In the past 4 years, I have taken a total of 61 flights and visited over 50 places in 23 countries. For the most part of it, I was traveling on my own, even though there were a couple of holiday trips with friends and a handful of family vacations somewhere in the mix. I’m not a backpacker, nor have I had the privilege of spending a semester abroad on exchange where I would have been able to see the world while on exchange. On my longest trip away from home, I spent time in Manchester, Liverpool, York, London, Amsterdam, Venice, Berlin and Paris. My shortest stop was a 45 minute stop in Vaduz, Liechtenstein where I got off the bus, made my way through the main street and up a hill to see the castle at the top, before heading back down to catch my return bus to Zurich where I had to pick up my luggage from the train station and then head to the airport.
No matter the duration, each trip was addicting beyond the places, the food, the people and the experience. It was the state of mind and the state of being that I was so addicted to every time I had the opportunity to go see the world and to travel on my own. What makes traveling so enjoyable is the mental state you choose to bring with you while on your travels. It is the exact same kind of mindset that we should be bringing with us through life.
1. The eagerness to get out of bed and start your day
It’s an incredibly motivating and uplifting force when you know you have so much to look forward to in the day and just can’t wait to get started. You might not have had a lot of rest from the previous night, but you still feel charged up and ready to go when your alarm goes off because you know you have a full day of sight-seeing, food-hunting and cultural immersion to look forward to.
2. The decision to be pleasant to people around you
Because you are on holiday, you might sometimes carry with you a silly grin of happiness with you wherever you go. Sometimes you feel like you have to be on your ‘best behavior’ to people around you because you are like an ambassador of some sort because you are a tourist. Of course, it goes without saying that if you are pleasant, it makes it so much easier for you to get help when you need it.
3. Embracing all experiences as great experiences
It’s an art of being and the art of embracing what comes your way that some people struggle with even on holiday. Some people might feel sour about having to line up for a long time to get into a museum or get upset with how their plans are spoiled by bad weather. If you can stop getting hung up over what it should be as opposed to what the reality is, you might just learn how to be in the moment and embrace it for what it is. Walking in the rain in Paris? Sounds like an experience! Watching an Opera standing up in Vienna? It’s one of those things you have to do once if you are on a budget. Even if you if you have to forego sleeping in a cozy hotel for a night to afford seeing a beautiful city, it makes for an interesting story once you get through it.
4. Taking responsibility for yourself
If it’s entirely up to you to find your way from the city centre of Munich to the bus terminal where you are going to catch a night bus into Bratislava and then find your way to a hostel, you will make sure that you know how to get there and have the necessary information and maps with you when you have to make the trip even if you don’t speak the local language and have never been there before.
There is an analogy somewhere in there about how this should be exactly how we ought to be approaching our life – to decide where we want to go, and make it our responsibility to get ourselves there. We will have to make all the necessary preparations, perhaps ask for directions along the way and try to figure out road signs, but in the end, we will get there.
5. A willingness to be awed and to be filled with a sense of wonderment
It’s far too easy for us to become jaded and to be less than impressed by all that we see around us and to act in a way where we think that we have ‘seen it all’.
Nothing can impress you if you decide not to be impressed. Even the most beautiful of sunsets and the most magnificent of monuments cannot make you feel anything if you choose to be dead inside and numb to it on the outside. When I travel, I allow myself to indulge in some of these addicting mindsets, in hopes that I will one day attain the mastery to apply them as part of my daily life. After all, whether you board a train, a plane, or climb into a car, you’re not only traveling, but exploring the world, too.