There are things in life that are absolute chance (like what color you’ll land on in Monopoly and how many times in a row you’ll flip a coin to heads), but there are other things you have to work for (like the type of person you’ll become) and things you have to make a choice for (like what you’re willing to live with and live without). I’ve made a few good choices on my path so far and got lucky enough to work with a brand called Yellow 108 — a lifestyle company based out of L.A. that makes hats, sunglasses and other goods made solely from salvaged and recycled materials. We recently explored a few countries in Europe and the U.K. with the intention of finding like-minded people to collaborate with on upcoming projects and to forge new connections with them in hopes of genuinely learning from one another. After all, though we’re traveling for work, we’re still people looking to live simpler and more sustainable lives.

And yet …

We often get inundated with stories about the paths we should take, the things we should do, and the ways in which we should measure our successes; and no matter how true our compasses may want to point north, we sometimes falter. We sometimes lose sight of the authentic lives we long to live where all we really need (and all we really want) is happiness, love, a good attitude, and a little more time.

So the question arose, why do we turn to travel to be re-inspired? A lot can be said for the fact that many of us wear far more hats than one, even if we only have one job. As a writer-designer-saleswoman-marketer, you can find that you’re burning the candle not at both ends, but melting it before it even has a chance to burn. Too often we tap out our creative resources without taking the time to pause, refill the tank, and be a little selfish before we can actually be selfless stewards of the primary thing that matters in life: our relationships.

Why do we turn to travel to be re-inspired?

Relationships are really all that we have, aren’t they? When it’s lights out and that final curtain gets called, we’re looking back on the experiences and the joys that were lit up by the spirit of people and places we touched and were touched by. Like Teddy Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena, we’re here to step up, make choices and live the lives we want. We aren’t here to be passive, we’re here to live the fullest expression of the life we get the opportunity to have.

Sometimes, that simply takes saying it’s time to go.

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To this day I can’t say I’ve ever regretted a trip I’ve taken or an experience that I’ve had. Of course, hindsight will tell us we’ve always done right, but there’s also that thing inside of you that asks, what would hurt if I didn’t get to do this?

We turn to travel because it reminds us humans are humans. We’re going to be out of our comfort zone a lot — like riding a night bus for the first time and taking a leap of faith to trust people we don’t necessarily know — but that sense of trust somehow, oddly, proves Locke was maybe a little bit right when he thought man to be innately good. That gives us hope.

The more we travel, the more we become observers of humanity — amateur sociologists and anthropologists — chronicling our collective quest for purpose, meaning, and some sort of “point” to the journey. Nearly anyone who’s ever had the chance to see foreign (and not so foreign) lands will tell you: we’re all looking for similar things and just going helps to answer some of the questions. Traveling takes us out of our every day, changes our routine, and gives us the chance to see even the most mundane with the greatest romance.

Traveling…gives us the chance to see even the most mundane with the greatest romance.

Travel forces us to deal with the uncomfortable, the unplanned and the awkward. It requires us to surrender to the fact that it doesn’t matter what you do, it’s more about finding the time to be. The world is a small place, you can find moments of absolute perfect, but you might also find that spark to pull the haze from your eyes and restart your heart with how unbelievable the world actually is.

Here are a few things travel taught us this time around:

  1. Life’s short. Don’t feel bad about wanting the life you want (not the life you should want).
  2. Don’t be busy as a way to just to fill time.
  3. Be good rather than just being liked.
  4. Green doesn’t always mean go.
  5. Slow down.
  6. What you own shouldn’t own you.
  7. One bag is enough.
  8. Trees are a good thing.
  9. Markets are never a bad idea.
  10. Everything changes. That’s a good thing.

What have you learning from traveling? Why do you do it?

Images via Olga Makarova

6 comments

  1. This is wonderfully written, beautiful article that sums up why I love to travel both near and far. I remember the first time I left the borders of the US and stepped off the plane into central Mexico. I was 19 and awestruck at all that surrounded me: the smells, the colors, the musical quality of the Spanish language. I was bitten by the travel bug and fell in love. To travel is to open one’s mind and heart to new experiences, both good and not so good, and to soak in all that is new. I now make it a point to travel somewhere new every single year because it makes me a better person and as the writer so eloquently put it, “because it reminds us humans are humans.”

  2. What an inspiring article. Look forward to read many more on traveling, opening ourselves to the world and discovering other cultures.

  3. Travel. I love it. It is a time to shed my image and reputation– to remove myself from the eyes of the familiar in exchange for moments of new beginnings. There is something redemptive about foreign travel; it seems to bring revelation… vulnerable and free of judgement.

    I’m overdue 😉

  4. What a brilliant article – I love reading articles like this about travel. ‘What you own shouldn’t own you’ is such an honest statement. I am by no means a minimalist but I know first hand that experiences over material objects allow for longer-lasting happiness. I could easily live without buying anything new for months and months, just to be able to see a different part of the world. You can learn so much about the world, about life, and about yourself, from travelling! Much more that a new pair of shoes could ever teach you (well, I guess that depends on the shoes 😛 ).

  5. I LOVE this article. I love travelling and seeing other places and I am working making my busines location independent so I can travel and see the world, whenever I choose. This article has really captured what I love about travelling that goes beyond just experiencing new places. It really gives you a whole new perspective on life and challenges your views, stereotypes and beliefs whilst also opening your mind to new opportunities and possibilities. Overall I think what I value most about travelling is the sense of freedom it gives me.

  6. Travel is perhaps the most humbling yet inspiring act of all. While it may remind us, in instances, of our own faults and flaws, it simultaneously connects us with humans who similarly struggle. An individual’s world is as small as their closest circle of friends and as vast as a plane ride can take them. Life begs for adventure and discovery; travel grants those desires with magic and mystery.

    http://www.onebrassfox.com

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