One of the things that has an ongoing presence in my mind is the thought of perspective. There are so many ways to gain perspective, have your perspective changed and even to learn about new perspectives that you may not have considered previously. Recently, I have been gaining a lot of new perspective as my family is going through some trying times and we make our way through that. It is, in fact, a big reason why I am leaving what my life has been for 6 or 7 years and going off on this journey. I want to speak more on perspective and how it relates to travel.
For me, one of the addictive things about traveling is finding new perspectives, thoughts and ideas. Ways of living that I never even dreamed of exist in abundance and I feel as though it is a shame to not witness them at some point in this life.
When I first left the world I had primarily known in the northern US back in 2002, I was hit hard with so many new experiences that it was overwhelming at times. I can remember the tiniest little things that just stuck with my wide eyed, youthful self. Geographical features that I had never dreamed of before, busy streets and markets that have their own abundance of noise and chaotic organization. Sounds and smells that overwhelmed my senses at times. It was the first time that I realized all the amazing differences that are in the world, and it humbled me.
Where my mind instantly went was the thought that these people were in these places doing these things every day that I had been alive. It was a concept that I had never truly thought of before and it gave me such joy to think of it! I feel as though we can get so lost in our small worlds that we don’t take many moments to step back and look at things on a larger scale.
Growing up in a middle class suburban American family, I have been so fortunate to not experience much in terms of fear or want of things. The biggest perspective I have gained through travel and specifically travel to 3rd world countries is a greater appreciation for what I have in my life. Seeing how the vast majority of people in this world live does a few things to my thought processes.
For one, I tend to always minimalize my problems. It is almost to a fault, but when I look at people who live day to day, barely have enough food, and don’t have the access to education, clean water and other basic needs, it makes me wonder why I am worried about the increased amount of traffic in my city. We are all allowed to have bad days and be sad about things, that is obvious, but I find that considering how fortunate I am on the macro scale pulls me away from those thoughts rather quickly.
Another perspective that travel has given me is the realization of how fortunate I am just to be able to do it at all. For me, I feel so lucky as well as a bit guilty about this. We do not have any control over where we come into this world and for some reason, I was lucky enough to be born where I was so that the possibility is always there. I do feel a sense of guilt about this because of how many people were not given this opportunity, but more than that, I have a drive to go out and experience as much as possible outside of where I was born for myself and for those who can’t.
Going off to experience new places, people and cultures is such a privilege and should not be taken for granted. I try to relish all the moments and live them up the best that I can. If you have the good fortune to be able to do this as well, I would advise that you leave your ego at home and go with an open mind. I can and will continue to improve in this manner because I have reaped the benefits of having my perspective changed by travel. Not only has it ingrained in me a passion for continued exploration, but it makes me a better version of myself overall. I feel as though I can relate to all people from all walks of life, free of judgement and that does so much to make my overall perspective, a happy one.
Please feel free to comment and give me some of your thoughts as to what travel has done for your perspective on a personal level. I am always so interested to learn about these things from others, because we all come from such different circumstances. Thanks!