Don’t Be Afraid To Leave Home: You’ll Get Used To Anything
Leaving your home country to travel the globe for a few years is a great way to spend your early 20’s (and perhaps early 30’s or even 40’s).
You’ll find new food every night, new cultures with every border crossing, new climates with every continent, and new people in every hostel or AirBnB. You’ll run into a myriad of unexpected and highly enjoyable experiences. Travel is a good alternative to staying at home building your resume or applying for jobs.
Most of your trip will be comfortable and stress-free but if you’re traveling around on any kind of budget (not staying in the Bangkok Hilton) then you will run into situations you aren’t used to and that are uncomfortable for you.
Sometimes the climate is uncomfortably hot and you only have a fan. (Bangkok)
Sometimes it’s too cold and the house isn’t well insulated. (Central America)
Sometimes you rush to the bathroom only to find a squat toilet and no TP. (Vietnam)
Sometimes the showers only run cold water. (Everywhere)
Sometimes the food looks weird but you’re hungry. (Asia)
Sometimes you’ll get a cockroach in your room, or a massive swarm of termites. (Thailand)
Sometimes you’ll need to wear clothes a few times without washing them. (Everywhere)
But please, if you want to travel around the world (it is so possible for you and so worth it) don’t let any of those ‘concerns’ become fears become excuses become reasons why you deny yourself the trip.
Consider the following…
1. Habituation – You will get used to anything. Even if a situation is worse than at home you’ll get used to it soon enough. You’ll even get used to cold showers if you find yourself in a house with no hot water. You’d be surprised how soon every uncomfortable situation soon becomes normal for you.
2. Real Improvement – Just as you’re getting used to the extremely hot weather and no AC the landlord will switch you into a room with AC. When the bed is too cold you’ll steal a few blankets from the hallway closet. When you’re in Vietnam and think the only food available is pig brain and dog, you’ll find the nearby fruit market. Most of the issues you face in a new location on Day 1 work themselves out by day 3.
3. You’ll Stop Being A Wimp – Maybe the shower is cold and maybe there will never be hot water. Well, you can just suck it up and take your showers with a smile. Maybe you’ll see a cockroach and instead of screaming for help you’ll learn to smack it with a shoe. A little discomfort is probably good for you. This isn't military bootcamp.
4. You’re A Nomad – You can leave if you dislike your current location, country or landlord. That’s the #1 perk of being a nomad! You can select the ‘hot shower only’ option on AirBnB and move down the block in a heartbeat. I often check into AirBnB’s for just 1 or 2 nights to make sure it’s a fit, and it’s easy to move if it’s not. You’re free to come and go as you please.
On my recent trip to Machu Picchu, a girl from Vermont asked me if I’d lost trust in the world and become cynical after so much traveling. In truth I’ve become more trusting.
More trusting in strangers, new places, uncomfortable situations, myself and my decisions.
If you have the dream of traveling across Asia, The Americas, Europe, Africa, or beyond, don’t let a cockroach squash your dream. Squash the cockroach, prepare for a few cold showers and buy that 1-way ticket to explore a place far away from home.