“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”
“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”
“To travel is to live.”
“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”
The list of these ‘deep and inspiring’ travel-related quotes is truly endless. I mean they might sound cool and catchy when you first hear them, but a couple thousand Instagram captions later you just tire of them and they all just seem like a massive empty cliche.
I completely agree that travel helps you grow as a person, develop new skills, makes you more sensitive and teaches you to appreciate the little things more, it gives you new perspectives and enriches your life in many many ways.
But when people make such big and broad statements, I found that I just want to find out the story behind. How exactly did travel shape you and form you and change you? What made you feel like “it’s the only thing you buy that makes you richer”? I want to hear the fun stories and the not-so-fun stories as well. I want more than just a sentimental Instagram caption.
I know it’s impossible to share it all and not everything is meant to be shared of course. And sometimes it’s just a scent or a rhythm that made you feel some way that’d be impossible to describe, even if you tried.
I also know there’s nothing new under the sun so some of the things that I’ve experienced and the lessons that I’ve learnt might sound just as cliche to someone else as those quotes. But I love listening to the little stories behind the big statements so if you’re anything like me, here comes a selection of the things that I experienced during my adventures and escapades –
When I volunteered in Bali with people from all over the world, from Canada to Australia to Germany to Texas, and we always went to our local bar Cupit, and this really talented guy Lio (the owner) started playing the guitar and singing these songs, like Wonderwall by Oasis and we were all crooning along. And Indonesia was so different to where I grew up and all these people came from such different places and cultures as well, and it was just one of the most amazing things for me to experience something so universal somewhere so far away from everything that I knew and was familiar with.
When I worked in a summer camp for seniors in Pennsylvania (USA) in 2011 and the Hurricane Irene hit us and the power went out and I remember we all worked together as a pro team and I found it pretty fascinating. And then we started serving lunch and the dining room was lit up with candles when the lights came back on and people started smiling and clapping. And it was such a touching moment for me to realize just how much happiness and relief a little light and a group of cool people can bring.
Also, that was a good reminder of just how strong and powerful nature is.
When I learned how to say a couple of basic things in Japanese when I visited Tokyo and I realized what a difference a simple ‘thank you’ in the local language can make.
When I stayed in a cheap hostel and needed a hair dryer and asked around and the only person that could give me one was a bald guy. And that was the moment that made me realize that miracles do happen.
When I worked at the Paralympic Games in London and saw that one of the athletes, a blind football player dropped a water bottle and caught it before it fell on the ground. And when people went like ‘whoa’, he was just like ‘hey you gotta improve your senses, a good old drink-saving trick can become the gold medal of your social life’. It didn’t only change the way I looked at him or at disabled people before, but the way I looked at my own life and problems as well.
When I tried a really disgusting looking local dish in Turkey and it turned out to be frikkin awesome. This is something I always want to keep in mind – not only to always
say yes to weird looking Turkish street food but you know, to stay open minded, curious, tolerant and interested as well.
When I went on safari in South Africa and saw all these amazing animals in their natural habitat. I was diagnosed with type1 diabetes just 2 days prior to that trip and felt pretty depressed as you can imagine and that experience just made me so appreciative of the fact that I’m alive and I can see and experience this amazing planet of ours.
When I was in Sri Lanka on a psychology placement and we went to this care home where most of the patients didn’t speak English and I remember that I was really scared of the language barrier and kept on thinking ‘how the hell am I going to communicate with them’. And then it all worked out so naturally and it really helped me to learn how to worry less and how to trust more. Myself, the people around me, and just the whole situation as well.
When I touched down in Sydney and it was the furthest away I’ve ever been from home and saw the Opera House for the first time and I was like “wow this place really does exist“. It was such a surreal moment, I’ll never forget it.
When I arrived at one of my British friends’ place in Seoul, South Korea and the first thing I saw in her apartment was a jar of Marmite. And I’m not sure whether the haters gonna hate hate hate and if the fakers gonna fake fake fake but just the fact that Britons surely gonna eat eat eat their Marmite seemed like a pretty reassuring thought and a feeling of certainty right there, a world away from the UK.
Every time when I go abroad and people ask me where I’m from and when I tell them I’m from Hungary and someone finally DOESN’T make the ‘does that mean you’re hungry?’ joke – it restores my faith in humanity.
When I got sick overseas and was taken to the doctors with a tuktuk and got some drugs prescribed that I’ve never even heard of and wasn’t sure whether they’re contraindicated with my levothyroxine tablets and I felt like ‘ok I’m probably going to die here’ and surprisingly I didn’t. And it just made me feel like such a survivor & independent woman & everything else Beyonce ever sang a song about. (Although I couldn’t imagine a better place to pass out than in a tuktuk.)
When my friends and I arrived to New York and our host cancelled our first night on that very day, so we were standing there in the middle of Manhattan, without anywhere to go. And by the end of that same day, not only did we get accomodation offered by some of the nicest people – but we also received free tickets from a random woman on 6th Ave to a Cirque du Soleil show in Radio City Music Hall. It was such a zero to hero moment. And I just felt like everything is possible in New York City.
When I jumped out of a plane while skydiving in Wollongong, Australia and experienced that feeling of freedom. God that was crazayyyy.
When I visited the Green School in Bali, Indonesia and it was the most inspiring place in the world and I learned about holistic education which concentrates on kids as whole human beings, not just their intellectual but also their emotional, physical and spiritual growth. And there were so many great ideas in that school, I just wanted to learn everything about it and keep everything in mind and take those ideas home and one day create something like that where I live as well. I love that feeling.
And of course whenever I arrive home after a long journey and see the places I’ve known forever from a whole different perspective and appreciate the familiar things on a whole new level. That is 100000% one of the best things about traveling.