Well, let's be honest. Traveling is a really good way of spending your time, right? You discover new places, meet new people and learn — a lot — about their cultures. How they live, what they eat, to which God they pray, how they spend their days, and so many more things.
While traveling, you make new friends and spend your time discovering one of the most important things of all. Freedom. If I had to choose one thing I will not resign, after more than five years traveling, I would have to say freedom. Being free and, more importantly, choosing to be free, is the thing I learned while traveling.
But, of course, this is not all roses. There are more than a few thorns that make the travel path a little bit difficult. It's almost as if your mind, knowing that you are going to discover so many good things while traveling, purposefully creates some obstacles for you... simply to keep things interesting. And one of these obstacles is called guilt.
Yes. While you are out there exploring the big world, your grandmother may die. Your niece or nephew will turn five and you will not be there. Your sister will have her first, second, or third baby and you will watch it through Skype (if you are lucky). Your mom may get sick, your dog may need surgery and, maybe, a few of your friends will get married.
Not just for you, but for all of the world. And while you are out there spending quality time exploring and adventuring, people are still living their lives and, sometimes, very important moments happen. The good ones. And the not so good. And you will feel guilty about not being there.
"Why on earth did I ever decide to travel? Why am I not home for so many important occasions, with the people I love?" you will ask yourself, a thousand times.
But you know what? You are allowed to miss your home and the people you love; you are allowed to feel lonely and distant and at times... you are allowed to feel a little blue and confused. But feeling guilty is nonsense. There is no point in having that feeling. Let me explain.
7 reasons why you shouldn't feel guilty about traveling
You will realize that people live in so many different ways.
You will understand that what they told you on the media is not always true and that the bad guys — at least, the ones media told you were the bad guys — are as good as you are.
You will discover that you do not have only one truth. The world does not have only one truth. There are a lot of them. And as long as they are justified in the right way, all of them are valid. Easy, right?
And you'll understand that life shouldn't be so stressful. It should be lived with good vibes and lot of smiles. Happiness should be shared. And tears, too.
Your mind will explode (in a good way) because of all the things it will receive. And that's something that surely would not have happened if you would have stayed at home!
2. Feeling guilty will make you lose focus
There so many reasons as to why you may have started traveling. The beginning of a new life. Working while you travel. A gap year. Sabbatical. Chasing a dream. Challenging yourself. I don't know; there are truly so many reasons to choose the travel path.
But, what's really important, is to focus on that reason. To remember your intention. To use your time in the right way. To take advantage of your opportunity, your freedom.
If you feel guilt while you travel, you will waste your energy on thoughts and feelings that are not worthy of it. Your body and mind will prioritize things that are not meant to be prioritized. And, in doing this, you will forget the real why behind your travels; you will lose sight of your reason, your intention.
Suddenly you will discover yourself swimming in an ocean of guilt, instead of chasing your dream and improving your life. And that's not good, trust me.
3. Traveling is not about being selfish, but about loving yourself more fully
Stop thinking that traveling and having time for yourself is being selfish. Who said so? Don't believe those things.
Travel and devoting time to yourself is not about being selfish. It's actually about loving yourself more fully.
Rule number one. If you want to be 100 percent in the present, if you want to be 100 percent available for others, you have to be okay with yourself. You have to know yourself more than anyone and you have to accept your virtues and faults. Sounds easy. But it is not.
We live in a world where putting yourself before others is not well seen. But taking time for yourself and deciding to travel because you want to understand yourself better, because you want to be happy... is not selfish.
It's the opposite.
It's about loving yourself, prioritizing yourself, understanding yourself, and believing in yourself.
4. Traveling will teach you so many things
Not only will you learn so many things, but you will be inspired to communicate and share the things you learned. And that's even better.
To have the chance to tell your friends, family and all the people you meet along your way about how things are in different parts of the world is... priceless.
Spreading the word about how many good and beautiful things are out there is one of the best parts about traveling.
You will realize that stereotypes are inaccurate. You will discover that entire countries are completely different from the way media told you they would be!You will see people of different religions, belief systems, and ethnicities living in community and peace.
You will learn that smiling is a universal language and that intuition is far more important that any language you may have learned at school.
You will hear incredible stories from fellow travelers.
You will realize that anything is possible. That YOU can accomplish any dream. And you will encourage your friends and family to chase their dreams too.
See? Why should you feel guilty about that?
5. There is always the chance to return home, even if only for a few days
Money is important while you travel, but contrary to popular belief, it is not the most important thing. There are lot of ways to make money, or to save a little bit more.
When I ran out of money in Southeast Asia, I volunteered in Vietnam, teaching English. A few years later, I handled the social media accounts of a guesthouse in Kyoto. I also worked in Australia for a few years, making the best coffee in town. You will find always a way.
What do I want to say with this?
That, if you are afraid you will miss your friends and family or miss out on an important occasion, it shouldn't stop you from starting your big journey.
You can always catch a plane, for a week or a few days, and spend time with the ones you miss and want to be with. It may be a little more expensive than usual, but at the end of the day, what's the big deal?
It may seem something trivial, but it is not. The feeling of knowing that, if something goes wrong, you can be home in less than a day, is a good way of not feeling guilt while traveling. Consider it a little trick.
6. You will meet so many people and live so many experiences that there will be no place for guilt
There will be a specific moment when you will look around and see exactly what you are living.
You will realize how lucky you are. Where you are. The amazing people you are surrounded by. How present you've become; how much you've grown. How you enjoy each moment and have stopped worrying about things that are not important.
And, in that moment, you will part ways with any guilt you have about traveling once and for all.
"Goodbye guilt. I simply don't need you. There is no space for you anymore. I am surrounded by such beautiful people. I am living so many good moments. I am learning so many things. Why are you here, guilt? What do you need? I kindly ask you to leave."
7. What you receive, you will give
It is not written in any book. But, magically, it will happen. You will receive so many things. You will learn so many things.
The universe will give you so much that you will want to give back, somehow. Because when you are living such good moments, meeting such great people, you can't help but wish the same for the rest of the world!
There is no point to feeling guilt. All the benefits that traveling has should be shared. The growth is exponential, the possibilities endless.
Knowing and growing your understanding of yourself is mandatory while traveling. Learning about the world, meeting new people and living new experiences is something everyone should experience, at least once in their life. Don't feel guilty about that, please. Guilt is a weight that nobody should carry while traveling.
And that's what Worldpackers emphasizes. Living transformative experiences. Getting to know so many special people... all over the world. Understanding the true meaning of traveling. Spending quality time with the special people you meet, and sharing all the magic that you receive.
Exponential growth. Remember that.
Guilt is ultimately like your luggage.
If you have a huge suitcase, moving around won't be that easy. But, if you travel with only a carry-on, everything is easier.