Starting to travel long distance is incredibly rewarding. It’s so exciting and filled with unpredictable events. I only recently (read: just a few years ago) started to travel really far away from my home, but I do wonder how could I ever made it until now without this.
For instance, 3 years ago, I flew around the world by plane in two weeks. That alone gave me an incredible feeling of spatiality. The mere fact that I circled around the world made it considerably more manageable.
I also spent time in very different cultures, like Japan or Thailand. The cultural shock made me realize there’s so much to be discovered in this world, there’s so much to be seen and experienced.
At a very symbolic level, your life is only a journey. Make it beautiful.
7 Things I Learned After I Started To Travel Long Distance
As I said, I circled the world by plane (twice, actually) and went to some crazy places. Here are 7 things I learned by doing this.
1. The World Is Beautiful
Garbage is the same in every culture, but beauty is different for each and every one. It took a while to turn my head around this. But in the end I understood that creativity and diversity are two fundamental traits of the human race.
2. Friendship Is A State Of Mind
You don’t have to share a lot of time or space with someone to become friends. It’s more about trust and transparency. I made a lot of friends at thousands of kilometers away from home. Years after we met, we’re still in contact, although we’re not seeing each other in person.
3. Plan For The Worse But Expect The Best
When you’re traveling to 20.000 km away from home for the first time, you plan a lot. You do a lot of research and get a lot of stuff with you and you’re kinda scared. And that’s a good thing: it keeps you alert and make you aware. But once your plane took off, forget this. Just enjoy the ride.
4. It’s All About Perspective
If you’re going each and every day to the same routine (doesn’t matter if it’s a pleasurable or a boring routine) you tend to lower your appreciation for what you already have. But once you engage in a long trip, for a few weeks, completely changing the scenery, once you get back home, everything looks better, shinier, nicer.
5. Food Is Good
When you travel far away from home, you also travel far away from your culinary habits. Your food will change – most of the time – drastically. But that’s very good news. Your body will be exposed to a wealth of tastes, nutrients and textures. And that will eventually lead you to the conclusion that, no matter where you are, food is always good.
6. Risk A Little, Live A Lot
I usually travel alone. That has at least one major advantage (and, I admit, a few drawbacks, but we’re not focusing on those now). It’s about flexibility. I can change plans really fast. And I often do it. Many of the most memorable moments from my trips where generated by short moments of: “oh, hell, let’s try this too”.
7. Being Rich Is To Reach To The Unknown
I traveled both in style and by backpacking. There’s no difference, for me. I appreciate a luxurious hotel room, but I can also share a humble space with a few unknown travel pals in a hostel. Being exposed to long distance travel taught me that being rich is not about your bank account but about the number of experiences you can have. It’s nothing wrong with having a healthy bank account, don’t get me wrong, but only if you can make that bank account work for you in a smart way. Like traveling around the world, for instance.
Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner
The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”
And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.
Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.
If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.