Today I want to give you a few perspectives other than mine. I asked a few traveler friends to answer two questions for you: How has traveling changed your life? & What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from traveling? Every person’s experience is different and everyone transforms differently, let’s hear how travel affected their lives.
Sasha Pova (Canadian):
“Travelling changed my life by really showing me that I can always be free to do what I want, and to love my life. I used to often (and still occasionally do) feel trapped in my current living situation, lifestyle, habits. I quickly learned while travelling, how easy it was to just step out your door, hitchhike a ride to a new town, make new friends and explore. The first time it was fairly nerve-racking, but every time it gets a little easier.
These days when I feel upset I just get up and go, my bag is always halfway packed. I used to think there was a lot more societal rules and expectations that I’d eventually (and reluctantly) have to fit into. Now that’s all changed. Last year I met a Dutch guy in Canada who gets paid 14 dollars an hour to hitchhike (it’s a long story). So you really can be whatever you want to be in this world!”
Aline Roey (Belgian):
“Before I took the life-changing decision of leaving Brussels for the great unknown, I used to live an ok life. It wasn’t good, though, but what I mean by an ok life is that I always had a roof above my head, food to fill my stomach, friends and family I could count on. I had the chance to have the opportunity to get a proper education, even if going to university wasn’t for me at that time.
But most of the time, I wasn’t happy, or I would be once my bottle of gin would be half gone and my nostrils filled with poison. This would make me forget how much I was wasting my life following a path that wasn’t mine. I would put so much pressure on myself, overthinking, because deep down I knew the life that I was building for myself wasn’t the one that I was created for, until the point I wasn’t building anything anymore because I was so lost and confused I didn’t want to keep pushing. Depression had me for years, but it really hit me hard 2 years ago.
One day of summer, I woke up and instantly felt like I wish I hadn’t. What a terrible feeling. Sitting in your bed, wishing you could just close your eyes and forget about living this life, just get away from it. I wished I wasn’t me. And then it hit me.
I was SO lucky being me. My whole life, I was never scared. I was always independent, had dreams of seeing the world since I was 5 and was watching the documentary about Tippi, the little girl who grew up in Namibia, on repeat, wishing I was her.
That morning of despair was tainted with hope ; I realized that I would be totally fine realizing my dreams, even if it was a challenge, since I was not afraid. So I booked a one way flight to Bangkok. I called university, told them that I would not come back next year. I went to my job office and quit on the same day. Then I called my mom and told her that I would leave within two weeks, and that I had no clue what would happen to me but that she would have to trust me. That it was a serious matter of life or death.
Then two weeks later, I was on the plane. The moment we took off, I took a deep breath, and instantly felt so good, I was exulting, because I knew I had made the best decision of my life. And I never regretted choosing adventure and danger over security and a regular path, because I was just not regular. And it’s ok. Any choices are okay as long as they fit you and fulfill your life with grace and joy. As long as you feel you’re treating yourself the best way possible.
I’ve grown so much. And I’ve allowed myself to be myself in every possible way. I’ve discovered capacities that I had that I would have never found out about if I had stayed stuck in my old life. I met the best people, did the craziest things, climbed mountains, fell in love, said goodbyes, overcame challenges, felt better than ever before. I am so glad and grateful I took this decision and decided to love myself for who I am. You grow so much. Go, book a plane ticket, and Go !
I would say that there are so many more things to discover than the ones you already know. I mean, sometimes we feel bored, right ? And we feel like we’re stuck in the same old routine, that all the days look the same, that you don’t know what to do except binge watch Netflix, sleep too much, or party too hard.
When you’re stuck in a negative mindset, you kind of isolate yourself from all the wonders the world has to offer. There is so much to do, so much to see, so much to learn, so many paths to take, so many opportunities to catch, so many incredible people to get to meet, so much joy and love to find.
I’m now in the Bahamas as a karma yogi, and I’ll be staying there for 3 months, for free. Then I’ll go to Cuba visit a friend, then to India visit another friend with another friend, then go back to Bali to settle for a while. For 2 years, I’ve been travelling around the world almost for free, visiting people and volunteering. Anything is possible, you just need to believe in yourself and believe all your dreams are about to come true. You just need to OPEN, your heart and soul, and let the Universe take care of you and guide you.
My first advice would be : See further. Imagine something insane, totally incredible, something so beautiful it brings tears to your eyes, something you would call THE dream. Well it exists, somewhere, somehow. You just need to go chase it because it’s already waiting for you. Namaste.
You can follow Aline on Instagram at @theotherflyingbackpacker or send her an e-mail with any questions to: email@example.com.
Juan Jerez (Argentina):
“Travel has changed my life because coming from a big family and being the youngest one, I was always in a comfort zone that’s never easy to leave. One day you become older and realize that you really want to learn new things. It’s not something you strictly know, but you feel inside, so you just put a foot out of the door and start discovering the new world you never knew of. Sounds a bit clichè but trust me, it’s the best image I can give from the feeling that traveling gives me. On the other hand, if I have to describe what traveling has taught me, well it’s hard, but the most important thing to me is that it taught me that you never can underestimate what other people think or feel, we are all the same in the end, cosmic energy trying to discover our place in this huge and beautiful universe.”
Mar Anahrali (USA):
“Somehow, everything will work out—you may be lost, or maybe things didn’t go as planned… Whatever the situation, a life of travel means eventually coming to the realization that, even though things are not perfect, it is up to you to come to terms with the imperfections of a situation and to celebrate these beautiful imperfections.
There have been moments where I have gotten lost, moved in the wrong direction for hours, literally and figuratively. When I first began traveling, these inevitable moments would cause major anxiety and panic: I would focus on the problem, feel overwhelmed and defeated by my mistakes. I allowed these moments to dominate the overall experience, magnifying my inability to get things right and therefore, viewed these moments as representative of my own inadequacies and failures in life… that was me at the beginning of my life abroad.
After four years of adventures, I now examine these moments with bright and curious eyes—what will happen next? I look towards the future, the possibilities, the next step. There’s potential in our mistakes, if we only look forward. It has taken many, many mistakes to get to this place within myself, a place where these moments I now see as chances to explore and to find a new path—instead of feeling stuck. I’ve learned how to ask for help and how to figure things out myself. Either way, I continue on the journey.
One of the first lessons learned abroad was how to deal with unexpected change in a healthy way; to abandon the imagined plan and accept new developments with grace. To adapt while moving forward, recognizing whatever led to the moment as opportunity with potential and not ruminating over the past. This continues to allow me to effectively manage and recognize the many uncontrollable factors and elements shaping my life.
Trusting in others has allowed me to connect authentically. Fleeting moments shared can sometimes hold more value and meaning than ever imagined. Your family begins to grow, and these connections change your priorities in life—home becomes a feeling, richness an experience, and love… something to be shared, with friends and with places, found in the highs and lows and everywhere in between. You find friends and magic in cups of coffee paired with good conversation, fumbling through foreign languages to share laughter: real moments, face to face, for as long as the connection lasts.
A life of travel has taught me to be open, with others and myself. Difficult feelings are a part of life; we can be lost in so many ways—emotionally, mentally… and, of course, quite literally. All these experiences can be navigated by recognizing the truth of the situation and finding a way to move forward without feeling ashamed. If you trust in yourself, you can trust others and become limitless as your connections cross over continents and couches, wherever you may rest and roam. Change is a constant force in life, and accepting it will allow for authenticity in your experiences, wherever they may lead you.”
You can reach Mar on her couch surfing profile:
I hope these responses gave you some insight on the travel life. Travel touches us all differently, but always in a beautiful way.
Comment below to share how travel has changed your life.