When it comes to travel, I’m on the fence.
From my perspective, travel’s always done more out of obligation than anything else. Travel was always done with the family: we’d go through the motions of touring a country, seeing new things, things like that. Till today though, I can’t say that there has been an experience where I felt invigorated, or really alive, or felt anything. I’ve had to ask myself what travel is meant to do to you, as a person, and after returning from a family trip recently, I don’t think my conceptual understanding of what travel is meant to do to you, has changed.
Travel is meant to broaden your horizons. It’s meant for you to experience new cultures, new things, to be more knowledgeable, maybe, of the world around you. It’s also meant for you to create new memories with those around you (if you’re travelling in a group), or to teach you self-management skills (if you’re travelling alone).
But on an emotional level, there was something about this trip that left me anxious. I was anxious throughout the trip, and I couldn’t really share about it, not to the people that I was with. Every day that I was there, I found myself frustrated, wanting to just head back to the hotel and hide. I wanted to lash back at those who bumped into me to leave me alone, I wanted to find a corner of the street to sit at, and hide, and not have anyone be near me.
It was suffocating. To be stuck in a street with hundreds of people, all of them just shouting, talking, pushing their way through life, getting from one destination to another all while trying to navigate my way through a foreign city, just isn’t my idea of fun.
I’d made the mistake of letting some know that I was going overseas, and I got bombarded with recommendations on what to do, what to see, in order to make the trip worth it. I had to try this, I had to see this. Don’t get me wrong: there’s nothing wrong with receiving or giving recommendations to others. People just want to be friendly and helpful, and offer their own experience to help make the other person’s trip better.
But what frustrated me about it, was that I had to do things to make this trip worth it. Why do I need to go to a specific place, just to make it worth it? Why do I have to plan out every hour to make sure that we see all of these things? What’s with the schedule that we’ve got that is so planned out and regimented? Is there a need?
Why not just be and just enjoy the place for what it is? No real need to meet this supposed goal of places to go and things to see, no real need to push yourself to meet this schedule, to make the day worth it.
A goal that I had for myself this year, was to be happier. It’s a goal that I set for myself every year, and generally, every year, there’s always something to be happy about, and something to be sad about.
But for next year? I think I might try solo travel. Doing it on my own, just being, and letting myself figure things out. A quieter place, for one thing, to let myself relax and enjoy the place for what it is, and what it might have to offer.