The Oxford dictionary defines travel as “making a journey, typically of some length”, but is it as simple as that? Then how is it possible that just by thinking about it, it puts a smile on my face? 😀
How I discovered traveling
My first travel overseas was when I was about 20 years old, I decided to take one month of vacation with my friend Ana to backpack through South America. We are both from Colombia and planned our route to start in Santiago-Chile, then head to Patagonia, Iguazu Falls and finish up in Buenos Aires-Argentina (Don’t worry, I’ll be back with more details in the coming articles).
The big deal for us about this trip was that we were not using a travel agency, or going to stay in resorts, take tours, or any of the “usual” way of traveling -at least for someone from our country in that time-. Even before our trip began I had already discovered a true passion; just by browsing the web, reading travel blogs, travelers’ reviews and picking up the best things to do on each location, I was already having a blast.
We visited some beautiful places, hiked mountains at the bottom of the continent, tried delicious food and met some amazing people. Our hotels were actually hostels, we shared rooms with a bunch of other people, we took buses to move around like locals do, grabbed a map and explored the places on our own. It was a true immersion into a traveler’s world, my sense of curiosity was awakened like never before.
Our trip was about to finish, we had already bought our airplane tickets to fly back to Colombia, however, I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stay and join any of the other travelers and go to all those incredible places they talked about. A group of Australians we had met during the trip were heading to Uruguay, Ana had to return already, so I decided to get a new ticket and go by myself. It was my first solo traveling experience, and I loved it!
What you must know about traveling
Traveling does not requiere an specific motive or timeframe. It doesn’t matter if you are traveling for pleasure, work, or moved to a new place; if you are going with friends, family or solo; if you’re going overseas or to the next town; and certainly not if you’re traveling for one day or forever.
It is the experience involved in the act of traveling what truly matters. Traveling has a different meaning to everyone, for some people it might be about discovering new places, tasting unknown foods, learning about other cultures, studying a different language, landscapes, beaches, mountains, facing your fears… or just getting away from the real world and do whatever you want.
My personal meaning of travel
To me, travel is about getting out of the box. What I called the “real world” has been defined in such a way that when we all grow up, we tend to want the same things because that’s what our parents thought us. We want to go to college, find a job, be successful, buy a house, a car, get married, and have kids. Before we know it we are submerged in that 8am-5pm life that was structured for us, full of material belongings and bank debts.
Traveling is about leaving all that behind, meeting the world face to face and just be yourself. Forgetting about all your worries, prejudices, fears, commitments, pending work, and just be free. Free to 1. Take in all the beauty of nature and its mesmerizing landscapes, 2. Make new friends, 3. Enjoy the simplest things in life, 4. Loose all the preconceptions you have, 5. Stop rushing, and most importantly… free to smile and be happy.
Places I have been
I haven’t been everywhere, but I certainly have a list. Traveling has always been at the forefront of my life, the longest period of time I’ve been overseas is when I quit my job about 5 years ago, and moved to London for 1,5 years to study Business. Now that I’m back at my 8am-5pm routine in my home country, I try to get the most out of every free time I have to enjoy the wonders of traveling. My biggest dream? Make traveling my daily routine.
As you can see you don’t need to be a full time traveler to actually get out there and travel. I haven’t quit my job and gone wild. Well, at least for now…