Traveling has completely and utterly changed my life.
Honestly, how could it not have?
I left the comfort of home and submerged myself into a variety of different cultures and religions. It would be insane to not return home as a completely new person after experiencing that type of lifestyle.
My times overseas are among the most memorable experiences of my life, and I wouldn't trade them in for anything.
That being said, there are a few things I wish I would have known before stepping onto my first flight. In no way was I prepared for the magnitude of alteration that was about to occur on my life and myself.
That 17-hour plane ride was a pivotal time of my life. I was leaving behind the person I use to be, in order to become the person who I was meant to. I left behind a world I belonged to, only to find myself lost in a world I never knew existed.
Traveling completely changed me, maybe for the better, but probably for the worse. I'm not really sure.
But if there is one thing I am certain about, traveling will destroy you. It turns you into a person you might not be able to recognize anymore, and it will shift all your priorities and goals in life.
It will change your entire world.
I guarantee the travel bug will bite you, and when it does, be prepared for the consequences of setting off into another world.
When you leave, say goodbye to the person you are at that moment. Once you depart home for the first time, be prepared to never truly feel the same again.
1. Your travel experiences will become only your own.
While traveling, you will see things you've never imagined before. In some way, you will become a storyteller, sharing parts of your journey with anyone who is willing to listen.
Soon enough, you will find talking to people who haven't traveled themselves is like trying to converse with someone who doesn't speak the same language as you. They just don't get it, and honestly, they probably never will.
Once you return home, reconnecting with old friends and family might be difficult at first. This is due to the fact you are a completely different person now.
In order to keep yourself sane, find like-minded people to exchange travel stories with.
Make sure to find a positive outlet. If you don't, you might find yourself feeling a bit — or completely — lost
2. You will meet amazing life-changing people and probably never see them again.
Something people don't realize is that traveling is not only physically exhausting, but also emotionally.
While wandering, you will most likely fall in love with almost every person you meet. Saying goodbye is always one of the most difficult parts of the journey.
For me, a hard concept to grasp is the truth you will possibly never see any of these people again.
Other travelers will come into your life and shake up your world. People come and go — usually for a short period of time — making you wonder how you ever existed before knowing them.
Inevitably, they will leave you to carry on with their own path.
Learn to appreciate your time together and all the memories you have created, and then continue loving this person from afar.
3. You will probably become obsessed with traveling.
It sounds weird saying it myself, but traveling can become extremely addictive. For me, either I'm out traveling the world, or I'm thinking about it, planning for it, saving for it or talking about it.
Traveling has become my main priority in life.
When I'm out exploring, I feel high off of life. With each new country and city I visit, my thirst for traveling escalates.
My heart yearns for being lost in a new places. My body itches for the feeling of being uncomfortable. My taste buds scream for the flavors of new foods. My ears burn for the sound of new languages.
I've become completely obsessed, and I wouldn't be surprised if you do, too. Traveling will expose you to a life you never knew existed. For the rest of your days, you will be chasing dreams and planes, or just thinking about it.
4. You may never feel at home again.
At first, home may feel comforting and seem recognizable. But as time passes by, you might start to feel as if this place is no longer familiar.
Everything might appear to be the same, but it might not feel that way. A major change has occurred, and it involves you.
You have changed. You will no longer are person you use to be.
Suddenly, you might find yourself stuck in a world you can't quite figure out how to navigate anymore. Returning home will always be the most difficult part of the voyage. Be prepared for this because it is the biggest blindside of all.
Now that you have been warned all the possible side effects of traveling, quit your draining job, book the ticket and jump on that first plane. Go lose yourself in this big, exciting, unpredictable world of ours.
Just remember: Once you leave home, there is no coming back.