Traveling is not about the photos at the end of a trip. Traveling is about learning and appreciating the local’s culture. Traveling is also about the preparation, the build-up, the excitement, the learning, and the interactions with like-minded people; other travelers and locals. Traveling, such as life is about tangible, engaging little moments.
These little moments are the very foundation to our lives. The more moments we experience, the more fulfilled your life will be. There is a distinct difference between those who have a fulfilling life and those who are empty. That difference, I believe, is the combination of curiosity and effort. Curiosity and effort are needed in conjunction in order to achieve your personal level of self-actualization. Curiosity is the driving force to understand and learn what your ‘why’ in life is. Effort is needed to validate your curiosity via trial and error, to see ‘who’ you are.
Growing up and even evolving as unique individuals, we are constantly comparing ourselves to an ever changing collection of people who have unequal denominators (upbringings and backgrounds). We set ourselves up for disappointment and failure by comparing each other’s current states of wellbeing and perceived levels of success. If we do not feel like we have achieved more than this individual we feel as if we are a failure. We take it out on ourselves and that very individual, that we are unfairly comparing ourselves to. Resentment is a byproduct of this self-defeating ritual of comparison. Resentment typically leads to your inaction, supported by invalid excuses. It’s imperative to recognize that without the appropriate action and effort, you will be achieving a self-fulfilling prophecy of believing your invalid excuses.
You must stop comparing yourself to others and instead you must start learning from others. Learn from their successes and their failures. Listen, witness and understand their effort (or lack of effort) via direct communication and not distant generalization. These interactions will be one of your biggest life learnings. It’s a valuable chance to figure out for yourself, how you can balance work and life, how you can travel, and how to live a life free of resentment. Without effort, I promise you, you will not be fulfilled. Put in the time and hard work no matter what. Do not compare, but rather learn.
I want to finish this short article with an example of how generalizing others experiences can ruin your travel plans. Say your dream trip is Thailand because you want to go:
- Hike in Chiang Mai
- Volunteer/participate at an elephant sanctuary
- Train in Muay Thai
- Do a yoga practice for ‘x’ amount of time
Now I chose some basic, high level examples of goals while traveling.
Then you see an individual you may like or not like post photos or statuses about her/his trip and how it was way too expensive to ride an elephant, the hiking was terrible because of the weather. Now what you are doing here is seeing your goals and dreams of this trip scrutinized. You lose interest and motivation towards this trip. You see all of their photos and everything else looks fun or okay, but you resent this individual and the location because of your generalization. If you did your research and found out the appropriate times to go this destination then you would work around the poor weather, and then found out that riding elephants is terrible for the elephant (unless it is at a sanctuary without any harnesses). So with your assumptions and lack of knowledge you are more easily swayed. This comparison to this individual who didn’t do their research ruined your mentality towards all of Thailand has to offer. Create your own experiences and learn from others, do not let it create a misguided opinion about travel and or life in general. You will be a happier traveler (and person) because of it