Burst Your Safety Bubble
One of the great things about living in a developed country is that you’re provided with a safe, controlled and regulated environment in which to live. In most cases, we feel secure and protected. The downside of this approach towards life is that in most cases, the protective nature is unwarranted and overbearing. Most people live in a bubble that has been carefully created to keep them from any harm, no matter how slight. This has cultivated in people an unnecessary fear of lack of control. When people are faced with a situation that they have little or no control over, rather than embrace the uncertainty, most will simply remove themselves from the circumstance. In order for you to really immerse yourself into the travelling lifestyle, this habitual tendency to sway from the uncertain has to be broken. There are so many circumstances in which you will find yourself almost completely helpless, and anxieties will not help in the slightest. Do what you can to break them. Some people will need to take small steps like eating strange foods or interacting more with the locals despite a language barrier. Others will find it best to dive in headfirst and explode out of their bubble. This is the tactic that works for me. Jo and I have chosen our accommodation in Koh Tao mostly because it is close to Shark Island. I love Sharks, but the idea of swimming with them fills me with unease. So I intend to swim with them as much as possible. Find the approach that works best for you, let go of your anxieties, and let go of the need to control what cannot be controlled.
Forget about the concept of time
The vast majority of us live under the control of the construct of time. We need to wake up on time, be at work on time, go to lunch on time, go to bed on time, and live our lives almost entirely as if we are constantly on the clock. We do it even when it isn’t necessary. We become anxious when we have “free time” because we worry that we aren’t going to make the most of it. The concept of “making the most of every moment” can be an insidious idea that causes stress and unnecessary pressure. The most unfortunate repercussion of living by this dictum is that it forces you to constantly evaluate what you’re experiencing. Don’t even think about moments. A moment shouldn’t exist in the form of a linear chronology, it should represent an experience; something that you can feel on an emotional level. You will have the opportunity to throw yourself into so many bizarre, wonderful situations, and you should do so without paying any attention to the time. Besides when you’re travelling, outside of transport, bar/restaurant opening hours, and hostel check-in times, there isn’t much that demands adherence to a schedule.
Get Used To Being Uncomfortable
Somewhere between the 8 hour long cramped train rides, the much longer than anticipated hikes to hostels, and carrying your entire life around on your shoulders, you will inevitably feel uncomfortable. You will feel hot, sweaty, dirty, slimy, cramped, sore, and it will feel like you are covered in a thick layer of permanent filth. Get used to it. Every traveler feels like this at some point. The trick is to not let it affect you. Nothing can ruin a trip more than a bad mood. The most you can do is shower when possible, take some moist towels with you wherever you go, wear loose comfortable clothing, dress for the weather, and remember that in a lot of circumstances, how you feel is out of your control. Do your best to master the ethos of the traveler. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. It’s not just about adapting to your destination, it’s about adapting to how you are within that destination. It will take a while to master, but soon you will learn not to care about the things that make you uncomfortable, and you will be amazed at how much more you appreciate on your journey.
Break Your Habits
Habits are a luxury that we afford ourselves when we are living a consistent lifestyle. The structure we derive from habits create a sense of comfort and routine that allows us to feel somewhat accomplished. We feel at ease when tasks are completed in a timely fashion and think “Awesome! I’ve managed to go to the gym, cook dinner, do the dishes and laundry all before 8 o’clock! I now have so much time to do nothing before going to bed and repeating it all tomorrow,”. That’s wonderful when you are in an environment that allows you to satisfy your ritualistic lifestyle, but when you don’t have that opportunity, it can really ruin your day. Especially when it throws out your plans.. A simple setback in your plans can be a real cause for agitation. There is no room for this when travelling, where your schedule will regularly be ruined by something completely unforeseeable. That’s the beauty of travelling; no schedule, no habits, no adherence, no restrictions. It’s important that you learn to roll with the punches and be flexible. You’ll love the freedom and independence from the trivial tasks you so readily used to concern yourself with.
Find your moments
As I mentioned earlier, I choose to perceive a moment as something to experience, rather than merely a point in time. The experience should stir something within yourself. It can be a moment of clarity, a moment of understanding, or a moment of action. These pensive flashes always come at a point in life when you have subconsciously allowed yourself the opportunity for change or development. It goes without saying that leaving everything in your life to satiate your wanderlust signifies such a point. Take time for reflection when you are travelling to allow yourself the opportunity to grow and appreciate everything around you. There is no more important a time than now, especially when it inspires within us development of the self. Remain conscious and open as I can guarantee that you will remember the moments more fondly than anything else, and only you will truly appreciate their significance.
Did you find these tips helpful during your travels? What moments have you had? How did you burst your safety bubble? Feel free to leave a comment or email us at Dirtypawsblog@gmail.com.
- Comfortable & Uncomfortable (tanishaconrad1.wordpress.com)
- 5 habits that’ll make you travel all through the year (evrythingilove.wordpress.com)
- 7 reasons why you should travel (matadornetwork.com)
- Koh Tao and the Diving experience (barbaratonini.wordpress.com)