Travel. In recent years, the generation of millennials and beyond have taken it upon themselves to take full advantage of the ever advancing connectivity of the world. Stories of people selling all of their possessions, quitting their jobs, and travelling the world have become models of the ultimate form of living, a contrasting viewpoint from those of older generations. In spite of this rapidly developing mindset, for many people travelling remains only a wish instead of a reality.
Too often, people say to me, “I would love to travel but I just don’t have the time,” or “I wish I could go on trips but travelling is too expensive.” These statements are usually followed by, “You’re so lucky to always be travelling. I wish I could do the same.” To these people, I have this to say: Just go.
The first step is always the hardest. Breaching the barrier between comfort and the unknown is the step that most people are unable to pass. However, after this barrier has been breached, it is simply impossible not to keep going. After the initial wanderlust is activated, you will lose all excuses and instead will do anything to satisfy the travel bug. If you want something badly enough, you will make it happen.
Over the past year, I lived in Boston. I would make weekend trips to New York City spending around $20 to cover the costs of three days. There were bus tickets offered by BoltBus for $1 each way, and if you look early enough, they’re usually not difficult to find. I depended on the kindness of the numerous couchsurfers I stayed with (highly recommend trying couchsurfing out if you haven’t already) and found a community of travellers with whom I could exchange experiences and worldviews. I would avoid eating in tourist areas and would instead venture into less developed neighborhoods and try their local cuisines for lower costs.
My trips have all contributed to my personal development and offered me invaluable memories and experiences. Travelling carries such a broad range of definitions that vary greatly from person to person. For me, travelling is not a luxurious experience. Luxury and comfort often take away from the authenticity of a place and from opportunities that arise out of creative decisions to save money. Travelling is about understanding and respecting the cultures of each unique destination enough to pick up on the customs and to “do as the locals do.” Travelling is about making relationships with people who you would never have crossed paths with otherwise and having friends with such diverse personalities from all over the world. Travelling is about becoming a citizen of the world.
Why do you travel? What is the reality of travel for you? Let us know in the comments below.
Author: Hope Chen
Student at the University of Michigan with an insatiable desire to travel. I blog about budget travel for students, my spontaneous adventures, and occasionally an outburst about global politics as it relates to travel.
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