I traveled quite a bit. For every trip I worked and saved all my money to do what I love most. To travel is the most beautiful gift there is. I think it makes you a completely different person. I went to live abroad for four times already and I started with that at quite a young age (18). Has it changed me? Yes. Positively? I believe so. I have seen several other cultures during my travels and foreign adventures. It changes you.
What have I learned? And why do I want to share that with others so obsessively? I think it is a shame if you have the opportunity to go abroad (i.e. for a study or internship) and you stay at home. Please do so when you have the chance. Create your own opportunities. If only for getting to know another culture. For changing your own world a little bit. Your perspectives. To change you, no matter how young or old you are. There are so many people who do not travel at all. That is not a shame, only when you actually want to travel but you just decide to stay home. Is it out of fear of the unknown, homesickness or are they afraid to take that one step? Or do you actually want to stay in your safe bubble? I respect that, don’t get me wrong. But many people want to travel and think they just can’t. That they are unable to. Dare to dream, dare to step out of your comfort zone. Do not be afraid. It is beautiful and it changes you.
Travel leaves, like writing does, my mind empty and it opens my heart. During my work experiences abroad and living in big cities like London and Paris, I learned to stand on my own feet. I learned to be myself and the fact that being myself is good enough. During my studies, travels and volunteer work in Africa I saw the contradictions of life. Pure and raw, intense and beautiful. Sweet and sour. Same thing during my backpack travels. I came back a bit differently, I have changed. I have been in villages where money does not exist, and for me those were the most beautiful places in the world.
And yes, I’ve seen tough stuff as well. I don’t travel for fun. Especially during my travels and the volunteer work I did in Africa. Those ‘third world countries’ where people are a bit afraid of. Sometimes they just look the other way. Like it is not there. But it is. Poverty, hunger, death, pain, animal suffering, people suffering. Dishonesty. Hovels. Beggars.
But again, it teaches you all about life. If you see this with your own eyes, you learn to be grateful. The great culture difference but being still one and the same human. It makes you strong and aware of the world where we live in. And above all: very, very thankful. Especially when you see how grateful these poor people are. Skin and bone and yet always leaving a cheerful impression. They smile. Always. Just hold one of those children with all the love and hope that you have and you will mean something in this world. Isn’t that what we all want?
So travel gives me hope. Independence. Gratitude. Luck. Insight. Understanding. Positivity. Flexibility. Appreciation. It shows me the world. And especially it teaches me how to be a part of the world.