Day 8 of the 30 Days of Indie Travel Project* is about learning.
Travel and learning go hand in hand. Travel teaches us not only about the world and the people in it, but also more about ourselves and our own ideas and values. What has travel taught you this year?
To say I have learned a lot through travel in the past year might be an understatement. In a way, I think the past year has been all about learning.
I learned that anything is possible if you want it badly enough.
Five years ago, taking even a couple months off to travel seemed like a pipe dream. Two years ago, it seemed slightly possible but I kept putting off actually doing it. This year, I finally wanted it enough to make it happen. Once the switch flipped in my head from “this is something I want to do” to “this is something I am going to do,” I found ways to make it all come together.
I learned I really am not a patient person. And may never be.
I have never been a patient person. I am the person tapping their foot when the line at the grocery store moves too slowly or anxiously checking my watch when I showed up to meet someone early and they are just five minutes late. However, anyone who has ever traveled knows there are times when you just need to be patient. While I would like to say that after two straight months on the road, I have learned the art of patience, I really haven’t.
When I lost my ATM card to a bank machine in St. Petersburg, I was not patient.
When I was sick and craving sleep in a loud hostel dormitory in Moscow, I was not patient.
When I was with my host family driving to Suzdal and a four hour drive turned into a six hour drive, I was not patient.
When I arrived in Vladivostok and had to wait an hour for a bus into the city, spend 90 minutes on the bus and then couldn’t find the next bus I needed to take me to my hostel, I was not patient.
Granted, there is still time. But even if I become a more patient person, I think my patience will always have its limits.
I learned to let go.
Even though it meant fulfilling my dream, leaving Chicago to travel was not easy. It meant letting go of a good job (and possibly career) in which I might have had a solid, successful future. It meant letting go of expectations I had long held for myself about where I would be and what I would be doing at this point in my life. It meant letting go of friends who no longer seemed to understand or support me. It meant letting go of what many would consider a pretty good life to throw myself into something that could totally backfire on me.
Most importantly, it meant letting go of the fear that had been holding me back.
*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.