Traveling is often projected as the solution to every problem. If you are tired of your job, the movies show you that a trip is the perfect escape. If you are tired of the monotony of your everyday routine, your Instagram feed will reveal breathtaking views and posts encouraging you to travel. If you are having an existential crisis, then every novel, film, and social media feed will tell you that booking a flight to the middle of nowhere is precisely what you need to find yourself.
But does it really work that way? Traveling is indeed a means of gaining experiences and knowledge. You see the world and enjoy yourself learning about a new place, its people and culture. But this does not mean you will undergo metamorphosis and come back as a completely changed individual. At the end of the day, you will still be the same person.
When you travel, you will see new, beautiful places, and the scenery will make you happy, but it will not magically change you or make the world a better place. Also, while traveling can give you many experiences, it’s what you take home from those experiences that matters most.
At the end of the day, traveling does not enlighten you. Only you can do that. And you do not have to travel to the other side of the world for this; personal growth, and enlightenment can come from deep conversations, philosophizing, reading, and keenly observing the world around you.
Another overrated concept associated with traveling is the “escape” it offers from your everyday life. Sure, you won’t go to work for a week or fifteen days, but you will work before and right after you get back. Your job will not just disappear because you took a trip. Chances are that even when you are away, your mind will still be occupied by the troubles you left behind. And when you come back home, they will still be there and you will have to face them eventually.
Traveling these days is a hassle, and often offers no less stress than your everyday life. Firstly, traveling is expensive, so forget about spontaneously packing up your bags and leaving. You need to save up, decide a budget, and thoroughly plan this out. The days of your trip depend on the flight schedule, which may or may not match your holiday schedule. Your flights might get delayed time and time again, and you may find yourself staying at a nearby hotel only to wake up at absurd times to catch a flight to your next destination. You will have to wait in line to rent a car, only to reach your hotel after you have wasted the whole day. And let’s not ignore the jetlag!
It would not be true to say that travelling is not fun and exciting. There is nothing wrong with traveling, but it will not teach you everything you need to know about life. Just enjoy the moment, but remember that you have a life to get back to. Traveling is a great experience, but attaching unrealistic expectations to it is a recipe for disappointment.