When embarking on your first international adventure, you are never quite prepared for the experience. What you end up walking away with will surely surpass your greatest expectations. When returning from my first trip, I felt different, as if I had found the missing puzzle piece to my heart. Little did I know the impact that trip would have on my life. My wanderlust was ignited, and I would never be the same.
Over the last few years, wanderlust has become a bit of a buzzword (especially with the discovery of the “wanderlust gene”). We’ve all seen the flashy pictures and inspirational quotes on Instagram about the need to roam. Yet, what does it really mean? Wanderlust goes so much deeper than Full Moon parties in Thailand or snapping that classic picture on top of Machu Picchu. It’s not just the strong desire to see all. The essence of wanderlust is a feeling. For me, it’s a feeling I will never get enough of. There’s a reason I keep going back for more, and it’s probably not what you would expect.
Here are some of the untold gems of wanderlust:
Some of my most memorable trips were taken by myself. There’s something magical about solo travel that makes you feel alive. It’s just you and the open road and endless possibilities. You’re never really sure how the day will turn out, but you know it will be epic. Some of the best days are left unscripted, allowing you to fully let go and embrace the spirit of travel.
There’s something about being in a new place that allows you to get out of your own head and gain clarity. It’s as if the energy of a new place sparks something inside you. I’ve had some pretty amazing “Aha!” moments during my travels that have helped shape my future–from meditating in the jungles of Bali to having a spiritual healer reveal my deepest desires. It’s moments like these for which I am eternally grateful. I’ve met some of the most fascinating people and have seen some spectacular settings, which have been sources of inspiration. Traveling allows you to wake up and feel alive, awakening a passion you sometimes didn’t even know existed.
I am always surprised by how quickly you establish relationships with people while abroad. A simple “hello” at the communal breakfast table could turn into a friendship that lasts a lifetime. At this point, I have gathered many new friends from around the globe, each of whom holds a special place in my heart. We’re all so alike yet different. Without many of the friends I met while traveling, I don’t know how I would have survived my stints living abroad. It’s a type of indescribable human connection that leaves an everlasting imprint. It’s an unbreakable bond established through sharing life-changing experiences. I might go into a country alone but will always leave with an overflowing heart and a dozen beautiful souls who have changed my life for the better.
For some, traveling is a chance to run away from it all. Admittedly, traveling was an escape for me. At different points in my life, I wanted to run away from unavoidable things that were going on, including a failed relationship and family issues. Of course, we all know that some things simply can’t be avoided. However, the time away gave me the chance to reflect and eventually heal. Traveling helps put things into perspective, forcing you to pick up the broken pieces and focus on yourself. A lot of us seek something when we travel–acceptance, independence, faith… It’s not only a physical journey but also a journey in finding the strength and courage to move forward.
For many, traveling is a time for self-discovery. While we’re out there getting lost, we’re finding ourselves. I’ve met several people who decided to travel for a year while they sort out their lives. The time away is used for an all-around exploration. When leaving home, I was directionless, yet knew there was something more for me. The questions were endless. Who am I? What do I want to do with my life? When traveling, I never expected to have these questions answered, but over time, the truth slowly started to become apparent. In Hong Kong, I found my independence. In South Korea, I found my voice. In Bali, I discovered my passion. It’s in these foreign places where the meaning of life became clear. For this reason, traveling will always be a part of me. Each adventure reveals a new truth, a new understanding.
What inspires you to travel?
Also by Jess: A Wellness Retreat in Krabi, Thailand
Best Life Lessons I Learned in My Twenties
Related: 5 Travel Hacks for the Weekend Getaway Your Soul Needs
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