There are things known and there are things unknown and in between are the doors of perception. – Aldous Huxley
Is the unknown an obstacle or an opportunity?
For me, it’s the latter, which I have to blame on my adventure-seeking, adrenaline-chasing spirit. I’m always seeking those travel experiences that are truly memorable because I took a chance (in a safe way, of course). As nerve-wracking as it may feel to even think about traveling someplace you’re unfamiliar with, especially by yourself, I’m here to encourage you to go for it. Here’s why:
The more I travel, the more comfortable I am with the idea of being in a place where I might not know anyone, where nothing is familiar, and where I may not (fully) speak the language. I’ve learned to tell myself, “It’s okay, get ready for an adventure!”
Thankfully experience has been my friend. Here are a few things to think about if you need a little push.
- Check your expectations at the airport. Nothing sets you up more for a hard fall than preconceived notions. Just as every person is different, so is every travel experience. Friends, family, even strangers have plenty to say when they find out you’re going to a place they’ve been. While you should take heed, also take it with a grain of salt. Read up on your destination, get excited, and be prepared to form your own opinions.
- The glass is half full, not half empty. It sounds corny, but I really believe it’s true. When I try to see things in a positive light, instead of dwelling on the negative, I enjoy my experience much more. The simple truth is that things almost never go according to plan (Hello, Murphy’s Law). Once I accepted this, it became a lot easier to not sweat the small stuff.
- Community is key. I’ve been fortunate to see some beautiful places, but without a doubt, the people I’ve met have been the best part of my travels. You don’t have to be best friends, but make the effort, take the opportunity, to get to know people. It’s easier than you may think (staying in a hostel, joining a team, using social media, etc.) and I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it.
- Off the beaten path. I prefer to travel, rather than vacation. And part of being a traveler is taking an active role in learning about the place you’re visiting. By all means, visit the tourist traps (I love them too!). But also take time to learn about the culture, learn a little history, speak to locals, and take the roads less traveled to small towns that are visited less but still just as charming.
Wherever you go, being in a new place comes with its own set of challenges. Still I think those challenges can often make the best memories, don’t you think?
Thanks for reading! 🙂
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