15 countries in 10 months – our dream of travelling the world came true. Now we are back home, pondering what to make out of all those impressions, memories, new friendships and pictures we took. As part of this process we would like to try and summarize a few thought concepts that seem more important for us now.
1. We are all one interconnected human people
We knew this before we started our trip. And yet, experiencing it again and again during our journey brought this belief to a whole new level. At the very heart and core of life we are all the same – suffering from the same anxieties, laughing about the same jokes. The only element that’s different is the pair of glasses we use to view the world, depending on the cultural norms dictated by the society we grew up in.
In an interconnected world like the one we live in this increasingly means not geographic but other factors determine how we lead our lives, what media we consume and with whom we interact. For instance, we felt to have more in common with a young 20-something Vietnamese coffee shop owner we met than with farmers in Austria’s mountains. Being constantly connected online creates universal and location independent connections that in some ways are a lot stronger than the aforementioned layer of cultural context. Realizing how similar we all are makes it so much harder to understand why we fight wars about all those silly reasons that focus on the different shades of colors we see through our glasses…
What determines for you with whom you connect? How much does geography play a role?
2. You design your life, no one else
“I am so happy for you that you take extended time off to travel the world! But for me – unfortunately this is not possible.” This was a very common response we heard prior to our trip. Yet, we am certain that money was no real obstacle for nine out of 10 people who said this. Rather, it is an internal attitude. We are all designers of our lives and if we do not set the direction of our journey, someone else will do it for us.
The tricky junctions are those where society (and sometimes our own minds as well) dictates a different road than our heart. And yet, the evidence is clear. Ignoring our own deep callings in the long term only makes us sick.
When was the last time you ignored your heart’s desire and did what you “were supposed to do?”
3. Life is about how you see things, not what you see
We are our worst enemy at times. We have everything we want and yet, we are still unhappy. One root cause for this is the simple fact that happiness so much depends on how we approach life and not what happens in our life. A truly happy person will derive a lot more pleasure from enjoying their regular oats in the morning for instance than an unhappy person travelling the world, ticking off all tourist highlights.
The amazing consequence: this makes you (mostly) independent of outside influences since the happiness in your life comes from inside yourself. If you can appreciate and enjoy the small things in life, the rest is easy.
When was the last incidence where you took the time to thoroughly enjoy an element of everyday life?
4. A trip around the world does not solve all your problems
It sounds reasonable and yet still was a bit of a surprise for us. Building on the paragraph above, you are not suddenly 100% happy just because you are on the road for a few weeks or months. Rather, your attitude will likely remain, only the type of ups and downs change. Obviously life is easier in a way because you are more free to do what you like than in a work environment. On the other hand you also have to deal with new and different problems that do not exist back home.
Have you also had similar experiences where a holiday did not suddenly erase all negative aspects in your life?
5. You miss out on everything in life – or nothing. Your choice.
It is a simple thought: At any given moment you are missing out on >99,999999% of the fun in the world. It’s hard to be in more than one place at a time after all. This gives us to two choices how to approach the fear of missing out, quite a common state for long term travelers who hear from others about all the amazing places they have to see:
- You become sad because you miss out on all the fun
- You accept the fact that you can only be in one place at the time. You are exactly where you need to be so just relax, soak it all up and enjoy!
How do you cope with FOM (fear of missing out)?
Please do leave a comment, we would love to read about your own thoughts on these topics!