuff.
- Finished Korean 1 at University of the Philippines, Diliman
- Saw Lee Min Ho again this year because of his My Everything concert!!
- Ticked something off my bucket list: Wakeboarding.
- I joined a group which unfortunately is not active anymore but the few real friends I made there are still my friends now.
- I discovered a lot about other people and about myself.
- I never stopped learning.
- Boracay Getaway for 4 days & 3 nights!
- BORACAY PUBCRAWL!!! (Which I plan to repeat!!)
- A chance to go to a country I’ve always been interested in. Still wishing it pushes through!!
The list goes on and on and on.
Now, fast forward to the present.. I have a lot of things in mind that I look forward to but since I don’t like to jinx it, I’ll mention it as I achieve it throughout this year.
What I’ll mention though are my New Years Resolutions.
I haven’t really completed my list yet but these are a few of them..
- Travel internationally (South East Asian country)
- EXERCISE (FOR REAL) at least 4 hours a week.
- When drinking, not more than 5 bottles of beer / ~10 shots –just being realistic
- No to binge eating
- At least one day of “me” day every other month
- Will fix my sleep cycle so I can eat breakfast
- Monitor and manage finances well
Apart from those things mentioned above which I want to happen to my life.. there is one thing that I really am wishing for right now.
It is hard to explain at this moment but it can change my life big time. All I’m wishing for my birthday this year is that thing. I hope the opportunity is meant for me and that it’ll be granted to me soon.
I swear to never waste it and seize every opportunity that will help me be my best self.
Sorry if this post is a bit mediocre.
I’m really having a writers block but I really wanted to post a blog today.
Since I’m turning twenTEEN in a few days, I plan to write a “What I’ll give my 21 year old self” post and see if I’ll be able to achieve them after a year :>
This post is inspired (again) by one of my favourite writers, Jeff Goins.
His article made me think of what I want to do.
We all have aspirations and admit it or not, not everything happens as how we planned it.
And so, no matter how far-fetched it may seem, this is what I want to do..
I’d want to have a television show where I travel all over the world, see unusual places and recommend places & things to do when people travel. ✈
How about you?
What would you do?
Even though I haven’t travelled much, I know in my heart that I love travelling.
Just the idea of it makes me jump for joy and it makes my heart skip a beat.
Yes, I am in love with travelling, adventures and everything in between.
Why I love it?
I am not really sure but I just know it.
I have read this article last year and just now, I came across it again.
It inspired me before and now that I’ve read it again, it made me proud of myself.
Yesterday, I booked an unplanned flight to an international destination.
Yes, I only have enough money for airfare as of now and I am still a student but I will of course save up for my travel and not just ask for allowance from my parents.
A lot of people save first and then book a flight after.
I am not sure what has gotten into me yesterday that I just wanted to book it right there and then without even checking out other airlines!
Luckily, what I got was a promo flight.
Anyway, I hope you read this article by Jeff Goins – an amazing writer – and I hope that you’ll be inspired by his piece of art just like me.
And so here it is… 🙂
3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young by Jeff Goins
Never were more fatal words spoken:
- Yeah, but… what about debt?
- Yeah, but… what about my job?
- Yeah, but… what about my boyfriend (or dog or car or whatever)?
“Yeah, but…” is pernicious. Because it makes it sound like we have the best of intentions when really we are just too scared to do what we should. It allows us to be cowards, while sounding noble.
Most people I know who waited to travel the world never did. Conversely, plenty of people who waited for grad school or a steady job and traveled still did those things — eventually. Be careful of the yeah-but. The yeah-but will kill your dreams.
I was so stirred by this conversation that I shared it with a group of 30 young adults last night, many who were asking these very same questions.
The life you’ve always wanted
When you get older, life seems to just sort of happen to you. Your youth is a time of total empowerment. You get to do what you want.
But as you mature and gain new responsibilities, you have to be very intentional about making sure you don’t lose sight of what’s important.
So if you still have a reasonable amount of control over your circumstances, you should do what really matters. Because life won’t always be just about you.
During early adulthood, your worldview is still being formed. It’s important to steward this time — to give yourself opportunities to grow. A good way to do that is to travel.
So, young person, travel. Travel wide and far. Travel boldly. Travel with full abandon.
You will regret few risks you take when it comes to this. I promise you that. There are three reasons to travel while you’re young:
1. Traveling teaches you to live an adventure
When you look back on your life, you will have moments of which you are proud and maybe a few you regret. It’s likely that the following won’t be on the latter list:
- Bicycled across the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Appeared on Italian TV.
- Hiked a Mayan ruin.
- Learned Spanish in three months.
- Toured Europe by train.
They’re not on mine (fun fact: I’ve done all of the above). So what, then, will be? What choices will you regret making? Holding back. Being afraid. Making excuses. Not taking more risks. Waiting.
While you’re young, you should travel. You should take the time to see the world and taste the fullness of life. It’s worth whatever investment or money or sacrifice of time that may be required on your part.
This is not about being a tourist. It’s about experiencing true risk and adventure so you don’t have to live in fear for the rest of your life.
2. Traveling helps you encounter compassion
In your youth, you will make choices that will define you. The disciplines you begin now will be with you for the rest of your life.
Traveling will change you like little else can. It will put you in places that will force you to care for issues that are bigger than you.
If you go to southeast Asia, you may encounter the slave trade. If eastern Europe, you may see the effects of genocide and religious persecution. If Haiti, you’ll witness the the ugly side Western paternalism.
Your heart will break.
You will begin to understand that the world is both a big and small place. You will have a new-found respect for the pain and suffering that over half of the world takes for granted on a daily basis.
And you will feel more connected to your fellow human beings in a deep and lasting way. You will learn to care.
3. Traveling allows you to get some culture
While you’re still young, you should get cultured. Get to know the world and the magnificent people that fill it. There’s nothing quite like walking alongside the Colosseum or seeing Michelangelo’s David in person.
I can describe the city of San Juan and its amazing beaches and historic sites to you, but you really have to see it for yourself to experience it. You can read all the books in the world about the Great Wall of China or The Louvre, but being there is a different story.
The world is a stunning place, full of outstanding works of art. See it. Do this while you’re still young. Do not squander the time. You will never have it again.
You have a crucial opportunity to invest in the next season of your life now. Whatever you sow, you will eventually reap. Please. For your sake, do this. Because you won’t always be young. And life won’t always be just about you.
So travel. Experience the world for all it’s worth. Become a person of culture, adventure, and compassion.
“What if I’m not young?”
Travel, anyway. It may not be easy to do, but find a way to get out of your comfort zone. It’s really never too late.
But if you haven’t gotten sucked into the routine of life yet, I implore you — travel. It will never be easier than it is right now for you to do that which really matters.
So what are you waiting for?
Explore and travel the world!
Live like there is no tomorrow.
As Saint Augustine once said..
”The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”
A few years back, a saw a documentary about North Korea. Since then, I’ve been dreaming of visiting that place. 🙂
안녕하새요 여러분 / Annyeonghaseyo yeoreobun / Hello everyone!
What is a dream chest?
A dream chest is a container which I plan to put my dream or simple wishes on a paper, roll them and place them in here. I plan to open it afterwards to check what wishes and dreams I had that came true or I have done. 🙂
Dream and simple wishes?
Yes! No matter how big or small it is. From having a ribbon collection to probably having your own home or plane!
A form of inspiration I guess? And a reminder of the kind of things I wanted and wished for. I also personally believe in the Law of Attraction.
How to have one?
Well, just get a container and pieces of paper and a pencil and voila! 🙂 As for me, I got my mini chest from a hardware store. Pretty weird right? Haha. But there are a lot of containers in dollar stores and quaint shops. It need not be expensive!
When do you plan to open them?
As of now, I can’t really tell yet. Back in 2011, I remember I wanted to open it 10 years after. As of now though, some I’ve written are still not possible so I’m planning to extend it to 15 or probably 20 years?? 🙂
Bucket List = Dream Chest?
Yes, somewhat. 🙂 Though I plan to have an online bucket list, I still want to update my dream chest because we have dreams that are too personal and I’m shy to post ’em and.. just because! It is cute too!! :>
I must admit that I haven’t really updated my dream chest because of school and other things –and I somehow just forgot to– but I promised myself to update it as much as I can together with my virtual bucket list!
Though I cannot remember everything I’ve written on the papers in my dream chest, as much as I can, I will include them together with my new dream places, things to have and things to do which will be a bit more detailed in here.
I don’t think putting it here as post is the best option cause I’ll be constantly updating it.
How about on the side? or bottom? or beside my about section? Hmm. I shall think about it.
My Dream Chest so far. No limitations. ♥