Everyone has their own reasons why they choose to travel and not settle in or move away from their home country. For mine it was me not fitting in with my culture and my people so the thought of being somewhere else had always come to mind.
My journey began at the end of middle school when I decided to leave my beloved country, Thailand, and move to Canada in hope to find the place where I belong and also to get better education. Even though it was hard saying goodbye to my parents who I love so dearly, moving away was the best decision I’ve ever made in my entire life. I’ve literally become a different person (in a positive way) and I’ve learned so much about myself, life and the world that I would have never learned or known if I didn’t start this journey.
Here are the main ones that have happened to me throughout my travels from the very beginning until today. So… what will happen to you as you travel?
1. You will really find yourself
There’s the saying that goes “you will find yourself through travel” which I could not agree with more because this has actually happened to me. I’ve constantly discovered more things about myself (I don’t think you can really say you’ve completely found yourself as you’re constantly being exposed to new environment which can be quite influential towards your personality and who you will become). For example, I discovered that I prefer western culture than east asian that I was born with. I discovered that I can never stay in one country so to keep myself content I have to keep traveling and meeting new people. I also discovered that I am actually a very friendly, open-minded and independent person who loves her freedom and always wants to be out of her comfort zone but had let her negative thoughts and overthinking mind take control over her decision making process for more than half of her life.
It’s very difficult to explain how this all works and how it happens or when it will happen but all I can say is that it will come to you naturally and only you know when it happens because you will feel nothing but free and happy. Or pretty much don’t anticipate, just keep doing your thing and it will come to you.
2. You will learn to trust the news less
Things broadcast on the news are mostly negative, especially the headlines, because “negative headlines get more attention — much more — than positive headlines”: they work 30% better at getting attention and receive 63% higher click-through rates (Adweek.com 2014). For some strange reasons, people really like to consume negative or gossipy content.
News always tell their audience about negative things that happen in a country, for instance, Afghanistan or Israel is a dangerous country that is full of terrorists, et cetera… those are just 3-4% of the story… and the rest of 96-97% is left unheard. Strangely, that minor part of the story really makes people believe that the whole country is dangerous or bad and the rest of the world is safe and therefore that is the country we should avoid. Well, fun fact of the day… it’s dangerous everywhere and terrorists exist everywhere even in your hometown. You really can’t judge the whole country by couple negative news until you have actually travelled or lived there then you can make a judgement about it.
It goes the same way with rumours. Before I came to the UK lots of people told me to be careful because british people are racist towards asians. That made me a bit anxious before stepping into the UK’s land… it has now been 2 years and a half since and I’ve receive nothing but positivity even from the locals.
I remember this moment so well, when I dropped my sleeping bag down the hill near the coastal path in Cornwall… I was just plain angry with myself that I could do something so stupid so I just lied there on the ground contemplating whether to climb down the steep hill or head back to town which is 2-3 hours away to get a new sleeping bag and continue with the plan… you want to know what happened in that moment? There were these two Cornish ladies offering to help me and give me a ride to the next town I was heading to and even gave me their numbers so I can call them in case I was ever in trouble. I was literally overwhelmed by how kind they were to me even though it was just a ride from one town to the next town (which would have taken me 1-2 hours to get there by foot and bus, instead it took me 20 minutes) because they didn’t have to help me but they did and that just made my day hundred times better!
That was only one out of hundred other stories throughout my journey everywhere in the UK; from the minute I arrived until today I was never once being treated differently because of my race, not even at work or university. This is another proof that you shouldn’t wholeheartedly trust negative news and rumours about anywhere, what you can do instead is being extra careful but still leave your perspective quite open.
3. You will learn to appreciate your life and the world
People sometimes say the world is such a cruel or bad place to live in and their life is worthless but I think the reason why they think that way is because they’re stuck in certain situations or places that prevent them from seeing the world from other angles. I used to have the same thought because of the feeling of not fitting in, bullying, and a culture that didn’t suit who I am. That all changed when I decided to find something or to be somewhere that I will receive more positivity and an opportunity to be in a happier position. Once I did so, I discovered that the world is actually a beautiful place and people are actually really nice to one another. Once you’ve started putting yourself in a positive space, that is when you will learn to appreciate life and the world you live in. It’s all about putting yourself in a better situation and place.
In summary, put yourself first and do something to make yourself happy because we only live once.
4. You will learn to be more flexible and optimistic
One thing about travelling and life in general that I’ve realized is that things won’t always go accordingly to plan, and that’s okay. You just have to chill, go with the flow and be flexible with it instead of losing sleep and patience over one thing that didn’t go right because that won’t solve anything.
It happened so many times on my travels, for example when I planned to see the southern part of Seattle but somehow took the wrong bus and ended up in the west instead. Although it wasn’t where I intended to go but I got to see a new place that I would never have seen if I didn’t get lost, instead of getting upset about it I just fit the southern part of Seattle in to my itinerary on other days and enjoy my time in the west.
5. Being out of comfort zone will become a normal thing for you
Think about it… it’s quite scary to be in a foreign country that you have never been to (especially where you know absolutely no one) or not familiar with, and be trying out things that are way out of your comfort zone. The thing is once you decide to step out of the zone, there’s no turning back and it takes a lot of courage to do so. However, most of the time it ends up being the best decision of our lives… just like when I decided to move away by myself to an unfamiliar country where I have no family members living there nor did I know anyone before moving there at the age of 15. At the end, it was literally the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.