Traveling will ruin your life — but that's not necessarily a bad thing
If you decide to hit the road, be careful, because traveling may ruin your life. Your mind will discover too many new things, and nothing will ever be as it was before. Let me explain.
Don't travel. Really. Don't do it. Traveling will change your life. Forever.
If you want to stay comfortable, on your couch, watching Netflix, don’t do it. If you want to keep working in the same office, from nine to six, wearing the same three shirts over and over, don’t travel. If you want to anticipate suffering come Mondays and enjoyment come Fridays, don’t travel.
Because traveling is a game-changer.
Why traveling will ruin your life
1. The routine of not having one
As strange and unbelievable as it may sound, it is true. When traveling, you will have only one routine. And that routine will be not having one.
You will stop counting days as you used to. You will have beers on a Monday, you will go to a pub on a Tuesday, you will watch a movie on a Friday and hang out until five am on a Sunday. Who cares? The meaning and flow of each day changes when you travel. Each day will be completely different and there won't be two same Wednesdays. Ever.
You will have time. Really. Time just for you. You will be in charge of deciding what to do with it. A few months working. A few months on the road. One year working in Spain, the next six months volunteering in Thailand and, why not, create a blog and start working online.
On the road you start noticing that there are plenty of options and there is not only one way, one path to success. You will realize that five days working and two days off is not the only equation. You will realize that there are people who work less than 20 hours per week and make less money, but they are much, much, happier.
Your life will stop being a one-to-one relationship. It will start being a one-to-many relationship. One life. Plenty of options. One life. Plenty of ways of living it.
I said it before. The routine of not having one.
2. What you've studied won't be your only area of expertise
"I have a Software Engineering degree, so I can’t work at a coffee shop." "I have never been a receptionist in a hostel, I am only an economist." "I don't know how to cook, I am only good at law." Enough of that. Those are all lies. Let me tell you about my experience.
I am a Software Engineer and I love my career. Really. I simply love it. But I haven't worked as a Software Engineer for at least three years now. My last career-based experience was in Australia. While society may think I am not practicing what I studied, I can assure you that I not only use my career-specific skills every single day, but by traveling, I am also constantly building new skill-sets.
I discovered the world of coffee and, now, I am a hell of a barista. I just love it. I've volunteered handling social media channels in Kyoto and Barcelona. I've been a receptionist in Las Palmas. I've even cleaned beds. I've done mango picking and farm-work and I've cut onions and carrots. And that’s only half of the jobs I’ve done since I started traveling.
Traveling teaches you to think outside the box. There is not just one path to happiness.
There are so many new skills and trades to learn. Why do only one of them for the rest of your life? Why not dabble in a bit of everything, and learn from it all? This will undoubtedly make life more varied, interesting, and fun.
3. Money will stop being so important
The first thing you'll learn when you hit the road is that traveling is much, much cheaper than living your "normal", former life.
There are many reasons which explain this phenomenon, but at the core of them all is a simple truth. Travel teaches us to learn to live with less. We begin to realize that we don't need four pairs of jeans, seventeen t-shirts and nine jackets, just in case.
We start to to feel comfortable with the idea of not carrying that much material weight. We prefer to collect memories, not things. We truly learn the meaning of the essential being invisible to the eye.
We prefer to be payed a few dollars less per hour but to work in a nice café, with good vibes and facing the ocean. Simply because... we feel happier.
Say you work 40 hours a week. Two dollars less per hour makes 16 dollars less a day... and 80 dollars less per week. That makes 320 dollars less per month. Almost 4,000 dollars less per year. And? Your happiness costs four thousand dollars per year?
Do you prefer to go to work every day and not enjoy it, but earn 4,000 dollars more per year? When you travel, happiness does not have a price. Ever. Remember that.
You will decide to exchange your abilities and skills just for accommodation, for a nice place that you can call home for a while. You will stay where you feel happy and you will leave when you've reached your comfort zone.
Ultimately, you will realize that money is not that important and that you can live with only a bit of it. Not stressing about how much money you earn will change your life.
4. Borders? What are those?
From the first day of your journey you will realize that traveling is as addictive as watching Friends. You will visit your first country, then the second one, then the third one. Then you will check the map and say, "hey, that other country is really close, why not visit it?" And that’s the beginning of the end.
You will be continuously checking flights and picking destinations randomly. Without knowing when exactly it begin, you will find yourself traveling between countries like you used to travel between metro stations. You will jump from Spain to Morocco, from Morocco to India, from India to Australia, and so on.
You will be fascinated with what your eyes will see. You will think, how is it possible that no one taught us these things in school? You will love learning about Indian culture, observing how people in Laos behave, how people eat in Sri Lanka and how they drink tea in Iran. You will be invited into homes and stay with families, you will make lifelong friends and your sense of home will expand.
You know why? Because borders are something made-up. There is no real such thing as a border. We are all equals and we are all humans living in the same world, aiming to share moments and stories. Is that so hard to understand?
The world is huge and everyone deserves to know it. There are so many things to discover. Remember this. Maps should be seen with our eyes, touched by our fingers and walked by our feet.
So, here's the deal —
Traveling will ruin your life as you once knew it, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.
So, if you feel called to change your mindset in pursuit of a nomadic life, now is a better time than ever.