This is a 2-part article. This is part 1, the second installment will be published in the following week. Part 1 covers an oft overlooked and underrated part of travel. I hope you enjoy the read and I hope it gives you a deeper appreciation for what travel can do for you!
I haven’t met many people in their 20’s who don’t dream of travelling. It’s a wonderful experience, to step outside the world you know for a week or two and explore a completely new area, a new culture and interact with a different set of people. While Cheers has taught us that it’s always good to have a place where people know your name, sometimes it’s good to go to a place where nobody knows who you are. In this post, I’d like to request you to set aside some time to travel on your own before you hit the big three-zero.
I’ve spent a lot of my life travelling. I’ve spent a lot of my life travelling alone, in fact. Of course I’m including all the flights I take on my own, regardless of whether I’m alone at my destination. Let me start by elaborating on that, a lot of people think of backpacking in exotic locations, hiking or walking along a beach on their own when they think of travelling alone. The most overlooked part of travelling on your own is the journey there, which I feel is one of the more important aspects.
A lot of people I’ve met aren’t particularly fond of the travel part of travel. I’ve met several folk who wish they could skip the planes, trains, automobiles and just bounce from holiday spot to holiday spot. I don’t think these people realize the importance of these journeys and what they can do for you. When you’re on your own at an airport or at a station, it’s the actual start of your travel. It isn’t an intermediate period, for me it’s usually the best part.
It’s the beginning of the part where you’re truly alone. A lot of people spend a great deal of time at airports on their phones, that’s a waste of time. The next time you have the pleasure of flying alone, say your goodbyes before you check in. Once you’re in begin your journey. Use that time you have before your flight to watch the world, to empty your mind and start to appreciate what you’re about to do.
Airports are where you see the best in people, you see the heartfelt goodbyes, and you see the warmest of greetings… You see people going through the motions; see some at their lowest, see those who couldn’t be happier… You see those who wouldn’t trade the hard airport floor for anything in the world. In airports, you see a world where people truly embody some of humanity’s greatest qualities.
There’s a reason I feel this is the most important part of travel. I believe that when you travel, especially alone, you should be a sponge. You should be ready to absorb all around you. An airport is the best place to start because you have people from all across the world, from all walks of life and for most of the part we’re all on pretty much the same footing at an airport. They may say that death is the great equalizer but airports aren’t too far behind in all honesty. Sure, the rich can pay for preferential treatment but at the end of the day the experiences you have at an airport will be rather similar.
When you’re on the plane, once your phone is off… The hours that follow should be some of the best of your life. It is the only part of your life you will be truly alone and truly cut off from the world (Unless you’re on one of those flights that let you keep your phone on. Turn them off anyway!). Right before take off, close your eyes and just empty your mind. You’ll feel a sense of freedom and calmness that will be unrivalled to any other you’ve felt in your life, it’ll be the perfect start to the second leg of your travel.
Listen to music, watch a movie or stay lost in your thoughts… Whatever you choose to do for the rest of the flight you’ve already given yourself the benefit of a fresh start for your trip. In blanking your mind during take off you’ve left behind not only your problems, your stress, your worries but also most other aspects of your life and you’ve turned this trip into the perfect way to grow, to discover yourself and to mold yourself into a new and better person.
Now that we’ve got you to the airport, got you on that plane and had it hit the skies we’re going to bring an end to the first part of this two parter. The second part will cover the part you’re actually interested in, the part about how your destination can give you so much more than just some good memories. Look out for part two some time next week, till then I hope you’ll give the “boring” part of travel a shot from a different perspective!