How travel changes your life
--- and what happens when you come home from backpacking ---
Travel means a lot for us. It is not just a hobby, it is not just a vacation. It is about exploring our planet and changing our perspective on life. We are all inhabitants on this planet that is so unique in our universe. There are so many different climates and people have been able to live almost everywhere. Vast deserts, mountains, jungles, arctic places. Our planet is amazing and what humans achieved in few thousands of years is incredible.
If we look at our short life and compare it to nature, we realize that we are just a tiny tiny part of everything. There are animal and plant species that have been living here for millions of years. Himalayas have been created about 50 millions of years ago! And we don't even have 100 years on our planet.
So we don’t want to sit on one spot and throw away the opportunity to see the world. We were so lucky to be born in a great part of the world. There is no war in our country, we have freedom, we have enough food to eat, we can study for free, we have a high-tech and free healthcare. These are privileges that our ancestors didn’t have and many people in the world struggle to achieve today.
Many people say that travel changes you. It may be true. You don't know before you try, right? When you travel you meet new cultures and different people every day. You are discovering new views on life constantly. And that probably changes you, especially if you do it for longer periods. We decided to share with you our thoughts and feelings from backpacking. Maybe you know them too or you are just curious what happens when you go traveling and then you’ll come home.
You become less materialistic
You spent a long time with few essential things in your backpack and you realize you don't actually need more. The life is simple. It is so easy to pick between four T-shirts, when three of them are dirty. After coming home, you stand in front of your closet asking yourself why you have so much clothes. You stop shopping. You stop actually care about material things in general. You lived too long in your traveling universe where the only value is the experience. Always new, always exciting. Buying a new dress or a car can't really compare to that now.
You become more thankful
You are thankful now for things you have in your life, because you have seen so many people who were not that privileged. You realize it is not just automatic. You start to appreciate small things like tap drinking water or hot shower.
You become more patient
You used to wait for many things. Minibuses leave when they are full. When? Nobody knows. Time can be so relative. Waiting for someone for “five minutes” could mean 30 minutes in one country, it could be an hour somewhere else. Who cares? You got infected by the chilled vibe. You don’ get mad about small things. Not everything comes as planned. Shit happens. You can be shocked after coming home watching people in a supermarket getting crazy mad after waiting in the line for more than 3 minutes.
You realize that most people are good
People are the same everywhere in the world. We all want the same thing, to be happy. It doesn’t really matter what language, religion or culture. The world is not a scary place like media tells you. The world is an awesome and beautiful place. Sure, you can get killed anywhere. If you have a bad luck, it can be in front of your house. You don’t know that.
Poor people smile more
People in Southeast Asia are famous for smiling. They have a hard life, but they smile all the time. It is depressing to come back home, where people have everything they want, but they are pissed off about every single thing.
You hate routine now
After being free for a long time, it is incredibly boring and frustrating to get back to a certain routine. When you compare your three months of life at home working with three moths in Southeast Asia, you want either shoot yourself or buy a flight ticket to a very far place.
You are happy to come home, but...
It is great to see your family and friends again. It calms you down, nothing has changed. But wait, you have been out quite long and NOTHING HAS CHANGED! Nobody cares that your biggest life event was visiting a hill tribe in Southeast Asia. People have other "real" problems and they can't really relate to you now. You start every sentence with: "When we were in......" and nobody is interested to be honest. If they are interested, they ask you what is your favorite country, so you have to make it up, because I am afraid there is no such a thing...
Home just doesn’t feel like home the same way like before. Your country seemed like a vast ocean when you grew up. Now it seems like a drop in that ocean. It looks like there is no going back. You have left tiny parts of yourself at the places you visited, so you can't feel the same as before.
There is a small seed inside of you that grows and you can’t stop it. They call it a travel bug, but I don’t like bugs in my body, so I don’t call it that way :).
There is also scientific name, post travel depression. That is quite common for backpackers coming home from exotic countries. To the country where they grew up and where everybody speaks their language, but they still feel like foreigners there.
There is no doubt that traveling affects people, both in positive and negative way, I guess. And yes there is also one more thing that comes with traveling and that is craving for more...