What makes us jump ship?
Maybe it’s the amazing foreign film you watched with your girlfriend. Or the fact that she’s now your ex-girlfriend. It might be a book like Into the Wild.
Maybe you’ve always known you were going to travel the world and make an impact – and you’ve even got a plan to do it!
Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because of a conversation like this:
“It’s pretty green there, huh? They have really old pubs, and lots of sheep, right? Hiking?! Lots of castles and a bloody, horrible history? I’m in!”
It all has to start somewhere, and that’s the beautiful part – it’s different for everyone. In the end though, the only thing that matters is you go for it.
I’ve spent a lot of my 20’s living in some incredible places, and having the experiences of a lifetime. Hiking in the jungles of Thailand? Check. Hitchhiking in New Zealand, and spending a ski season in their southern Alps? Yep. Trying to control a classroom of 40 Korean middle school children while ensuring they actually learn something? I lived to tell the tale. But despite all these adventures, there is still something I’m ashamed to say: I’ve said “no” more than I’d like to admit.
What do I mean?
–“Going urban exploring today, Ben?”
–“Nope. I’m dedicated to completing my marathon Facebook session with record levels of procrastination.“
–“Hosting couchsurfers from Estonia tomorrow, Ben?”
–“Sorry my friends, today is Sunday Funday – that includes pizza delivery and a full season of Mad Men on Netflix.”
Or, my personal favorite: simply choosing not to put pants on.
With today’s digitally interconnected world, young travelers often forget where they are and why they’re there. Moments of personal growth and discovery are sacrificed for screen time.
It’s so easy to cross that thin line where comfort turns into complacency. But what we do want is to make the most of our days.
It’s not that hard. Just close Instagram for long enough to actually see the object you’ve taken a picture of. Visit the local pub alone, if you really want to make friends. Bring a book to a park you’ve never visited. Get on CouchSurfing, and never look back. Take that weekend getaway. Find the top rated coffee shop on the other side of town.
I’m writing this because I’ve learned from experience. There are still days when no is the right answer, and when Netflix marathons do make the world a better place. But more often than not, saying yes has changed me for the better. I hope for your sake you can say: “Hey – I will put my pants on, too.”