Travelling really does end up changing your life. And for the better. I would know this, being a lifelong traveler (and ardent globetrotter) myself. But you don’t need to take my word for it. Just fire up your Spectrum Internet plan today, and log onto one of the many travel logs available online. But if you really want to get a good ‘feel’ of what my personal traveling experience is all about, check out the popular Dan Flying Solo blog. Along with its stunning collection of colorful pictures (taken from Dan’s overseas sojourns), the site also features some great traveling commentary.
A Note on My Personal Journey
Ten years ago, I suffered from a sorry state of mind. I was argumentative, abusive, and downright mean. I had a knack for bullying anyone (and everyone) I came across. And I had to deal with a lot of racist tendencies – which I mistakenly used to think arose quite spontaneously. Now that I am older (and perhaps a little wiser), I have a much clearer grasp on all my shortcomings. I no longer carry the KKK hooded outfit I used to proudly wrap myself in back then. And most importantly, I have shunned the company of all those people who encouraged my hate for others.
Truth-be-told, I fully owe all this personal transformation to my stints with adventure traveling. A childhood friend (one who had patiently tolerated my negative attitude for years) first introduced me to it. And since my first trip to South Asia in the spring of 1998, I haven’t looked back since.
Nor would I ever wish to – not with everything that I’ve been fortunate enough to see.
The Transformative Impact of Adventure Travelling
Adventure traveling is different from your everyday variety of tourism. It is based around the intent of ‘thrill-seeking’, and experiencing a constant adrenaline rush. It requires people to suspend all their fears, inhibitions and preconceptions – and to form new and personalized experiences. By following its central principle (which encourages you to fully immerse yourself into your immediate surroundings), you can actually relive your world anew.
When you’re out adventure traveling, it is not uncommon for you to become more locally-informed than the natives of a particular place. This is because you go out of your way to experience both their regular and fringe customs. And this contrast becomes quite noticeable in locations like South Korea, where you get to try out delicacies like honey-glazed pork ribs and freshly-cut, raw animal trotters on the same table spread.
Pretty radical, right?
A Lesson in Empathy
The first lesson I learned through my travels was one of empathy. My default perception of all non-white people had been one of ‘reverse racism’. I used to think that they wanted to come to my country, and lay waste to its natural resources and general environment. I thought that they lusted after our jobs and our so-called ‘refined’ way of living.
In short, I had horrifically reasoned that the immigrant population wanted to turn America into a ‘third world’ country. It was only after a poor and kind stranger in a Sri Lankan farming village willingly offered me shelter in his small hut that I recognized my false thinking.
Through my subsequent travels across the Middle East and Africa, I came to discover the shocking genuineness of people who were much more economically disadvantaged than me. I came to deeply understand that they shared much the same sentiments as I did about life. And that they held the same fears about death and loss.
I found that our commonalities as a species greatly outweighed our differences. And I know that this statement sounds a bit like a cliché. But you need to trust me when I state that its ‘God’s honest truth’!
You just need to be willing to open your mind to what other cultures have to teach – and you’re all set for the personal changes that follow.
A Lesson in Patience
In addition to forcing you to empathize with your fellow man (and woman), adventure traveling knocks some much-needed patience into your system.
In the west, we’re used to having all our life affairs managed & run at lightning speeds. In this respect, technology (with the internet at the helm of this trend) certainly helps to keep this rapid lifestyle on the flow. But in poor, developing countries like Sudan and Ethiopia, you don’t usually have recourse to such facilities.
In these locations, meaningful human interactions ensure your survival. And as you’ll find through your own travels, you can’t really rush the locals in any way.
This in no way implies that they’re slow on the uptake.
Of course not!
It only means that they have their own way of managing their life affairs – which they’re quite adept at, actually!
If you live in the Spectrum service area, you can easily tune into a Wi-Fi hotspot and download mobile apps like Trip Advisor, Kayak and Airbnb (among many others). These will allow you to connect with different adventure traveling online groups and communities. In this way, you’ll be able to read their personal accounts firsthand, and even dish out some traveling wisdom of your own.