“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R Tolkien
Truer words have never been spoken. Travelling shouldn’t be a chore. It shouldn’t be an escape. It shouldn’t be a rush to a destination. One must travel for travel’s sake. Because travelling changes who we are for the better. In more ways than one.
1. With every trip you take, you become just a little wiser.
You don’t get as angry as you used to. You are okay with trying new things. You accept people as they are. And you know that you do all this because with every trip you take, you come back a little wiser and a little calmer.
2. You start appreciating the little things in life.
A hot cup of tea at a road-side on a chilly winter morning gives you as much pleasure as a promotion at work.
3. You become more open minded.
Travelling gets you out of your comfort zone. You meet new people, see new things and come into contact with cultures completely different than your own. The world is no longer a strange and alien place. It becomes your oyster.
4. You realize that in life, not everything goes your way.
Sometimes it’s a flat tire. Sometimes it’s a delayed flight. And sometimes it’s a dishonest guide. When you travel, you have to take everything in your stride. And you come out a stronger person.
5. You become a lot more patient.
When a 24 hour train journey stretches for 52 hours, it’s not exactly a pleasant experience. But from that day forth, trivial things like queues at reservation counters and waiting for food at restaurants become irrelevant.
6. You become more adaptable.
Travelling teaches you to be flexible. When your bus breaks down in a village in India’s hinterland, you have no option but to ride on a bullock cart. You adapt and you carry on.
7. You start believing in yourself.
After doing something as awesome as back-packing through North-East India all by yourself, you find reserves of self-confidence that you never even imagined you had in the first place.
8. You contract a condition known as wanderlust.
Once you get bitten by the travelling bug, there is no looking back. Travelling becomes a necessity, not a distraction. Wanderlust becomes your reality.
9. You learn to be thankful for what you have.
When you see that people not only live, but thrive in places as remote as the far reaches of Ladakh, you tend to stop making excuses for your own life. You stop complaining about little things and make do with what you have.
10. You come closer to nature.
Once you’ve spent a night in Kasol, lying on your back and looking at a moon so big that you could reach out and touch it, city life will never be the same again. Mother Nature has your soul now.
11. Loneliness doesn’t bother you any more.
That’s because you’ve come to realize its true nature. It is when you’re alone that you can finally listen to your own voice. You become your own friend.
12. You learn to put things in perspective.
What will you remember when you’re about to die? That phone you bought off Flipkart? Or the majestic view of the Himalayas that made you realize how truly small you are in the grand scheme of things?
13. The people you meet on your travels change the way you think about the world.
We tend to hang around people we like. People who are like us and share similar interests and tastes. But when you travel, you take a gamble. You meet both wonderful and horrible people. And they will colour your view of the world for better or for worse.
14. You learn that it’s the journey that is important. The destination, not so much.
The destination is just the excuse. It’s the journey that delights you, changes you and makes you a better person. It’s the journey that teaches you all the lessons.