But that's not what travel websites, TV shows and surreal Instagram pictures would have you believe. According to them travel is all rainbows and unicorns. A scoop of vanilla ice-cream with chocolate syrup on it. Step inside the airplane and divine inspiration will follow.
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It will lead to learning, happiness and life transformation all by itself. Magic is the word. There is no hard work, sacrifice or effort involved. That's for lesser mortals who chose to stay home.
Doesn't that sound too good to be true? You know it is.
Everyone in my age bracket (20-30 years) is planning a trip (solo, adventure, bike or luxury). Those with money look westwards (Euro trip and all that jazz). Some add an international flavour to their lives in Thailand. You know what I mean. And the ones with limited means like myself head out to the Ladakhs and Andamans of the world. That's probably why you came to Tripoto. For travel inspiration.
Everyone is going somewhere, anywhere in search of nirvana. Apparently there is plenty of it available outside, but not at home.
"Transformations are by products of tough conditions."
Travel is almost always wonderful, no doubt. The stories funny and the pictures like worthy. You feel the high for a week, maybe two. Then it changes. You get back to the slog. Whatever happened to the transformation and inspiration?
Transformations are byproducts of tough conditions. It's when you get out of our comfort zone that you learn anything of value. Not when you sit on a beach and sip piña colada.
The real learning, the life altering realisations don't vanish in weeks or even months. They become a part of your entirety. Your lives take a turn for the better. Everything is the same, but everything seems different.
That's fine. A vacation doesn't have to change your life. May be your life doesn't need changing.
Travel can entertain and enthrall you. Show you a good time. But if you are looking for more than just sights and sounds, here is a thought. Make travel uncomfortable: Physically, mentally and spiritually.
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Let it question your assumptions, ideas and beliefs on life. Add a bit of pain and struggle to it. Don't stick to hunky-dory locations. Witness the diversity, the cultural differences and the poverty of the world. There is plenty. You may shut your eyes with disgust. But hope that it opens your mind.
A bit of physical discomfort
A physically challenging holiday can do wonders to your confidence level. Sleep in a tent, cook food without using microwave and take a dump in the open. Not the easiest things to do, especially for city-loving, spoilt brats like me.
You will realise your capabilities or the lack of it. The problems and ego hassles back home will seem petty. If you can climb mountains; you can do pretty much anything. Take that attitude to work and miracles will happen.
A different line of thought
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Any destination that offers a different approach to life and living is worth a visit. The Bhutanese measure progress with a system called Gross National Happiness. A far cry from materialistic life. Nature, and not always goods, are integral to their idea of well-being. It's like looking at the world upside down. It will shake you up.
Volunteer for a cause
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Volunteering is a great way to give back to a community. Go to Nepal and build homes in Earthquake-torn villages. Teach English in Africa or help preserve rainforests in Latin America. Be a part of something bigger than yourself.
A wise old man once told me, "Life is going from one discomfort zone to another without losing hope."
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