I have been back in the states and fully integrated into my normal routine for a month now. I have learned quite a lot about myself and about life in general through my travels and upon my return. Leaving the country which I have called home my entire life has opened my eyes to unexpected lessons, both internal and external realizations, and most importantly, what I truly value in life. Everyone who I spoke to prior to my trip told me that it would be life changing and profound in ways I could not imagine. These statements have proven to be beyond true and I will attempt to put them into words for you. Some of the things I learned or were amplified along the way include, but are not limited to:
1. THE WORLD IS NOT A SCARY PLACE:
A lot of my upbringing was filled with artificial fear which stemmed from information that the media fed me. Things like TV, radio, and magazines have a huge impact on our view of the world. Contrary to popular belief, the world is not a scary place. Nearly every interaction I had abroad was genuine and pleasant.
2. THE IMPORTANCE OF HUMAN CONNECTION:
One of the coolest parts about being out of the country is the lack of cell service. I felt no need to be constantly checking my phone, nor was I able to most of the time. Being unplugged encouraged more intimate and heartfelt interactions with those around me which caused me to appreciate the importance of human connection on a much deeper level!
3. BEING PRESENT IS KEY:
Another byproduct of stowing the phone away came the understanding that being in the present moment is key. The present moment is my true reality. Being far away from my comfort zone and unable to utilize my phone as a distraction almost forced me to appreciate my surroundings more keenly.
4. MATERIALISM IS A TRAP:
Another profound insight that came upon me was the realization that number of material objects one acquires throughout life does not equate to more happiness. This is also a big misconception that plagues the western world. Happiness comes from within, from the heart, and is contingent on how we interact with and perceive the world around us.
5. WE ALL WANT THE SAME THING:
At the end of the day, everyone wants to experience true happiness, everyone wants to feel accepted by others, and everyone simply wants to be loved and treated with respect and kindness. Its as simple as that. It’s also easy to lose sight of that fact. I challenge you to practice operating from that space and see if it changes the way you view the world.
Many of you, hopefully, have read the post which precedes this one about my plan prior to taking off on my adventure. If not, you can find it here. That post outlined a list of tools designed to help maintain a healthy lifestyle while traveling abroad. It was an attempt to set some guidelines while traveling to ensure a productive trip. The first thing that I learned upon my arrival to Thailand was that you need to be willing to completely scrap whatever plans you made in the first place… There are so many things to see, places to go, and people to meet which makes it very difficult to stick to a rigid structure for any extended amount of time. This added an element of spontaneity and excitement to my travels, which I was OK with accepting. Attempting to maintain my regular “routine” posed some problems as well. There were hardly any gyms to be found, so resorting to running or a morning yoga practice had to suffice. Utilizing social media was also challenging due to a lack of cell service. However, I found that “assemble a crew”, and “practice self love & self care” were very present and necessary. These two tips seemed to manifest naturally within my group. We managed to stick together nearly 24/7 and encouraged one another to eat healthy food, stay hydrated, and reflect on our experiences. These two tips were by far the most apparent as well as the most helpful and practical. So, although the rest of my list didn’t work out perfectly, I still had tools to turn toward in case anything went awry.
The lessons and realizations that came to me are beyond valuable and I believe they can benefit anyone. Traveling abroad opened my eyes to a whole new world that lies outside of the comforts of the town that I live in. So, if you haven’t already done so, then I highly recommend booking a trip to a foreign land sooner rather than later. Just be sure to remain aware of all that you can learn along the way.
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