I have always been interested in people and their lives. The romances, the dramas, their day to day routines and apartments, their local community, even what they wear and why. People are fascinating to me and travelling opens up a whole world of people and lifestyles, ideas and cultures you simply cannot find at home. And through travel your eyes are truly opened to the world, it’s beauty and the amazing people that make up our civilization today.
Visiting a new city offers a traveller a chance to escape their life. It strips them of their normal routines and offers new surroundings to change their point of view and see things in a new light. When we travel we mostly focus on where we are and how we feel, we are able to truly see ourselves in the moment and enjoy each moment fully as we are away from our daily lives and stresses. Thanks to new surroundings we can glimpse our true selves and feel how relaxed we are with the person we truly are. We also allow time to focus purely on what we enjoy, be it people watching in cafes, surfing, hiking through the mountains or partying on exotic beaches. Our holiday activities show us what we enjoy and what should be in our lives, and it is the doing as well as the exposure to a different culture that makes travel such a useful tool for crafting a happy life!
I travelled a lot through my childhood and was fortunate to see lots of different cultures and lifestyles. It was this that made me move abroad after university in search of that dream lifestyle that I imagined in my head. Being priced out of my own capital city, the UK offered me very little of the lifestyle that I dreamed of so I went in search of it in Budapest, Copenhagen and Krakow. While I didn’t quite find what I was looking for I did find out a great deal about myself. I eventually headed east to continue the search and found a lifestyle I never realised I wanted but love so much in beautiful touristy Thailand. This was not the place I had imagined, the weather, the friends or the lifestyle I had dreamt of, but it was somehow much better and fit me perfectly. I have been fortunate to carve out a career for myself as a travel writer (of all things) and am an author of two popular books: Becoming an Expat:Thailand and International Lifestyle:moving abroad in your 20’s. I am somewhere in my life that I couldn’t have imagined years ago but by being open to what the world offered I am happy with my choices and fully aware that travelling and immersing myself into new cultures brought me where I am today.
Taking the time to step out of comfort zones, routines, stereotypes and norms that countries impose on it’s people is really what travel is about. It takes you somewhere else and truly changes your life – be it for a week, a month, gap year or as a lifestyle. Forget about cool selfies or bucket lists. The value of travel runs so deep that it can change your life forever – if you are fully open to the experiences – and it will change you for the better!
This was a contest submission written by Laura Gibbs.