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~ 10 reasons why you should travel young ~

In another couple of years I will be thirty. When I look back just a little above my shoulder, I see an entire chapter, filled with pizazz, misery, happiness, rejection, acceptance and spice, enough to glam up many Bollywood movies. I had a typical early 20s, I came from a small town to a fancy college, hung around with cool kids of metros, had a budding romance and the self-inflicted heartbreak, partied all night and cooled off the party heels the next day, got drunk on wine and chocolate and puked the guts out the entire night, got a pair of thick specks thanks to all the thick books that also gave me neck aches, my first job, that first 50K salary check, and everything else that makes my 20s ride an exhilarating one.

But life has its amazing ways to surprise you. All things were going per the plan when in mid 20s, this typical good girl with freaking clear focus in life, got to a phase that was horribly wrong in so many ways and yet was so right in all its disguise.

During this phase, I got introduced to the drug called travel. How, when and why it happened, will keep it for another post. This one is just to let you all the young 20 something souls know, why travel feels so right among all the other things in my life. (Also check out: 5 Kinds People Who Must Travel)

  1. You get a definition in life: They say 30 are the new 20s, I say, its bullshit. 20s are the years that define the path of our entire life. I am not saying that we can’t change it later, but the ideologies and habits that we form in 20s, stick with us for the rest of our life. Travel in 20s is the only thing that opened my mind and eyes to the things I never expected to exist. I learn something new on every trip of mine. It’s probably the only habit I’d like to retain if everything else were to change.
  2. You learn to cherish small little things: You start noticing how refreshing that single gulp of water is after a tiring hike, you start to cherish the breath of fresh air and you notice the subtle sweetness of apples and oranges and even of milk. You start to find purple roof tops admirable and Gaudi’s work amusing, you smile at the little children playing across the street, you don’t shoo away that street dog wagging his tail at you, you don’t mind getting wet in the rains and you fall in love with the starry night (real and the Van Gogh’s version). That’s a whole lot of appreciation for a 20 something. That’s nirvana attained.
  3. You start to see the world differently: It’s a different thing to see the pyramids in pictures, it’s a different thing to hear about Grand Canyon change its shades, it’s no rush to see others bungee jump, it’s no fun to see people tap to flamenco on TV and absolutely no taste to see others eat tapas in a Southern Spanish bar or bathe in natural hot water springs in Budapest on some travel show.  You know the world and its huge array of colors when you head out to see it. Suddenly all the perceptions you had about it, change for good. You love it a bit more with every additional step you take and an extra mile you go. If you travel in early 20s, you get a sense of yourself in context of the world. You start looking at yourself differently.
  4. You learn to take risks: If you are a risk taker, you go full throttle and throw yourself in the pit of adventure and if you are a safe player you learn to loosen up. Travel teaches you to take big and small risks. You no longer are scared to leave that high paying job without any other job at hand, you carry your heart on the sleeve and recover from the harshest of breakups. Most important, you are not scared to give love (for self and others) another shot.
  5. Your problems get smaller: In 20s we are burdened with the choices of the choices. It’s like walking on a landmine all the time. However, on traveling you get to know about how people function and live. You learn about their beliefs.  Travel teaches you things which nothing else can. You start noticing and caring for issues that are bigger than yours. You develop respect and humility for the very form of life and for the pain and suffering. And slowly your real big problems start getting smaller and smaller in your head which is a hell of a big battle won right there.
  6. You accept that it’s ok to be imperfect: When we travel, we realize that the things are not perfect, no nation, no people, not even their set of faiths is perfect. In this imperfection realm of things, we discover the meaning of life. We realize that we are incomplete and develop the courage to embrace and be ‘ok’ with it. With this courage, things get less awkward around and about us. By traveling young, we get a strong sense of worthiness about ourselves and everything around.
  7. You learn compassion, forgiveness and to give: You learn to care, you wish you were able to help the ones in pain and misery and few of us actually do. I still don’t know the science behind it, but traveling makes you feel more connected to the fellow humans, you realize the reality of global warming and of animal testing, you learn the importance of freedom for the Egyptians and to everybody else. You forgive those who don’t talk to you anymore and those to whom you stopped talking. You give away old clothes, hugs, food, smiles and say Thank You often. You learn to live easy with a heart filled with compassion and empathy.
  8. You know that everything will be fine: If you’ve been a traveler once in your life, you know that everything will fall in place in its due course of time. You develop courage to deal with and adapt to unpredictable situations. You are not scared to trust or to believe that there is always a silver lining.
  9. You start to enjoy the high of life without waiting for the end: When you travel, reaching the destination is never as much fun as the anticipation of reaching there. Life is just like that. We waste too much energy trying to reach our goals and forget to sit back and enjoy the high of rush and anticipation. The thrill is in the ride, the experience and anticipation of it, arrival is never as much fun. After I started traveling I found so much meaning in the saying ‘Be happy for this moment, this moment is your life” and I now know why.
  10. You stop waiting for life to happen to you: I expected my life to fit in the predetermined frame. Surprisingly enough not even 1% of it turned out the way I had imagined. Travel happened to me or I made it happen, I don’t really know. All I know is that most people I see, who waited to travel the world never actually ended up doing it. They waited for the right time and it never did come. And not long after they gave up both the wait and the will.

Do the things that you love the most now, don’t keep them for later. You never know what you’ll be busy doing when later comes.

And for any reason if travel doesn’t teach you any of the things listed above, you will have a bagful of memories to narrate and live your entire live by. However, I promise, if you’ve traveled well once, you’ll not be able to hold back the next time.

“You are frightened of everything. You call it caution. You call it common sense. You call it practicality. You call it playing the odds, but that’s only because you’re afraid to call it by its real name, and its real name is fear.” – MICK FARREN, Darklost

“If we let things terrify us, life will not be worth living.” – SENECA, Epistles

So, stop making excuses, pack your bags and go see the world. Make travel a discipline, to live your entire life by.

-Rakshita

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