You know that saying “travel far enough you meet yourself”?
Well after 22 years of trying to figure myself out, it suddenly occurred to me that I’ve finally discovered who I really want to be.
After delving into the internet in search of unique and inspiring travel quotes, I really began to wonder about the meaning behind the very famous term of ‘meeting yourself’ on the road. I began to dwell on how I think this happened to me; what I did to find my true self, and whether this is something that actually occurred or if it’s rather just my state of mind.
Can you really find yourself whilst travelling? Or is this quote nothing more than just a source of inspiration?
I caught myself in my frequently confused headspace and suddenly realised that no, this really isn’t just a term of encouragement, and yes, you actually can find yourself whilst on the road – And here’s how:
Travelling throws you in the deep end. Being on the road makes you leave behind the one and only thing you’re truly certain about. You walk away from the comfort of your home, your family, your friends and your routine, and you’re forced to make decisions that you never would otherwise.
You have the complete power to fully think, what am I going to do today? No really, what am I actually going to do today?
Your other commitments are thrown out the window and the entire world suddenly becomes accessible at your leisure. You’re no longer consumed by your thoughts or your normal routine and your mind is open to truly discover who you want to be, rather than who society wants you to be.
When you remove yourself from the struggles of juggling everyday life, work, family and daily necessities, you’re left with nothing but freedom. Freedom to explore your own thoughts without the constant stresses of living a balanced life.
There aren’t any bills staring at you every morning as you make your morning coffee. There aren’t any colleagues telling you what to do as you walk into the office. There aren’t the everyday chores like mowing the lawn or cleaning the house. There aren’t any lists for you to complete in order to survive your inevitably stressful life. Basically, there just aren’t any distractions.
Without the stress of these constant interferences, your thoughts become clear – solely because travel is the only time in any life that you escape the voices telling you how to live your day, and how to live your life. You have the total freedom to explore the world exactly how you please and to become stuck in your headspace with the ultimate flexibility. You become completely consumed by your authentic thoughts that you finally come to learn about the important things in life.
You learn to prioritise the things that mean a lot to you, likewise to the those that you need not take for granted. You’ll learn to accept the small things, and forget about the those that no longer matter. Your materialistic needs and toxic spare time are set to the back of your mind, and the holiday, vacation or adventure you embark on becomes a portion of your life where you’re totally and utterly free.
That petty argument you had with your friend which caused a lot of distance, merely becomes something that you learn to overcome. The privileged problems that you constantly complain about, become things that you learn to foresee. And that silly job that makes you miserable becomes something that you no longer stand for.
You begin to realise how important it is to love yourself, even through the days when you feel down or when work entirely consumes you. You realise, that even though you may not be the most confident, there are millions of others who don’t have the ability to even criticise their appearance.
You realise that the ability to travel is a privilege and that you must never see your life as anything other than a blessing. You realise that without love, this world would be so dark.
Essentially, being away from what brings you security teaches you how to cherish every day as if it’s your last. You discover which things mean the most to you, simply as there isn’t anyone to tell you otherwise.
You become open minded by the scale of the world, the diversity that lies within it and that the little bubble you live in isn’t really all there is. The things that occur on the road will often leave you confused; they’ll hurt you, they’ll scare you, and they’ll certainly make you smile. But they’ll make you eternally grateful for the life you live back home, and for the little things that you often pushed aside.
After all, you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone – and that’s the exact reason that you’ll find yourself whilst travelling. You are essentially in the big wide world with nothing but the necessities; you bring the things that you really need, and everything else is gone.
You realize that experiences are so much more valuable than possessions. As Rachel from the Blond Wayfarer said in her story about finding herself again in Utklippan, “You don’t need fancy material possessions and creature comforts to make you happy”.
You’re pushed into the world with a clear head, minimal possessions and a longing to experience new things.
Is there a recipe for being at peace with who you are? Of course not, and there’s also no certainty that you’re going to just get on a plane and suddenly have an epiphany… But one day you’ll be in the middle of somewhere that you’ve always desired, sitting on the edge of a beautiful location and you’ll think “life is so much bigger than this“. Your mind will click and you’ll suddenly realise that if you’re not doing what you love, what is the point?
It might take you years to discover it… Hell, you might not even discover it all. But the most important thing is that you stop trying to find the forest and start enjoying the trees.
Living a meaningful life has no bible, but stepping away all that you know is the very first step. If you’re stuck in a rut not knowing what path’s for you, go and climb a mountain. If you’re in a toxic relationship that’s confined your every breath, go to a remote destination. If you’re confused about your entire life and who you want to be, go and experience something new.
If I can find myself, I’m sure that you can too – no matter where in the world that might be.
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