It’s easy to get caught up and fall into a bubble, one which we can’t seem to get out of. A bubble that unconsciously creates restrictions within us and limits our beliefs, darkening paths that should be and once were visible.
Travel Can Change Your Life
For 6 years I lived inside a bubble, and most of that time was spent within the four walls of my room. Not interested in life. Not interested in the world. My teenage years were lonely years and I remember very little about them. It’s only through the stacks of pages filled with the sad stories that I wrote that I can retrace glimpses of the lonely, sad and narrow minded boy I was back then. I feel for myself each time I read one of those stories. But the truth of the matter is, I am also glad that I spent 6 years between those four walls. Because the day I turned 18 I was impelled by such an intense voice from deep inside me to break away from everything. That summer, I came down from my room, walked downstairs and told my mom, “Mom, I am going to South Africa.” I explained to her that I had found this building project where volunteers can go and help build something vital for the local town. In this case it was a school. She looked at me with wide eyes, not sure how to respond at first, but then she nodded, and said “I’ll pay for you to go.” I thanked my mom gratefully for that, because she knew just as much as I did, that something had to change. But I thank myself just as much, because it was my action that ultimately set me free.
How Travel Changed My Life
I had chosen the most far flung country I could imagine. I can honestly say that it wasn’t because I was particularly interested in seeing what South Africa had to offer, but merely because I wanted to get as far away as possible from my room and from the life that was making me miserable. Or rather, to get away from the person who I had become. Little did I know that the day I waved goodbye to my mom, step-father and sister, I also waved goodbye to the narrow minded boy who didn’t like life.
Late that night I landed in Cape Town – all alone. But that changed immediately. I was picked up by a friendly African and some of the other volunteers. Everyone welcomed me with big smiles, handshakes and even a few kisses. I was taken to my host family where I was welcomed with open arms and the next months where filled with beautiful nights with laughter, crackling fires and smiling people all around me. Jaw dropping landscapes which I couldn’t believe could be real. Lions, Elephants, Buffalos, Rhinos… all there right in front of me not just grainy images on the TV. A whole world came alive that I did not even know existed. And slowly but steadily something happened inside me. I felt excitement coursing through my veins, a feeling I had not felt for a long long time.
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Taking that step, as hard as it was, healed parts within me that I thought where not fixable. I came back after 2 months as a different person and everyone I knew told me “You’ve changed.” And I had. I felt a certain energy running through me, I felt alive. That sensation was awakened by the world and that awakening had brought curiosity into my life again. Before I knew it, I was on a plane again, this time leaving on a 3 year journey around the world. A journey of self-healing and discovery. While seeing for myself just what a magnificent world we live in, I was also being educated by that world and the people I met along the journey. Every day, the bubble I had been trapped inside of for 6 years grew weaker and weaker until one day it finally popped.
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Traveling healed me by simply reopening my view upon the world and myself. It allowed me to take in new ways of living and new ways of being. No longer did I hate the person who I was, because through my journeys I had to learn to cope and take care of myself, and through those experiences I learned to understand the deeper roots within me. No longer did I hate the world. I saw the world for what it was, a magnificent, stunning, beautiful, awe- inspiring place.
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I was stuck for 6 years inside a belief that was created by the place that I lived in: my room. And what my room had taught me throughout those yeas was this: all there is in life is this tiny room. This is exactly what many of us experience in our lives, it is just that my bedroom is substituted for another space, another bubble, another trap, another prison. It may come in the form of a job, a relationship, the town or city you live in, the friends you have. The restrictions you and your life create, dictate and define the way you behave and ultimately the person you become.
Removing yourself from the familiar and opting for the unfamiliar opens up the unknown. And within the unknown there are questions we have never asked ourselves; experiences we have never imagined; lessons we have never had a chance to learn. What we ultimately need when we are stuck within a bubble, is change. Another perspective of seeing and knowing what is possible. Traveling will open that up for you. The world will play its role; all you need to do, is pack your bags and allow it to happen.
Jellis Vaes is a world traveler, a photographer, writer and the founder of Inner Picture Stories, a blog that recombines two of life’s gateways: travel and wisdom. Follow his journey on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube
Summary: How Travel Can Change Your Life
For 6 years I lived locked away from the world in my room. Trapped within the beliefs of what my room taught me: that all there was in life was this tiny empty space. The day I turned 18, I took a huge risk. I left everything behind and went traveling. What started as a 2 month journey to South Africa ended in a 3 year journey around the world. A journey of self-healing and discovery. While seeing for myself just what a magnificent world we live in, I was also educated by that world and the people I met along the journey.
The main lesson/take away is that the surroundings we live in defines our view of the world. They bring us down, imprisoning us within a bubble where we forget what more there is to see in life, and in the world outside that bubble. By traveling, by going into the unknown, we are faced with new perspectives, new challenges and are forced to ask new questions, which ultimately can free us and create a new reality.