“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” ― Robert Louis Stevenson, Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes
Almost every person you know (perhaps including yourself) wants to travel the world. And it’s not just because you see your friends’ sunny photos by the beach on Instagram. Traveling has plenty of benefits: from seeing your dream city, experiencing different cultures, to leaving everything behind and starting over.
For a lot of people, their travels have changed their lives forever. They found new jobs, a new home, new friends, and a new reason to exist.
Whether you want to fly off to Paris or to simply visit another state, the idea of a getaway is enough to make you restless. But here’s the catch: you’re broke. If you’re like most millennials, you love life but hate the fact that it’s challenging to follow your dreams due to lack of funding.
So what do you do when you have bills to pay but you want to see how traveling can change your life? Do you quit your job and go? Or do you suffer in silence for a couple of years until you get a light bulb moment?
This may already be obvious to you: but you don’t need to travel the world to turn your life around.
It’s Not The Destination But The Journey
A coworker of mine is a cyclist. Every weekend, he goes on his bike and pedals on together with his other cyclist friends.
Not only is this great exercise, he claims it helped clear his mind of worries AND he was able to visit remote locations. His Facebook page is proof of that. He has pictures of long, narrow roads surrounded by greenery, steep mountains that look golden under the sunset, and grassy trails dotted with wildflowers.
Sure – it’s not international travel. But he still went on a journey.
For my friend, cycling was his way of exploring, while de-stressing after a long week of hard work. It’s economical, great for the body, and has helped him quit his addiction to video games. He says that since he started this new hobby, he has never gone back and feels a renewed sense of vigor now.
Never underestimate the power of small things. Like the tiny bits of coral washed ashore, they collect to form the beautiful sandy beach. It doesn’t matter where you go: be it to another island, a neighboring state, or back to your parents’ house. What matters is what you did – and felt – during your short expedition.
Travel with Yourself
If you want to spice up a relationship, going on a date (particularly somewhere romantic) is often recommended. That’s why honeymoon trips are usually held in Paris, Maldives, Prague, Sydney, or Venice. These destinations are beautiful, boast of countless activities, and have that air of romance.
So why not do the same if you want to spice up your life? That’s right: date yourself.
Psychiatrist Abigail Brenner, M.D. suggests being alone to help you make better decisions and choices. Being in solitude gives you the free space to be yourself. To become who you truly are without outside influences.
Back when I needed to think about whether or not to quit my job, I would retreat to the woods near my mother’s home. It was just a few minutes away, and I knew the path very well. I would go out in late afternoon, just when people would go inside their homes for dinner.
It was during these solitary walks when I would silently weigh the pros and cons of my choices. In my head, I would go over my plans. I imagine myself working, finding joy in the small things. But sometimes, I would picture my situation differently. I was a digital nomad working everywhere with my trusty laptop. These daydreams may seem silly, but they helped me choose a good path to follow.
Back then, my impulsive self would have just quit. But reality is a good wakeup call. Had I not taken the courage to be alone, I would have followed my impulses like before and perhaps regretted my decision. Thanks to these solitary walks, I have gained new insight to what I want to achieve in my life.
Happiness Is Nearer Than You Think
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” ― Marcel Proust
So what can you do when you’re itching to get away but have little time or patience to do get started?
Begin small. In fact, start so small that your first trip is just within your city (or state). You’d be surprised to find that the place you’ve become so familiar with still has one or two surprises just waiting to be discovered.
Take freelance writer, Ginny Graves, for example. In one post, she recalled being so caught up in her worries that she didn’t notice the cute, black, potbellied pig in her neighborhood until one rainy day, when she saw it frolicking in the rain. Often, little slivers of joy pass our eyes but we fail to notice them because we’re too focused elsewhere.
Wanting what we don’t have is normal. Being worried about little things is also typical human behavior. But it’s when we dwell on negative emotions that they start to wreak havoc with our potential.
Maybe the change you’re looking for is right in front of you. Perhaps the happiness you’re seeking is already beside you. Sure, it’s alright to daydream about sunny beaches or romantic castles. But you probably don’t need to leave everything behind to see a significant change in your life.
Maybe you just need a fresh perspective.
Traveling isn’t just about seeing the world. Real travel happens when you start seeing the world in a new light. Like getting glasses for the first time, you suddenly begin to notice every crevice, every nook, and every curve. It’s when you think to yourself with a smile: what’s here is good, after all.
Cristina Antonio is the EIC of scoopfed.com and a writer of all things related to world news, movies, real estate, health, or social media. She’s currently focused on helping healthcare workers find better career opportunities through Locum Tenens. Cris also enjoys painting, collecting toys, reading German novels, and lurking the Web.