Wednesday, August 08, 2012
My 10 Reasons to Travel While Young
As a disclaimer, I'd like to say that I'm still relatively young and I'm still changing and stumbling through my life abroad. I've just barely got my ATM card to work and actually withdraw cash in Japan so clearly I'm not above the learning curve. But these are just a few things that I've felt to be true in my quest for adventure, love and answers.
1. What you do and who you meet today will influence who you are tomorrow.
Almost everything that follows can probably be tied into this one, but it's major. Is it my spontaneity that caused me to travel or did travel spark my spontaneity? If had never quit my dead-end job, would I be living abroad now? Would I be making the same choices? Would I appreciate food in the same way? Would I have learned another language? I could have been so different!
2. People are more forgiving of mistakes made while you're young.
When you're young, making mistakes is all about "growing up," learning about yourself and the world. If you haven't "learned" about yourself by a certain age...people start to think you're a bum. Or weird. Or both.
3. People are more trusting to help a young person.
Old guy asking me for directions = creepy
Young guy asking me for my number = charming
But seriously, asking for help is easier when you're young because adults still see you as a child. And they probably wish they were still in your shoes. Natsukashii ne? (Very nostalgic)
4. You have less responsibilities. Cliche, but true.
And because of your youth, you have an excuse.
5. Your body can survive better.
Backpacking through Europe? Exciting!
Sleeping in the creaky roofs of a Cambodian hostel? Edgy!
Hiking up Mount Kinabalu for 2 days through the heat and cold? Hardcore!
Trying food in random street stalls in Thailand? Risk-taker!
All this 20 years later? Exhausting, uncomfortable, painful and food poisoning.
6. You find passions that you never knew about.
ie: photography, Vietnamese food, scuba diving, collecting ethnic jewelry, belly dancing, yoga. Maybe from people you've met along the way or maybe just by accident.
7. You'll have interesting stories to tell.
The most interesting are not always the most well-planned! Some of my best stories include being an underwater stunt double for an action film in the Philippines, backpacking by myself through rice terraces, and falling in love with and in Singapore.
8. You learn more about people...quickly. This includes previous friendships, future friendships and even dating.
I used to be very naive about...everything. From friends to dating to trusting others. Sure, that sort of optimism is endearing and ideal, but as cynical as it sounds, you learn how to quickly get a feel for someone across cultures. This can also be a positive thing as you'll learn social differences in culture very quickly - by accident or otherwise.
Living abroad is almost like express socializing/dating as nobody seems to really have any time to waste on someone they don't like or enjoy or even just click with. It's not a bad thing; you'll barely have time to keep up with the important people in your life so there's no use spending time on those are are less than that.
9. You learn more about yourself.
My travels have definitely given me insight on things about myself. Some things fabulous, some not to so fabulous and some even downright painful. ie: "I'm pretty good a photography composition!" "I'm missing out on all my friends' weddings." "I've grown apart and am not there for my friends like I should."
10. If anything, be inspired, fall in love, and change your life before it passes you by. Create forks in the road and choose the one less traveled!