We’re all so good at making ourselves comfortable. Well, I don’t know about you personally, but I’m pretty good at it. You grow up in a house, and you’re comfortable there. You go to a school, and you’re comfortable there. You live in a city, and…what’s that? You’re comfortable. But when you finish school and suddenly…poof! There’s no more asking to go to the bathroom, you have to pay taxes (fuck my life), and you can probably wear whatever you like. Despite whether you’re studying or working, there’s this all important thing that I’m so glad I did, and that I’m about to tell you to do. It’s this little thing called travel.
Look, I like to think that I’m worldly enough to give you all good advice. Yeah, okay. I’m sure you’ll get over these inspirational posts and be like ‘fuck you Elly, you don’t know my life’, and you’re totally right! I don’t know you at all! But here’s me. By reading this blog, you’re learning not just my name but my story (hahahahah, shut up it’s funny). Anyway. What I’m trying to do here is inspire you so get ready for a shit tonne of inspiration.
When I went travelling, I was FUCKING TERRIFIED. It was this guy that made me do it, and despite the fact that we broke up before I actually went, I still went travelling because I’m an independent woman who don’t need no man. However, this post isn’t about him so stop waiting because it isn’t going to happen. No, it’s about how because of that relationship, I came to travel.
I didn’t want to travel, seriously. When I was 13 I decided that I wanted to be married by 22 (I better get to it), and I wanted to pop out mini versions of my grand self by the time I was 25. And now? Now I say fuck THAT. Through travelling, I learned this little thing that NONE of us are born with, or even taught in school. You may see it as sad, and possibly even conflicting, but it’s not. It’s actually something I thrive from. It’s the fact that we are all insignificant.
Remember those times when you were like, 10 and you got an award just for participating in something even though you probably sucked? Well, when you go travelling, you’ll probably realise that shit is too good to be true. And it is. I travelled Europe, and I saw architecture, artwork, ancient literature and I saw people that seemed genuinely happy with their lives despite what little some of them had. That’s right, no resting bitch faces there.
But…you know the people who made those extravagant things? Yeah well, they’re probably dead. No, no, keep reading. There is a point to this. I saw all of these incredible things, letters from queen to queen, paintings from Van Gough himself, and I realised how insignificant I am. How insignificant each and everyone of us are. But through this, I grasped the truth of how much of an opportunity I have to make a difference – no matter how big or small – just like these appreciated historical figures.
We live our lives studying things only to work jobs that we most likely hate. We buy items that are later thrown away because they’re unappreciated. And worst of all, WORST OF ALL, we waste meals with store bought packets that give us literally nothing. Why? Why do we do these things?
When I travelled I appreciated the small stuff. The sunrise, the meal that seemed to taste so much better, and even toilet paper – BECAUSE SOME PLACES DON’T HAVE THAT. We’re so used to having everything handed to us on a platter and we’re all so god damn impatient. God forbid we actually wait for something! But I’ll tell you what, after spending THREE HOURS waiting to get my food in Italy, I developed that trait of patience like nothing else. Well, for food anyway.
Before I went to Europe, I worked a job I hated. I woke up, went to work, and went home only to waste a good $200 per week on my online shopping addiction. I ate, breathed and lived. And I’m so glad I did – because now that I’ve done the trip that I saved so hard for (not to mention that I’m currently saving to go back), I realised that I will NEVER do that again.
It’s through travel that you realise every day is an opportunity. Sure, spend some to bludge and some to sleep. But not every day ‘Netflix and chilling’. What’s the point? What are you gaining? Why not spend more time doing things that you would do on an expensive holiday or even in your own city? I took a gap year, and now I’m studying a degree that I’m actually interested in. I took a year to find who I am as a person. Yes, of course I’m still learning more about myself everyday, but travel literally pushes you to a point where you truly consider who you are as an individual, or who you aspire to be.
The thing is, without realising that you’re insignificant – again, scary shit – you won’t realise what you’re capable of. And sure, there are more ways to have that personal discovery, but travel is just majestical with this life learning curve. You have so many possibilities and opportunities, the world feels like your oyster, yet there are things you can’t control. Things like your flight being delayed or cancelled, trips taking the wrong turn, or anything super random and potentially stress-related – mark me, it’ll happen while you’re travelling. I dropped my phone down a toilet on my second day in France, the same phone that had all of my travel and money info. I also got terribly drunk and took out too much the wrong amount of money for the worst currency in the world (tip: don’t get money out when you’re drunk just because you want truffles). But hey, I’m still here, and through that I realised that I didn’t need to sweat the things in life that would usually stress me out like an ant eater with no ants to eat.
I’m not saying to quit your degree and travel right away. But I’m saying that you should consider it, or even something less – like travelling around your own country. Because every day is an opportunity to further yourself as a person and to learn things about yourself that you would’ve never learnt looking at a screen. Don’t give the argument that you can’t afford it, because you can – you just need calm down with that shopping addiction or the chicken nugget addiction or the…coffee addiction? (I’m lying, there’s always money for coffee) Because if you’re lying on your death bed two days from now, will you be thinking about that expensive outfit you bought the other day to go clubbing in, or the moments that you truly lived?
Go somewhere, appreciate the small stuff, look at what you’ve done for yourself to get to that point, and just breathe it all in. To the world, you may very well be insignificant, but to yourself, you should be everything.