Change can be exciting and bring new joys into our lives. But it can present challenges that frustrate or annoy us. How has travel changed you in the last year? Did you welcome these changes or resist them at the time, and how do you feel about them now?
Change is not something I have always embraced easily.
At the same time, I get restless when things stay the same for too long.
I think I get this from my mother. Growing up, we never stayed in the same house for more than about two years – even though we stayed in the same city the entire time. That is what I would call safe change.
Most of my adult life I have embraced “safe “change.
I left my first job at a large law firm only after I already had a job at another firm secured.
I left my career as a lawyer only after I explored multiple different new career options, gathering three job offers in the process. It was a huge change, but it felt safe.
Until 2008, my travel choices were also fairly safe. When I went abroad for the first time in 2001, taking a post-bar exam tour for three and a half weeks, I was initially inclined to fulfill my longtime dream of visiting Russia and Scandinavia. But instead, I went the safe route, touring through England, France, Italy, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.
My first completely solo trip abroad was to Australia, which felt about as safe as it got. They spoke the same language (sort of!) and I had friends in Melbourne and Sydney who I met on that first European tour.
It wasn’t until 2008, when a series of life events (that’s code word for “a boy broke my heart”) pushed me to become a little bit more adventurous and make a “non-safe” travel choice for the first time in my life.
I went to Egypt.
Traveling to Egypt opened my eyes to how much more is out there to see and learn and experience in the world. I returned from Egypt dreaming of visiting Jordan, Syria, Lebanon. And the rest of Africa. And Central Asia. And South America. The wheels started spinning and haven’t stopped.
Traveling to Egypt changed my life and got me headed down the path that led me to where I am today.
If I hadn’t embraced change back in 2008, I wouldn’t be in Russia right now.
The desire to travel – to leave my career and my friends and my family – for a year (or maybe more) changed me immensely over the last year. Before departing on my trip, I re-prioritized. Things that once seemed important or urgent seemed trivial. Spending $100 on a Saturday night out seemed silly when I compared it to what that might buy when I was on the road. Most importantly, I allowed myself to stop stressing over the little things at my job because I knew that, in the long run, they just didn’t matter.
What mattered is I was finally going to pursue my dream of traveling.
This trip has been the biggest, least safe change in my life and at times it has been scary as hell, but I have embraced it – from the high of completing a marathon with a personal best to the low of arriving in Russia to living conditions I was not expecting. Even on the worst day, there isn’t any place I’d rather be.
I am sure I have a lot more change in store for me in the months to come and I look forward to embracing it all as well.
No matter how scary or difficult it might be.
*Throughout the month of November, BootsnAll is inviting bloggers from around the world to join them in a daily blogging effort – the 30 Days of Indie Travel Project – designed to reflect on how our travel experiences over the last year – or whenever – have shaped us and our view of the world. Bloggers can follow the prompts as strictly or loosely as they like, interpreting them in various ways and responding via text, photos or video posted on their own blogs.