Besides the information overload we’re struggling with nowadays, we’re in this social media race for the most awesome life. Social platforms are places where everyone’s life seems so fantastic, where it seems as everyone has the opportunity to do only nice and interesting things, where quite often even I myself get the sensation of underachievement. It seems as if we try to compete and prove others (instead of proving it to ourselves) that are lives are great and interesting. And honestly, I don’t think anyone has it as good as they make it seem.
While scrolling through social media news feeds we might feel as if so many people have done way more in their life than we have. We might feel as if there’s so much more we need to do just in order to keep track with others. Some people have traveled the world, some people have great startups, some people make money from posting photos on social media and don’t have to struggle with boring 9-5 jobs. That, followed by “inspiring quotes” and “life changing” statements make people believe they need to do so much more or else they’ll fall behind in life.
It’s extremely popular to travel nowadays. Not only popular, it’s necessary. Not only necessary, it’s an unspoken must. Airfares are cheaper, the world is way more connected and there’s this “traveler title” that people seem to think of as something prestigious. Truth be told, it just means you’ve had more diarrhea than those who haven’t traveled as much. More often than not, I’ve heard people say: he/she must be fabulous, he/she must be very interesting, he/she has such an amazing life, he/she must be enlightened, he/she knows so much, he/she is so experienced – after all he/she has traveled the world. And I’d have to highly disagree with that way of thinking – traveling doesn’t make you any better, only you can make yourself better.
A plane ticket and thousands of kilometers do not make you understand life, only your attitude towards it can help you understand and accept some things. Traveling doesn’t make you learn if you’re not open to learning. Traveling doesn’t open your eyes nor your heart if you yourself aren’t willing to open them. There are loads of people who have traveled far more than most people ever do, but aren’t particularly open, deep or enlightened. I’ve met loads of world travelers who were genuine shallow pricks. I’ve also met many people who haven’t moved a lot, yet their perception and understanding of life, the way they treat others as well as themselves is truly magical. And most importantly – you don’t need to travel, you choose to travel. And if you’re not into travel, you’re not a fan of changes and your timeline isn’t full of photos from all over the world – you’re still good. You still get to be a deep, open minded and accepting person. Not everyone has to enjoy mosquitoes the size of a fist or sharing a bed with lizards.
A change of a location doesn’t necessarily change your state of mind. Stamps in your passport and all the kilometers you’ve crossed don’t make any difference if you don’t decide to make a difference. The core of who you are and what you carry inside of you doesn’t change with a 15 hour flight. If you’re a genuine prick there’s quite a possibility you’ll remain a prick even after a 15 hour flight.
If I’ve learned something from living abroad and traveling it’s that it didn’t make me any smarter, deeper or a better person. It did give me new experience though. And what I decided to do with that experience was totally and exclusively up to me. Only when you’re open to learning, accepting and understanding things might change – whether you decide to travel or not. And in the case you do – only then traveling might enrich you, rather than just enriching your Facebook profile.