Recently I went on an impromptu trip to Korea.
It was a rather difficult time for me as I just got out of a long-term relationship. I needed something to clear my head and thus I bought the ticket on impulse to join my friend over there.
The seven days in Korea was both awesome and mind-opening.
This isn’t an article where I talk about travelling the world and how I “found myself.” It was only a single trip and the brunt of it consisted of eating, drinking, partying and meeting girls.
You’ll be surprised how powerful a single trip, even to a safe place can be.
1) You don’t have to dwell on yourself
I landed in Korea at nearly midnight local time. I was a little panicky as I thought I’d miss the last train. I had to make a mad rush, but I made it on time.
One afternoon, me and my friend wanted to walk the trail of a mountain. We somehow accidentally took the intermediate trail and found ourselves on all fours trying to climb up. It was a really crazy experience as one mistake could mean death. We made a turn around after a bit.
Here’s the thing: All these scary and uncomfortable moments were perfectly distracting me from all my problems. And personally, getting a little afraid and uncomfortable means you’re not feeling downright shitty, angry or depressed.
Do you see how getting distracted effectively makes you not dwell on yourself? Do you see how that, for a moment, your problems don’t exist?
Be it through distractions or conscious, positive thinking, the choice is ultimately yours. You really don’t have to dwell on yourself and your problems.
If you focus outwards, life instantly gets better.
2) There’re people out there who’re very grateful for you
One night, my friend and I joined his friends, two local guys for dinner. They took us around after that too.
One of them could not speak English well at all. At the end of the trip, he gave my friend a handwritten letter. With the help of Google Translator, he wrote out in English how he was sorry his English was bad and that he could not communicate well. He also mentioned he was very happy to see him.
Maybe we were just a couple of tourists and they wanted to show us a good time, but one thing for sure, we don’t get gestures like that at home at all.
Travel to new places. Meet new people. The sheer happiness, compassion and kindness from them will give you a new perspective of life.
All you have to do is to open up a little.
3) Absorbing new cultures makes you realize your home doesn’t make up your world
One thing I observed in Korea is that people generally don’t excuse themselves when walking past you. They simply push their way through. Nobody really cared or was affected.
If I did that at home, I’d get the ugliest stares and probably even a scolding.
This is where you make the difference for yourself. You can either get mad if somebody was rude to you (because of your “values” or whatever), or you can realize the exact same thing will not the least bit affect somebody else in another part of the world.
And the question is: If they can do it, why can’t you?
You’re both only human, right?
Absorbing different cultures opens up your mind on new levels altogether. You’ll realize you get to be as happy as others.
4) You’ll be thankful for what you have at home
Honestly, unless you really hate your life and where you’re from, you’ll be quick to miss your life back home.
This is where you miss your family, friends and the comfort (comfort is not always a bad thing, you know?)
You gain that epiphany when you’re faraway, alone and uncomfortable.
And sometimes that is what it truly takes to ensure you don’t ever take your life and those around you for granted. This is how you realize how happy you already are. You just need to get rid of all the bullshit in your life.
5) Sometimes, you’ve to drop everything and get away from it all just so you can move on
If I wanted to get over my breakup the conventional way, I guess I’d talk to my friends or read up articles and stuff.
If I also wanted to gain more inspiration from my writing, I’d probably read more how-to articles across the web.
But as with most things in life, it’s always never that straight forward or easy.
Sometimes, the traditional answers aren’t the answers at all.
Sometimes, you just need a damn break. You just have to drop everything and get away from it all.
And that is all I can say, for the experience, memories and every feeling you attain while being abroad, albeit only for a single trip all combine to encapsulate a new feeling and outlook for you.
That is the answer for more happiness.
You don’t have to be a digital nomad, mobile writer, hippy, archaeologist or whatever.
Just get out there for once already. Anywhere.
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I hope you enjoyed the article! Wanna find more ways to be happy?
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Alden Tan keeps it real at his blog and writes about motivation in unconventional ways. His two main passions are Bboying and writing. Check out his free report, 12 Things Happy People Don’t Give a F**k About!