Well, guys — my wanderlust did it again. And I have to say, I'm sort of surprised that yet another trip has left me an overwhelming sense of purpose and love for what's out there in this world. You would think that after catching so many flights and living out of a suitcase for weeks on end, some part of this experience would get old, or at least mundane. (I mean, travel-sized shampoo doesn't last forever, and it's such a good feeling to sleep in your own bed, right?) But, my latest trip only reminded me of what I love most about travel. There's one simple reason why you need to follow your wanderlust, too.
At first, this feeling, this reason, can be hard to explain. Think about all the people who have tried to put love into words, and come up speechless. Sometimes the vocabulary just doesn't exist, and you're stuck saying, "You had to be there," or doing some intricate form of charades or interpretive dance instead. For some of us who have fallen head over heels in love with traveling, it's sort of the same way.
It's difficult to give an explanation for why you call your study abroad city "home," or why you don't want to spend money on car insurance, but will willingly buy a plane ticket on a whim. So, you try and get your best friends and family to travel, like now — to take that leap into the unknown, climb a mountain, or whatever it may be. You try and recreate that feeling that you found for yourself when you took a weekend-long excursion to another country, befriended a solo traveler, or ate an amazing plate of food. (Maybe if they taste the pasta, then they'll know I'm not exaggerating? It's worth a shot, and don't forget the gelato, too.)
This isn't just for the Sagittarius girls, or the travel bloggers who have made a living out of seeing the world. No, this one thing is something that everyone can experience, and will experience, when they truly travel. Long story short: My latest trip reminded me of why I keep taking trips, and finding remote corners of the world to call my own. You're next, OK?
What do I love most about travel?
So, what is it exactly? Well, what I love most about travel is quite simply the mindset it puts you in. From the very first time you surround yourself in another culture and give into the unknown, you change for the better. You realize that you're part of a much larger world than what you've always known. You become more empathetic for other human beings, and begin to care about the planet and wonder what you can do to help it thrive.
In addition, your thoughts about yourself tend to shift. You find confidence every time you navigate using only a few resources and your inner compass. And you start to approach everything in life with that same open-mindedness and sense of wonder. All in all, that sounds like enough to create world peace, huh? Imagine if everyone took the time and energy to get into this mindset — to travel.
What part of my latest trip reminded me of this?
My latest trip was to Italy with one of my best friends. We studied abroad in Florence about three years ago, and decided it was time to go back — dare I say — home. But, that was only one stop in our 10-day adventure around arguably one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
Our trip started in the artsy and quaint neighborhoods of Milan. We wandered into outdoor cafés totally jet-lagged, and scoped out a fashion week show. Then, we took a few trains to the coastal towns of Cinque Terre, and woke up to the waves and colorful buildings of Riomaggiore. Next, we went to Florence and ate just about everything — gelato, seafood pasta, and enough bread and olive oil to last a lifetime. And our last stop was to a peninsula in the northern part of the country. It was magical and tropical all at the same time, and the one place that truly reminded me of why I love to travel.
It was our last morning, and we scoped out a beach at the very edge of the peninsula. Later that day, we had to catch a train back to the city so that we could fly out the next morning. So, this was our last chance to soak in the trip and any remaining views. We spread out our towels on a flat rock and looked out to the mountains that lined the massive lake. Somewhere in the distance you could probably hear Louis Armstrong singing, "What A Wonderful World."
In this moment, wading around the rocks and staring out into this untouched version of paradise, I remembered why I loved traveling. Lugging around suitcases through train stations gets old. But, that feeling and mindset that you're part of the world is a forever kind of thing.
Where should you travel to experience this, too?
If you haven't done much traveling, or just looking to fall in love with wanderlust and everything it comes with all over again, then you need to go to a few places on this planet. You can't go to the tourist spots, or just follow the beaten path. You have to find your own peninsulas, beaches, and cute cafés with cappuccinos — because those are the spots and experiences you'll remember way down the road.
Go to countries like Italy or France, where the food and the language is a form of art. Wander with your best friend and sit in a restaurant for hours, just to soak the atmosphere in. You'll find yourself striking up a conversation with the locals at the next table, and feeling like a true traveler with every sip of perfectly brewed caffeine.
Why shouldn't you wait to follow your wanderlust?
Let's be honest: You'll only get this love and experience of being part of the world by packing your suitcase and going off into it. You can't expect to sit on your couch and scroll through social media, and get the same effect. Sure, those travel bloggers are bringing some of the experience to life in photos and short films. But, it's not totally the same as twirling your own blue dress in front of lovely landmarks, and getting outside of your individual comfort zone.
Don't wait to follow your wanderlust, because that mindset will change your entire life for the better. It'll make you more passionate and caring about yourself, the world, and the people you surround yourself with eery day. Why put that on hold? Falling in love is an experience in itself. Mix it with a little bit of wanderlust, and you'll find yourself in this life-altering place, too.