Monday, February 24, 2014

Travel is a great teacher

When I left India and started my travel, I did not know what to expect. But I know that at the end of first month of travel, I am much richer, other than in money-terms!
Traveling, especially solo traveling, gives a new perspective to life and people around. Your instincts become stronger. You tend to trust people a lot, in a good way, and yet you know whom you should not trust. Your gut feeling is stronger too. You become open-minded and you do not have any reservations about the fellow travelers you meet. You accept their acts, their behavior much more in a positive way, than you would had you been living a normal life back home. You are ready to listen to their experiences and understand their views about travel, work and life. While traveling, you make more friends than enemies.
Well knowledge is power and knowledge is enlightenment. Before knowing something, you might already have pre-formed notions about some things, like culture for example. And you would think that what we know or what we practice is better than what the rest of the world do. Traveling gives you reality check. Your pre-formed notions about various things fall and break into a million pieces and then you view the life more clearly. There is nothing to obscure your vision and you think, "wait a minute, I didn't know that!"

Tolerance level, that is increased too. In dormitories you might not be able to sleep for a few nights if you are not used to noise of people of coming in and going out, discussing plans and laughing and drinking or noise of someone snoring. But slowly, you get used to it and after a while you don't care. Its not only about sleeping in a dorm, your tolerance level about dirt, bumpy roads, traffic, not a very good bus, weird people, weird smell, also increases.

It does not teach you about only unknown and new things. It teaches you your own emotions about people around you back home. You start to think about and miss little things back home that you have ignored or taken for granted all the years of your life. A hook to hang your shirt, a nice couch, a clean glass of water, home-made tea in the morning, food made by your mother, dependence on your family members, your family, your friends, your colleagues. You realise with a shock that your life has been inter-connected to all these people and all these little things. They have defined you.  And when you take away all these things, you are a new person. You are ready to be molded again!

After this one month of travel, a quote by Patrick Rothfuss makes total sense to me "No man is brave that has never walked a hundred miles. If you want to know the truth of who you are, walk until not a person knows your name. Travel is the great leveler, the great teacher, bitter as medicine, crueler than mirror-glass. A long stretch of road will teach you more about yourself than a hundred years of quiet."

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