You hate your job, your relationship is draining you, or maybe you’re just bored. You feel like you’ve been in the same situation for way too long, and you’ve gotten to this terrible point where you don’t even feel you have the energy anymore to do anything about it. Even if you did have the energy, you don’t know what to do. There are so many options, you’re totally confused. All you know is that NOTHING sounds good right now. Nothing except running the fuck away.
The minute you tell people you need to “get away from it all’ and travel, their usual comeback is that you’re running away from your problems rather than dealing with them. In some cases this is true. Sometimes we know that we’re being wussies. We should just break up with so and so, or apply for a better job, and that petting elephants in Thailand won’t really change that fact, it’ll just delay things from getting better.
Well, I’m here to say that sometimes you just need to pet an elephant in Thailand. Even if that means you have no idea where you’re going to live after you get back from Thailand. Sometimes you really just need to get away from it all to think. All the clutter in your mind is clouding your head, and making it so that you don’t really know what you want anymore.
That’s where travel comes in.
There is no better time to realize how meaningless all the facts you hold dear are as when you’re in a foreign country and you can’t figure out how to flush the toilet. Things are different, like everything, and that extends to things much greater than toilet flushers, but it’s important to note just how minute these differences can be – yet at the same time crucial since flushing the toilet is pretty important. Point is, everything you know has everything to do with where you were born and brought up, and sometimes being free from that perspective can help you to think more clearly.
For example, as a native Pennsylvanian, I didn’t realize that adulthood didn’t have to revolve around a grueling day job plagued with family obligations until I moved to California and met tons of happy adults who still attended orgy parties and surfed. It was in California that I was introduced to the Tim Ferris variety of people. People who worked independently or for companies they loved, but still valued having a good quality of life. When I moved to NYC, a place that was culturally much more similar to where I grew up, I struggled with the way that everyone associated themselves with the work they did and seemed to give two shits about taking hikes in the woods (seriously, New Yorkers really need to appreciate nature more.) Why didn’t they realize that life wasn’t all about work? Because life being all about work was all they knew! The only reason I didn’t feel like an alien in NYC is because I HAD been to California and knew that not everyone opens every conversation with, “so what do you do?” (In fact that’s seen as a very invasive thing to ask right off the bat, at least in San Francisco.) I don’t think I would have been the person I am today if I didn’t go to California because my experience there truly helped me figure out what type of life I want to live, and to do that I needed to see that things can be done differently.
And that’s what travel is all about. Sometimes you need to see things done differently to realize what’s truly possible. And sometimes just reading that everything is possible on a blog, banner, or your least favorite hippie friend’s Facebook page isn’t enough to get that fact through your thick skull. Everything is possible. Which is why, sometimes, we have to run away to place where it’s possible for our toilets to emit perfume and play music while we poop. Because even that is possible, ant that’s mind blowing.
What about you? What realities seem so real to you that you need to escape them? And where do you think these realities would most likely fall flat? Let me know in the comments below!
P.S. That place would be Japan.