Traveling for the first time can be scary. The first time I left for a long trip I was full of worries and doubts. I was heading out on my own, leaving the comfort and safety of my house, and heading to something that was totally new and exciting. Only after traveling for the last several years have I come to the conclusion there is nothing to be afraid of, because you’ve already experienced all these feelings – the first time you left for Kindergarten. Some of the simplest rules often have the biggest benefits.
Because, really, everything you needed to know for here:
You already learned here:
So if you find yourself caught up in the stress of finding your next flight, or the fear of heading out into the unknown, remember you already know the essentials:
Be open to everyone you meet
If you’ve ever had the experience of being the new kid, then you know how scary it can be to walk into an environment where you don’t know anyone. Remembering when you’re traveling that almost everyone is “the new kid”, and they are just waiting for someone to talk to them. Listen to fellow traveler’s stories, befriend someone new on the street, and don’t be afraid to ask for directions.
It’s OK to get a little bit dirty
Dirt and sand never bothered me when I was a kid. As a traveler, I try and live my life the same. Traveling can be messy. You’re missing trains, you’re tramping through dirt roads behind a village, you’re exploring the coast in pouring rain. Adventure is never neat! A little dirt didn’t hurt you then , and it can’t hurt you now.
Playtime is important
Never be afraid to disregard an itinerary to experience something unexpected. Traveling should never feel like a chore. If it’s fun, keep doing it. If it’s not, stop. Don’t let expectations ruin the experience.
The best stuff happens outside
Sometime as I got older I realized it was getting harder and harder to drag myself from the T.V. and to get outside. The same applied to travel: too many obligations, too little time. But remember how you felt before recess. You knew that all the best stuff happened outside, and it’s the same now. Make the effort to get out and explore, even if it’s in your hometown. Travel is as much a state of mind as an actual physical activity.
Never stop being curious
The best part about being a kid was the fact that you didn’t know anything, so everything you found out was amazing. Travel helps re-activate this part of the brain. Being in a new place, with a new language and set of customs, is the closest you can come to regaining that feeling of wonder. As long as you’ve got this, everything else should be no sweat.
Featured image source: Carl Jones on Flickr