Is this what travelling can offer? I could never in my wildest dream imagine how much I would change because of travelling. Here is a run down to the wisdom I learnt post-travels.
1. Being happy when everything is wrong. Yes, it's possible!
Many times in life I have found myself in horrible moods for microscopic problems. We've all been there, its annoying and certainly time wasted for nothing, and hey! Who likes stress? Not you.
After travelling I realised it's about 3 things: perception, perception and perception. If I want my dream job and fail every time the only thing getting me any closer is trying again, not stress not an unhappy mood. I realised this during my travels in Milano, Italy.
It was a hot day in June, I arrived mid day and had to leave for Cinque Terre by evening. I had no accommodation in Milano. I had visited the Dumo and the Galleria already. I went back to the Central Station, and thats when the bomb dropped on me. No train tickets until midnight! I did not book any tickets, obviously and now I was on a station with no place to go, no ticket, no english and a lot of running around with a 15kg backpack. Honestly the staff at the Milan Station is of no help what so ever, I talk to every person I could for about 2 hours with no success. I was running out of time, the heat had got me, I drank a lot of water and so I took a piss. I relaxed myself and walked out of the toilet and there it was. My saviour was right there relaxing next to his bike. A young italian boy flipping through his phone, thankfully with good english. He told me I was searching through the trains which are usually booked (also thanks to the Expo 2015) so I must get on to the local train. So I did, it took longer, was extremely hot, super slow and also broke down half way.But eventually I did reach Cinque Terre.
Image Source| The Daily Best
The stress was it worth? Maybe cause it kept me running like a horse for help. But the thing to notice is, I only found a solution when I was relaxed. We humans work better with stretched capillaries. That day onwards, no matter if I get lost, loose my phone in an unusually named restaurant in a foreign country or have to cancel my masters degree offer for various reasons, I remain calm and happy. Cause none of this harms me in any way worse than other factors in life, as we all know what those factors can be for us "immortal humans". When everything is wrong stay relaxed, don't ignore the issue like an escapist, deal with it in calm and I can guarantee you will find the best solution.
2. Expectations? No Thank You.
Pre- conception may prepare you for the upcoming but might not always lead to as expected. When I visited Cinque Terre in Italy. My visuals were fabricated with colourful saturated photos of a town on a rocky hill. Something like this:
Image Source | YocuzLawyers
With sky high expectations I trekked for an hour to reach to one of the town which looked like this:
Image Source | Traveller.Chris
And oh boy was I not disappointed. It was a total turn off, which should not have been the case because every place adhere its own beauty. So next time, no google images before traveling. Maybe Lonely Planet though!
3. Less is more
Hands down the most important lesson I have learnt. The less "stuff" you have in your travel bag the better you travel and you will never fall short of anything. Just a few pair of clothing, sanitary, a pair of shoes and shades and duh! You are all set. But if I run out of clothes? Laundry service at literary every corner in the world. But what if you run out of your favourite body lotion? Well all do the same job anyway and hello we live in a globalised world so at most destinations you will be just fine.
Image Source | Imgur
Last week in Cambodia I met a guy from Switzerland. Guess what he had for 4 weeks of travelling. A small school bag which was so thin it seemed empty and most importantly a guitar. Could it get any better. Its like me travelling from my home to a friends home who lives 10 miles away from where my school is. Imagine travelling with so less for a month. I said " Is that all you have, that bag right there, the small one?" And he said the same, "You don't need much when travelling". I could not agree more.
4. Money is not everything
Ok, we all hear this a lot in any random conversation. Especially when we see someone drowning in the power of money or someone with almost nothing at all. But we all have been there. Thinking, is really money everything? or nothing at all?
When it comes to travelling, money is needed, but it all depends how much? I travel a lot of places, I have probably visited the same place where your uncle from London was last summer. Although he spent £1000 for a week and I did the same in 500. I am doing everything the same only my standards remain pretty low. And so when it comes to travelling it all depends on how you want to spend those saving you did for years, because after those magical days of travelling, the only thing that remains are the priceless moments you had and the amazing people you met. Money is no where down the memory lane, at least not in mine.
5. Exploring the world. My world.
Travelling the world is fine, but do you know what is happening in the process. You explore yourself too. When I was exploring all those amazing places, later I realised it was a lot more than simply traveling alone.
It made me confident, sharp, active, alive and most importantly, happy. I became carefree and unshackled from all the projections of people I had around me because life is too short to bother what other people think about me.
6. Travelling for free
Image Source | NewYorker
Let me clear out that I myself have never travelled for free, although I have managed to get free 5 star accommodations and high class meals while I was in China recently. The focus here are the people I met who actually did travel countries for free, with free transport and free accommodation. Free transport? Hitch Hike or simply Blah Blah Car and Free stay? Couchsurfing! I met a guy from California who hitchhiked for almost 90 days and couchsurfed along the way. I will probably be posting an interview with him soon, so stay updated. This simply means its all about right people at the right place at the right time.
7. The moment is now, not "When I have enough".
Image Source | Chris Rathore Photography
Many times I found myself in situations when I am telling tales from my travel chronicles and end up igniting a fire inside the listener who want to travel the same. But, but? They always end up saying, " I want to travel places, spend enough time travelling BUT when I have saved enough" or "when I am more settled in life" are you kidding me? seriously thats your plan? No! The moment is now especially when you are young. Who knows if I will be settled off in 2 years time, or save "enough" before I travel
because when is enough? Here is a superb article saying why you should travel when you are young. It says:
"You have very little responsibility so go and travel. When you get to 30, you’re going to want to travel slightly differently, spend a little more, do slightly more expensive things, eat at slightly better restaurants. So work for a year and save enough money to experience the world on the cheap.
How do you know what you want to do if you don’t know what’s out there to do?
Are you still doubting to make your dream travel come true? If not, great but if you are stilled overwhelmed by the idea then read more.
The Student Life
Summer of 2012 I finished my high school and it was time for college. But where? The question is quite common in a teenager's life especially when you live in a country where you choose the college first and the course of subject later. I was in the same situation. I didn't know what city I would go to and what college I would choose. But never had I ever imagined in my wildest dream that I'll end up in the city of London. So thank god I have an elder sister. To be honest she did most of the work for me. I was just... riding along, and so it began.
A new country, new culture, new university and new... well you know the rest so I'll skip that part. The student life in London can be summed up in 5 simple words; best time of my life. It is the best student place to be especially if you have an amazing campus with rich culture like Brunel University, and no they did not pay me to write this. It truly is one of the best campuses in London. I have had very very special moments here, words can't express the utter calmness and joy felt whilst on-campus. It was not a complete student dreamland, some of the faculties were annoying but some were absolute gold, but hey there are always two sides of a coin. Here are some photos expressing what words cannot.
The Student Traveller
Fast forward 2 years later, March 2015. This is how my travel experience began. I knew I'd finish exams by the end of May but what happens after? Since past 2 years I was rushing home like a child but not this time. My flatmates had been planing various trips in Europe but it never really happened. So we dedicated ourselves this time and I committed myself to a solo trip to Prague. The plan was to tag along with my friends in Paris and Amsterdam after. But who knew I'll catch a travel bug forever. Back in the months of March and April I had to submit my final year project, give my exams in May and also work to save enough to travel.
Those were long nights, finishing work at 3am, reaching home by 4 and going to bed by 5, and attend a lecture at 10! But when the shifts finished at The Marriot, I knew I was a step closer to Prague because pay day was near.
Image Source| Traveller Chris
The After Effects
I spent hours and days and months in this entire process and all those hours can be summed up into 3 golden rules:
Every time I'm having a chat with a fellow traveller and have to pull out my blue plastic folder with a bit of organised paperwork I hear from the other end "dude you are so organised" and "I wish I was as organised as you" No jokes, these are real comments people pass at me. Here is why I do it.
In May 2015 when I landed in Paris for the first time past midnight, there was no help. My friends booked an apartment on the highest floor they could find in Paris with a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower. Sounds cool right? But here's the catch. When I landed in Paris I had no sim card or internet to make a call and the apartment building had a passcode.
2. Pre Plan
If not days before at least a few hours before. But plan before hand if you really want to travel longer. I know travelling without plans and being spontaneous sounds fun and daring but don't you want to make the most of the time on road? Then grab a paper and make a dotted trail through the map, marking your way through a city, country or the world. But don't just stop here, when you are travelling you will meet other people who have been exotic places already. Share your route plans and see if you and your fellow traveller share similar destinations. Its always better to know a thing or two from someone who has been in the same boat before you.
3. An Open Mind
No matter what happens, keep an open mind about everything that comes your way. A new culture, language, food, people or weather. An open mind can get you through anything and at the same time show you the best of everything. So open your mind, let the light through because “A mind is like a parachute. It doesn't work if it is not open.”
― Frank Zappa
Unleash The Travel Bug In You
As a kid i never really liked the idea about travelling apart from the fact that there will be no school for a week. The long seated hours in the car, going away from friends and my dog just made me uncomfortable. In fact I was the same until recently when I took my first ever solo trip to Prague at the age of 20.
Numerous blog posts kept on popping on my Facebook wall about travelling and solo trips. It was like one of those feelings when you feel the universe conspires against you. I felt a sensation and my funny bone twitched when I entertained the idea of “what if I go on a solo trip” and there was no turning back! All excited I got on phone with few of my friends and asked if this would be a good idea. Thankfully they all supported me, even my parents, they were surprisingly cool with the whole idea. After that all I had to do was save up, research, pack and leave. Here are some key factors that I did which made me hooked to traveling.
If you are just getting started, choose your favourite destinations first. If you visit a place you were not interested in this can alter your motivation towards travelling in the future. Travelling your favourite destination is motivating and will keep you up and active throughout your entire trip.
Once you know what country or city you wish to visit, start reading up. This is a very crucial step. The more you know the better you travel. Knowing a thing or two about a city you're about to land is never a bad idea. In fact, you will make the most of your time by avoiding any time wasted in searching and asking around while you are on the road. Although sometimes that can be fun but be prepared after all.
Remember when you are on the road every day costs you (unless you are couch surfing and hitchhiking) so make the most of your time.
Before I took my adventure trip I read many blogs and articles about travelling, in my case specific to solo travels. Surprisingly, some posts have inspiring yet fascinating things to say. I remember one quote which said how in today’s over-intrusive world, even a moment to yourself is valuable, making your journey priceless. True? Absolutely.
If you spend most of your time staring at exclusive destinations which you cannot afford to visit at the moment, then you are bound to have the travel bug in you. The bug has probably infected you and will take over soon.
There Is No Looking Back
Once you take your first trip and make the most out of it, trust me the experience is so refreshing and exotic it can leave you in a stage of ecstasy which gets your bug addicted for more. I still remember each and every minute of my first trip, every breeze, tramp bells, local crowds gatherings in town centres and airplane ear pops.
If you could travel anywhere where would you go next? I am always updating a bucket list to share so don't hesitate and please leave a reply in comments below. Remember never to be bugged down by the number of places you are not able to visit now. If the list is long so is life, make the most of it.