How Travel Keeps You Forever Youngby Jimmy S. Consultant
Oh Travel. I refer to you as a friend, a mentor, a wise wise guardian who works effortlessly not only to refresh my spirits but to give me life! Okay, that may be a bit extreme, but I cannot begin to describe how much my wanderings have evolved my character and made me the person I am today.
Life where i grew up was quite nice looking back. A medium sized town 20-minutes from Cleveland, OH and not lacking in the essentials. I have zero complaints about my childhood and if I never left my town I would probably have turned out fine. Do I want to believe that? No. But it's most likely the case.
The dream for everyone in my town is to "get out." There is an aura of repetition that hovers over this area and it grinds people down to a small dust of boredom and slavish greed. It stinks of inferiority complexes over here, and I believe it has something to do with the lack of worldly knowledge the people here possess. Lots of nice folks though.
I remember feeling old when I was a young man. Why did I feel "old"? Well, the repetition! Yes, I was going into a new grade each year and hair began growing in odd spots on my body.. sorry for that. But the reality was that, everything was the same! Same sports, same friends, same routines, same subjects to learn in school, it was seriously driving me mad!
I had role models. I really did. People from the likes of Captain Jack Sparrow, to Chris Mccandless and my older sister, who by the time I was 14 was traveling the country on a bus of hippy doo ha's. Yeah I fantasized a life of freedom. I heard many times over the same lines of depressing promises for the future; "Savor it kid, these are the best times of your life." or "Enjoy it while you can, life gets hard after this." and all sorts of crap like that. I knew I wouldn't stand for that.
There were many factors that led me to believe that I was the master of my own destiny, but none stronger than the good ole' movie, The Secret. I won't dive into anything metaphysical here, but it caused an ENORMOUS paradigm shift in my world. I was determined to make a change and make it now! Even though I was 15 years old and technically had a few years left of high school before I could do any real traveling, I put that aside and focused.
After weeks and weeks of this, I stumbled upon a tweet from a friend of a friend who was wondering if anyone would like an application for the Rotary Exchange Program.. Uhh yeah... Me. I called the head of the program and go the requirements for the application. It took me two weeks to fill out, it was arduous. I told my parents nothing until I had the application finished and all the details worked out. There was nothing they could do but say yes. After an interview with myself and my father, I was accepted and within a month of hearing about the program itself, I was locked in to spend the next year of my life in a completely foreign country.
The hell did I just do?
Well the 6 months leading up to my departure flew by and I was off. I would spend the next 10 months in Thailand. Thai family, Thai food, Thai school.. Nuts. I was thrown in to this country with little to no preparation, kind of like a child being born here on earth. I was a child again, struggling to learn, but growing so much more through the struggle than I had in years! The sights, the people, the language, the food. It was a lot to take in. I felt like my point of view was expanding at a rate that was almost too fast for me to enjoy.
Eventually the intensity settled down and I had become a Thai citizen. I had a solid group of friends, favorite restaurants, I knew my class schedule and I knew the town and language pretty well. By 7 months in I was completely integrated. And a pattern of grief set in once again. The routines I was involved in originally in my home town were almost mirrored in Thailand. Yes, everything was different, but it was also the same..
I was completely ready to leave Thailand when I boarded my plane for the States. I knew I was addicted to that first feeling of entering a completely foreign land, I was in for it. Since then I've been to 7 more countries and counting and each time I am engulfed with happiness and each time I leave, I leave with the plan for the next trip. I am determined to build a lifestyle around my travels and I will not settle until I do.
We must find the things that keep us youthful. I have a handful of them. You need to find yours. Explore. Enjoy. Love Life. Thank YOU!
Created on Mar 17th 2019 14:27. Viewed 287 times.