What is there about traveling that is so extraordinary? I love packing the basics and getting in a plane, and setting foot in another country. The air smells and feels different, the language is different, the people are different. And those differences make the most mundane thing, like buying your groceries, exciting.
Just to be in a place like this, nothing else around, has to invigorate you:
Although I was thinking that traveling should not be limited to flying. If you had time, to go by car or motorbike through a country or continent is the way to really do it. You are so much closer to the country, you can’t but help soak in more. It takes time to be able to note the smaller details of a place and people. And it is when you soak up those smaller details, that you start to really understand the character of a people.
I advise spending as long a time as possible in a place. The first few weeks you are still winding down, adjusting, learning a language, forgetting about work. It is when you have the luxury of spending hours sitting on a beach with some cold beer, watching people go about, that you really experience the place. When you fight with shopkeepers and stay out till dawn and have romantic encounters, when you get lost and then find something unexpected. When you get a feel for the lives of the people who live there, then you have truly been to a place. When you have seen the sights – well, you were another tourist.
But one thing I also have noted with traveling – you can’t change your mood by changing your position. The way you feel comes from inside. You can go to paradise in a foul mood and stay in a foul mood. And you can be in a quiet, appreciative mood, and appreciate the joy of being able to sit in a crappy little café with plastic tables, and drink coffee while you listen to people around you speak in a foreign language about lives that are very different to yours in detail, but are the same life underneath.
I think the main attraction for me about traveling, is this: We are to some extent, a product of our experiences. When our experiences are wide-ranging, it gives us a more balanced view on the world. The first time you travel to another country, you see with surprise that the way the people live there, is completely different to at home. Yet it is still valid. Life is not what is seen through that one, fixed, perspective. It is a huge, dynamic, incomprehensible current that can be handled in an infinite number of ways, all with different merits and problems