To be a real traveler, you must be willing to give yourself over to the moment and take yourself out of the center of your universe. You must believe totally in the lives of the people and the places where you find yourself.
Become part of the fabric of their everyday lives. Embrace them rather than judge them, and you will find the beauty in their lives and their world will become part of yours. When you move on you will have grown. You will realize that the possibilities of life in this world are endless, and that beneath our differences of language and culture we all share the same dream of loving and being loved, of having a life with more joy than sorrow.
Travel doesn’t have to be some dreamlike or foreign destination. It can take you on an evening stroll through a distant forest or to a park bench in a town a hundred miles from you home. What matters is that you have left the comfort of the familiar and opened yourself to a world that is totally apart from your own.
If we don’t offer ourselves to the unknown, our senses dull. Our world becomes small and we lose our sense of wonder. Our eyes don’t lift to the horizon; we don’t hear the sounds around us. The edge is off our experience and we pass our days in a routine that is both comfortable and limiting. We wake up one day and find that we have lost our dreams in order to protect our days.
Travel, no matter how humble, will etch new elements in your character. You will know the cutting moments of life where fear meets adventure and loneliness meets exhilaration. You will know what it means to push forward when you want to turn back. And when you have tragedies or great changes in your life, you will understand that there are a thousand, a million ways to live, and that your life will go on to something new and different and every bit as worth as the life you are leaving behind.
The magic of travel is that you leave your home secure in your own knowledge and identity, but as you travel, the world in all its richness intervenes. You meet people you could not invent; you see scenes you could not imagine. Your own world, which so large as to consume your whole life, becomes smaller and smaller until it is only one tiny dot in space and time.
You return a different person.
-Kent Nerburn, Simple Truths: Clear & Gentle Guidance on the Big Issues in Life