Last month, I ran into a few young people. Some of them had recently cleared their Senior Secondary Exams and some were graduating soon. One thing common to them all of them was that they faced a number of decisions ahead of them, which include whether they should go to college or enrol for their Masters degrees, or get into a job immediately, or should they travel this follow their heart and travel this beautiful country, and this beautiful world. I told them to travel. Hands down. No excuses. Just go. Just leave home. The results are worth the costs. And they sighed.
Never were spoken words more disastrous and fatal.
- Yeah, but…….what about my education loan?
- Yeah, but…….what about my job?
- Yeah, but…….what about my boyfriend/ girlfriend?
- Yeah, but…….what about my parents?
- Yeah, but…….
- Yeah, but…….
- Yeah, but…….
“Yeah, but……” is injurious. “Yeah, but……” is pernicious. Though it sounds like we have the best intentions, we are scared of doing what we know we should really do. “Yeah, but….” is a great tool that allows us to sit in our cocoons while sounding impressive or noble or even, responsible.
During my travels and my motorcycle rides, and on social networks, I come across people who planned to keep their travel plans on holds till they got “a little bit settled”. Without exception, they are all still waiting. At the same time, the ones who kept their “settlement” plans waiting till they travel a little, have travelled and are also well-settled.
BEWARE OF THE YEAH-BUT. THE YEAH-BUT WILL KILL ALL OF YOUR DREAMS AND THE LIFE YOU HAVE ALWAYS DREAMED OF.
I was so agitated & stirred by this talk that I couldn’t stop myself from jotting down my feelings here.
When you get old, it will look like life just happened to you. However, it will actually be a result of how you invest your time as a young person. It is a good time NOW to invest in your own empowerment by following your feelings and do exactly what you want to do. As you get older, you gain new responsibilities and your ability to experiment with life diminishes dramatically.
So, if you have the slightest chance or the smallest amount of control over your circumstances, you should definitely go ahead with what really matters to you as your life in future is not going to be just about you.
During your early days of adulthood, your views are still not formed. The cliché of you being like a patch of wet concrete is true. It is important to use this time to give yourself as many opportunities to grow as possible. And the best way of having these opportunities is by travelling passionately.
So, all the young people of the world, travel!
Travel wide and far and by any means!
Travel boldly and with full abandon!
Just travel! You will not regret the risks you take to travel!
1. Travelling offers you an opportunity to live an adventure
Years from now, when you will look back at the life you lived, you will have stories to share and moments to be proud of, and fewer regrets if you travel. Imagine being able to say the following things to your future generations:
- I rode a vintage motorcycle to one of the Highest Motorable Road in the World called Khardung La in Leh, Ladakh.
- I spent a few nights with Aghori Sadhus on the banks of the Gnages in sleepy lazy Varanasi winter.
- I was a champion of midnight swimming in haunted lakes deep in the HImalayas
- I got lost the dense forest of Kumaon, and met a Naga Sadhu who claimed that he had waiting for the last 13 years to meet me.
- I found my way into Asia’s most haunted fort at night, deep in rural Rajasthan.
- Once I just left for a 7 days motorcycle ride with no preparation and ended up at the Thorang La Pass on Annapurna Trekking Circuit in Nepal.
- I also managed to travel without a valid ticket from one corner of the country to another.
These are snippets of my life and I will narrate them to my future generations with proud nostalgia and fun. I don’t think I will regret any of the above? The real risks were not the one I took while doing this; the real risk is in not doing this. The real risk is in holding back, in being scared of the unknown, in making excuses. The real risk is in not taking any risks and in waiting till the cows come home.
Travel when you are young! Taste the fullness of life and explore the world right now. It is worth whatever money, time, investment or sacrifice it may require. However, I am not suggesting that you become yet another tourist. I am talking about experiencing the true adventure, so that you do not have to live in fear for the rest of your life. I am asking you to be inspiring and to show that you can step out of the safety cocoon which is also your fear zone. Build a legacy that you can share.
2. Travel makes you aware of other’s pain and develop empathy
You define your future self with the choices you make when you are young. The behavior you develop now will remain with you for life, and travelling can improve it like nothing else can. Travel always puts you in places, conditions and situations that will force you to care for topics or issues that are bigger than you. You will find a new respect for the pain & suffering of others. You also realize that many of us has taken it for granted on a daily basis. I came across examples of extra ordinary courage shown by villagers in remote places across India. They inspired me and they made me feel thankful to the resources I have. Once I worked with some folks to build a bridge that allowed their kids to attend school during rains. Another time, I was able to save the life of a policeman who had beem hit by a rash driver. I have understood why even the poorest of the poor musician is also dedicated to their instrument of choice and the music they make.
I have found love. I have been in ecstasy and I have had heart-breaks. Your heart will break too when you travel but you will emerge stronger and more meaningfully human. You will realize that the world is both…..a big place and a small place. You will be deeply connected to people. You will start caring and you might figure out a way to speak up for those people you will meet on your travel who need a voice. Above all, you will be a kinder human being.
3. travel makes you cultured
Getting to know the world around you and the magnificent people that fill it involves going beyond the sitting chair. it takes a quite walk alongside the Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh or seeing the Taj Mahal in person.
I can describe many cities, amazing beaches and historic sites to you, but you really have to see them yourself to experience them. Once can read all the books in the world about the Great Wall of China or the Coliseum in Rome, but being there is a different story.
The world is a stunning place, full of outstanding works of art. Experience it. Do this while you’re still young. Do not let the time of youth while away as you sit in a cubicle. You may never have it again.
Whatever you sow, you will eventually reap. Do not forget, you have a crucial opportunity to invest in next part of your life now. So, for your own sake, do it. Simply, because, you won’t be always be young and life won’t always be just about you.
Experience the world for all it’s worth and become a person of culture, adventure and compassion. So travel and travel hard!