When I came back from my 9 month sojourn to South East Asia in 2010, everyone asked me sooner or later, ‘Did I get what I wanted from the trip?’ I always said yes to that question. I got so much from that trip, it is hard to calculate the total benefit of it, tangible and intangible. The second question after that is, inevitably, ‘What did you get from this trip?’
Why do I believe in the power of long-term travel? Because I have tried it and tested it to be true. It works. How does it work? That is a question that is hard to answer. For anyone who does yoga or meditation, you can attest to the fact that they are amazing practices, they are life-changing, and you wouldn’t give it up for the world. If you don’t practice for a day or two, you notice the ill-effects right away. You are cranky, you don’t feel like yourself, you are grumpy, your mind can’t stop moving, and you are just generally shunned by society due to your negative energy affecting them.
The effect of these practices isn’t noticed far and wide if you are diligent about them, and you keep on practicing faithfully for years. The effect is noticed when you stop. Even for a day. If you know what I’m talking about, I would deem to say, Long-term Travel has the same effects as Yoga and Meditation on me. The benefits that I get from Long-term Travel are intangible and huge, but they aren’t something I can measure, or hold up to a microscope. It isn’t something I can coherently explain, or show. It isn’t a change on the physical shell of my body, on the outside covering that I show to the world.
It is intangible and miraculous in my mind. It shows up in the crevices of my insides that haven’t been shown the light for ages. It is beautiful and life-changing. I feel better about myself. I feel better about my place in the world, and about the world in general. I feel like I am actually living my life to the fullest, squeezing every drop from it. I am not waiting for the someday isle to start living, I’m doing it in the present. I am living in the present moment, not in the past or the future. I am taking care of myself, my planet, my fellow beings. I’m happy and satisfied.
None of the feelings or changes I list can be explained to someone else. They will see your old self coming back a bit poorer, a bit worn-out looking. They will not be able to see your insides. So I gave up explaining to the people around me. I knew it helped me, and that is all that matters.