Monday, June 2, 2014

All Around the World: The Travel Bug

Wanderlust: A very strong and irresistible impulse or desire to travel the world.
Image via
He's got it. Can you tell?

There's a bug you catch, unlike any other, that stays with you forever no matter how many times you treat it's symptoms or address it's ailments. It's always with you, it never leaves, and everyone wants to catch it. Unlike it's cousin, the Love Bug, it never breaks your heart or leaves you achey breaky. On the contrary, it expands your heart with each new encounter, each new kiss of adventure. This, my friends, is the Travel Bug.

You already know I have it, and bad with a capital B. Like breathing or drinking water, I must see the world. I have to. It is so full of beauty. Magnificent, amazing, breathtaking beauty. I hope one day you feel this, too. This need that will never be satisfied, a thirst never quenched, because I believe if you just open your eyes wide enough (and, more importantly, your mind and heart), you will see the world as it really is - the magic and mystery and spirit - and the veil will be lifted.

I don't know how you feel about this or if you've quite caught the bug yet, but every inch of my being believes I am meant to see this entire, wonderful world. And because my brain doesn't function like others, because I think in letters and poems and written words better than spoken ones, I will continue to try and share the world with you the best way I know how, on here, through typed experiences and moments captured on film.

All of the adventures have taught me lessons. Here are some of those random, weird, and hopefully helpful lessons.

1. We're all the same
We might look a little different, talk a little different, and have different ideas, but ultimately we are all exactly the same. We love, hurt, laugh, and cry. We want to be happy. We want to connect with something,  someone. We want to understand - life, each other, ourselves.

I have this theory about people all over the world and how traveling plays a piece in our connections to each other. I like to think that through each new experience I become a blend of everyone. I become a piece of them and they become a piece of me. Over enough time, we all become pieces of each other. This thought makes me happy. This makes me think that I have friends I don't know the names of yet in each and every county, but one day - one day - I will know them and we will share pieces of ourselves together.
2. Here is no better than there
As contradictory as that might sound, since I'm always going somewhere, it's true. If you leave with an intent to get away for an adventure, that's one thing. If you leave with an intent to just simply get away, you'll come to find that here, truly, is no better than there. Better is in you. Better is something you make within yourself. It is not a place. It is peace within.
3. Kindness is a universal language
I, sadly, do not speak anything except English fluently, and that is even sometimes questionable. But I am pretty good in the language of kindness and that, I have discovered, is all you really need no matter where you go.

But for there record, it's always appreciated when you at least try to speak a few words of their native language.
4. Peace is spelled: Respect
I may believe differently than you do, but that's because this is my life. Not yours...and vice versa. That doesn't make me better or smarter or more anything than you.

If you can take this same thought with you into all the places you go, you will find how easy it is to connect with people without the confines that judgement brings.
5. Teleportation would be excellent to have
Stay with me here, people, I have a point. Maybe not a great one, but a point nonetheless. I like planes, trains, and automobiles, but I am also impatient and Australia is too far from my house. Not that it's going to stop me, but I'm just saying...we went to the moon, we can definitely do this.

But since we don't have that option right now, make the most of what we do have. Yes, airports can be annoying and cars can be too, but at least you have options. The buggy life of days gone by, where you couldn't get any-freaking-where for, like, a year, was awful. We've got it good. Realize that and traveling will be waaaaaay better for you. Also, watch this Louis C. K. video where he basically explains what I'm trying to say in a far more hysterical way.
6. The people make the places
Go there, wherever there is for you, and meet the people. Learn from them, laugh with them, see how they see the world. You may be the most fascinating thing they've ever seen. They may ask you all about your life because they really, truly want to know what it's like to be you, because you, my friend, are unrepeatable to them.

And that is exactly how you should treat them.

Let them show you what their world looks like. Let them show you things you might not be able to fathom. I guarantee you there is magic in the world in places you would least expect to find it. Let the people show you their place in whatever way they know how to.
7. Always, always, always bring an umbrella
Because it will rain. Especially if you didn't bring one. It will rain a lot in that case.

7a. And a flashlight
In case you climb a mountain at 4am and you didn't know you were going to do that because you massively failed to read your itinerary.
8. Move
Let. Yourself. Go.

Get lost. Take a new path. Move your feet, your body, your soul to rhythms you've never heard and places you've never been.

Rick Mereki made an awesome video that you really need to see. One minute of your life, that's all.
9. Third world countries rock
Third world countries are excellent vacation destinations. When I leave, I feel more connected to the world and far more grateful for my life than when I began the journey.

I also recommend going alone, at least once in a while. Alone can be truly alone or in a group tour. Either way, go out and meet some new friends because, well, you have to in this case. I've met the most amazing, kind hearted, fantastic people on this planet. And I'm lucky enough to call them friends now.

With third world countries you experience a new culture so vastly different than yours that, I guarantee, you will leave feeling thankful for all you've been blessed with in life (even the bad things will seem minuscule). The people are, in my experience, incredibly friendly. And while you're there, stock up on birthday, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Grandparents Day, whatever-holiday presents. They're unique and they're handmade, therefore, you're supporting that local artists/designer and you're helping the economy and them by giving them the means to put food on the table. More bang for your buck in every way possible.

Important things to consider:
  • They can't handle our way of living, so be open minded and follow their way of life. 
  • There will be weird toilets. Read up before you go. You'll be fine.
  • They don't have trash or recycling like we do and, in many cases, they have a hard time supporting all the tourists and the trash we bring with us (plastic bottles, for example). Please don't litter and please help keep your trash limited.
  • Be open minded. Beds will be hard, hugs or hand holding may be their form of a handshake, and they'll probably ask you a lot of personal questions. It's just normal for them.

Whatever you do, I hope, at some point in your life, you catch this amazing, life changing, awareness altering travel bug.

All images via Melia Metikos Society 6

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