Let’s talk straight. We run from cliches. But reality is, life is full of cliches. And it takes lot of work and faith to break these cliches. In some cases, all it takes is one trip to reverse life’s mundane offerings into something more meaningful. In the last two years, I have traveled extensively, more than I did in my 26 years of life. It has changed me as person would be an overstatement. However, it has definitely left impressions on me, a profound impact with irreversible changes.
I am weird. I am normal. I am ME.
Throughout my life, I have got people calling me pretentious, hyper, weird, rude, smart and incredibly I have listened to all of them. I felt bad, wiggled in self-pity, tried to make amends to my behavior and please everybody so that I could get them to like me. But last two years of travel have made me realize that people will criticize you no matter what you do. I have come to terms that I cannot please everybody. And that it is ok. I might be weird, I might be annoying. But I am Me. And it is nobody’s business. Let people judge me.
Damn the Career.
Fortunately or unfortunately, kids our world are raised to be successful doctors, lawyers, great actors and if you are not one, you are not one of them, then lord save you. We are raised to earn the grades, stack up the money, get promotions and wait one whole year for some cents of a raise. While I haven’t quit my career to live the life of my dreams, not yet, I am now much more comfortable if there’s no work. I am comfortable to exhaust my stock of leaves at work to travel more. I have stopped comparing my life to my colleagues and their high life. I now no more gaze through my friends’ Facebook profiles to plan my vacation. I am content with my own travels and my life in general. If I feel I want to take a break, I now ask for leaves and set off on new discoveries.
Money is not the real currency.
I have come to realize, that running behind money is holding sand tightly in your hands. The more you want to hold it, the more it gets away from you. And therefore, chasing money is chasing a mirage. Instead chase the people. Chase cultures. Appreciate your differences. Stack people and not money. I have learnt to love the company of people more. I am now able to respect our different mindsets. More importantly, I have become more tolerant of people back home. Because money might come and go. But people stay, even if it is in some part of your heart.
No point being judgmental.
Talking of people, I am people intolerant. I prefer a lonely time on a beach to an evening full of people with unnecessary chatter, huge egos and childish behaviors. However, as I travel more and meet different people from different backgrounds, socio-economic backgrounds, cultures and landscapes, it is becoming evident that people will be people. They will be different and there is no point in being judgmental about them. What is right for one, doesn’t mean wrong for the other. Evil for one necessarily doesn’t mean bad for others. People cannot be bind by generalization. People come together by sharing, by being empathetic. I might struggle by my load-shedding hours at home. But what a human living in remote Sahara desert goes through, I might have no idea. I might want to flaunt my curves. But I would have no idea why another woman would encourage wearing a hijab. Who am I to judge her mindset if that is what she wants?
So what are your thoughts? Has travel made an impact enough to change you? Or you have just become a better person?