Travelling can be complicated: it requires funds, time, organisational skills, availability, companionship (for some), sense of responsibility… Or does it? See, some of these things, like time, are definitely a necessity, others — come naturally within the process. The biggest issues a lot of people seem to have with travelling, however, always end up being: 1) money, and 2) getting to it.
The getting to it part is the most difficult: it’s tough to find the time to — especially with studying and/or working — and to just go ahead and do it, without feeling like you’re leaving some responsibility behind. However, travelling is so important to human beings, when possible — for a lot of things within our psyche.
Nothing will teach you more about the world and how to make your way through life than travelling. It shows the difference in mentalities, it teaches you things you could never learn in your home country, it gives you opportunity to explore places you might never be able to visit again, it gives you a lot of stories to tell — varying anywhere from the most delicious empanada you’ve ever had to the craziest sleepless nights you’ve ever lived through.
The further you travel the more new things you can learn, of course — because cultures across the globe are endlessly varied — but you don’t, actually, have to go too far. The city you live in and the countryside surrounding it are already two completely different areas, requiring completely different survival skills.
Travelling — especially alone, actually, however grim it might sound at first — opens your mind up to your own self like nothing else will. Whether it’s a short trip to the neighbouring city, or a several-months long exploration of a distant continent, during the time that you spend with just yourself you will not be able to avoid thinking, and learning more about who you are. It can be a lot of things: from some personal issues that you’ve been putting dealing with off, to what kind of ice cream you actually like best; few timepasses can offer you just as much material to work with in terms of your own identity.
At the same time, though, travel should not be seen just like a long journey of exploration and discovery. Sometimes, travelling is important just as a week-long getaway from your routine. Whatever routine it is — whether you work in an office, perform in a theatre or spend too much time with the same person — getting away from it will not only give your mind its long-deserved and awaited rest, it will also reignite your passion for something that may seem dull and repetitive, no matter how much you love it.
Connections are important, and travelling brings so, so many of those. Be it a brief encounter with someone incredibly deep and thoughtful at the airport as you wait to board the plane, or a new friendship with the person that hosted you at your destination, connections are often very healing, comforting and, even, educational. Travelling allows you to make many connections you normally would have no opportunity to. And that opens your mind, offers a sense of coziness and belonging and might, actually, one day come in handy. You never know — but it’s never a bad thing to look for pros in everything unless you’re too obsessive.
Travelling offers you a new perspective on many aspects of life. From re-discovering or enhancing your own sense of identity, it will also open your eyes up to a lot of things in this world: from the inequalities and blessings to the different occupations you could instead be dedicating your life to. Travelling can be a wake-up call, or, in turn, it can be a reassurance in what you’ve already known all along.
I couldn’t skip this one out. Let’s be real, “jobs” is not something you think of, necessarily, when you’re thinking of your mind and comfort. At the same time, though, it’s definitely something deeply tied to those concepts. As sad as it is, our world and our survival depend mostly on work and results. Travelling will 1) show you new things you could be doing, 2) teach you new skills, 3) help you hone the skills you’ve already had (like languages, organisational skills, yada yada yada) and 4) look wonderful on your resume. Employers love people with experience and knowledge that others might not have, so it’s nice to combine the nice with the useful, as we say in Russia.
Travelling is not just good for your mental health, it’s incredibly good for your physical well-being, too. From all the additional moving you will do, with sightseeing and whatnot, it might also help through offering you different remedies that are not immediately available where you live, as well as offering a different air to breathe (which is especially important to asthmatics and such).
All of this sounds wonderful, of course, but obviously, travelling can’t be completely easy — but I want to offer all the knowledge on it that I have, so:
1) First and foremost, plan in advance.
Unexpected things happen, of course, and you shouldn’t be too scared of them; however, it’s always good to have an outline. From the obvious things like the weather in your destination to the funds you might immediately need, as well as getting a visa in case you’re travelling somewhere distant — if you’re not thinking of those things in advance it might mess your plans up big time.
2) Stock up on things.
Not all things, of course, but always take your meds and other necessities with you. You won’t believe how different the meds I can just freely buy back in Russia and here in the UK are, and you never know what kind of a situation you may end up in. Obviously, things like ibuprofen and pads should be fine, but things like insulin or allergy meds might not be — and you don’t want your travels to be screwed over by something like that.
3) Try to save up.
It’s not necessary to fly first-class and go to a five-star hotel to experience the beauty of any given location. Thankfully, in the 21st century, especially so with the existence of the Internet, travelling for less has become way easier. Airbnbs and other host flats (or, even, stay at friends’ places if you have them where you’re going), low-cost airlines or, even, hitchhiking are all very valid options — that are actually growing way more popular within the younger generations than other travelling methods.
4) Don’t be scared to ask for help.
People are often very kind to tourists, and asking for help might be way easier than Googling; in reality, it may, sometimes, be the only available option, because of service and money. Don’t be ashamed of your language knowledge or of how lost you are — most people I’ve met like this (and I’ve travelled a fair share) have been extremely eager to help. Except, maybe, some big-city folk, but that’s the norm everywhere. (Sadly.)