Before I started this travel blog, I spent a lot of time thinking about domain names. When I came up with No Strings Travel, a lot of people asked me what exactly that meant. I’ve never quite been able to articulate that, but I think I may have finally accomplished that. It has everything to do with how long-term travel changes you.
There are few things in this world that have affected me as much as spending over a third of a year backpacking and exploring different countries. Long-term travel rewires your brain in a remarkable way.
It is an addiction to a feeling
As much as I wish I could, I do not get to travel constantly. But my experiences with long-term travel have had an immense impact on how I carry out my every day life. There is a constant and inexplicable feeling of freedom that you can only know once you have gone beyond the customary “two-week vacation” period and your comfortable and predictable lifestyle back home starts to feel more and more distant. As the weeks go by, your “strings” begin to untie and every day holds no set plan, but instead endless possibilities. I think about that feeling every day. It is an addiction. I do anything and everything that I can to get a taste of it whenever I can.
Every day is an opportunity for adventure.
I am always bothered and surprised when people denounce nearby places because they’re too close or they aren’t “foreign.” If you’re snobbing off weekend camping trips or even just day hikes in the park, it’s time to open your eyes. This travel mindset is about how every day of life is an opportunity for adventure. It is a journey for yourself, not for other people.
Travel for yourself, not your image.
A lot of people seem to want to wear travel as a badge of fashion and self-promotion. They want people to think that they are cool or more interesting by doing it. What a waste of potential and self-growth. Travel helped me grieve the loss of my father. It made me explore and discover myself in ways I never before thought possible. It seems like very few people from my generation really know what they want with their life. If done for the right reasons, long-term travel will help you reflect and work through these things. If you travel for yourself, you’ll get so much more out of it.
Long-term travel to find your passion.
My experiences abroad have also encouraged me to commit to becoming a Spanish teacher. Every day, I work to influence my students to become global citizens. And in an increasingly xenophobic and intolerant country (see 45th elected President of the USA), spreading interest and excitement for other cultures seems like the most important mission I could possibly take on at this time. The low pay doesn’t bother me too much as I have gotten accustomed to living cheaply and actually prefer travel on the cheap. I also really enjoy being able to leave work and still have daylight left in the day for a bike ride or a hike. Oh, and only 180 workdays out of the year ain’t so bad either…
One of my favorite quotes is from Helen Keller: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” No matter what your type of adventure, stop blowing it off!