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Traveling affects people in different ways, some can’t stop as the excitement and cultural experience is just too addictive, while others learn that what they had been searching for was at home all along. Regardless of what changes inside, almost all that travel end up with some sort of positive growth.
I for one, fall into the first category, I am addicted! The people, the places, the journey, from long bus rides gazing out the window at these amazing places to walking the streets and getting a glimpse at life in other parts of the world. One of my favorite things is to watch the driving of other cultures, it’s so crazy and every second you think you’re going to see an accident – but to date I have never seen a serious collision between cars (I say “cars” because there was this one incident with a cow in Cambodia.)
Life in other parts of the world are so different to ours, most people are very community oriented and although most are dirt poor they can be the happiest people you meet. In a massive way it has taught me to put money last and life first. Now, thats not to say spend every cent you have and live broke, but not to chase a massive bank account at the cost of living life. As I’ve aged (I’m 25 now and not getting any younger) I see my years of traveling in my youth slip away and now it’s the clock that I am most concerned about, not my wealth. You can have the giant house and sports car (I’d be happy with a shack and a bike) but I’ll be most happy with the memories of the people I’ve met and places I’ve been.
There was a study conducted and they found out that money does and doesn’t make you happy. How? Well, having no money makes people unhappy as it takes the certainty of their next meal away and a roof over their head, humans require basic needs to be met. However, the difference in happiness between people earning $50,000 per year and $50 million per year was extremely small. In western society this concept can be hard to grasp. An example is the ever-changing fashion trends consistently pushing people into buying more and more in the hope of filling a void of inadequateness felt when not up to date with the latest clothing style as if a new thing will fulfill your life. Is this really what makes you happy? Or are you caught up in a never ending circle trying to keep up with something that will eventually leave you behind and wondering where all your time and money went?
I for one don’t waste my money on “things” I don’t need or dont serve a significant purpose (and some say I’m “cheap”.) That is probably somewhat true, but I also spend alot of money on things that really make me happy like my hobbies skydiving and travel, for me a new phone won’t bring me no where as much joy as weekends at a drop zone jumping with friends or seeing the wildlife in the amazon. One reason travel is so rewarding for me is it has inspired me to use my time to change the lives of others in a positive way and skydiving reminds me why you should enjoy every moment. Even though the sport is really safe, staring at the ground 15,000ft away before you leave the plane gives you the feeling that life could be over in the next 90 seconds.
This isn’t a change your life post, I dont expect people reading this to feel like they just tookin the amazon and had a life changing experience. It’s just one lesson I’ve learned from traveling and a reminder not to get caught up making a big income that you forget to make a big life.