The two sides of traveling

There's a quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson that says that traveling is a fool's paradise. What Emerson means by this is that if you think you can escape the problems you have at home by going abroad, you're wrong. The problems follow you wherever you go.

I reckon it's fairly common that people want to take a break from their everyday lives (a break from reality, even) by going on a holiday somewhere far. This doesn't necessarily mean that you're running away from your problems, but often it does. It is by no means inevitable that your life where you live becomes so unbearable that you have to travel every once in a while. If you have chosen a life's work that you enjoy and that gives you meaning, you can live your entire life in one city without feeling like you're missing much.

Every problem that you could possibly have can be solved by staying home. Relationships, work, health - you name it. No problem requires you to travel somewhere else.

But perhaps you don't have a problem to begin with. Perhaps you see traveling not as running away, but running towards; not an escape, but an exercise.

If you don't want to travel and are perfectly content with your life as it is, that's fine - but ask yourself: is it because you truly don't need other places and your chosen hometown is your paradise, or is it because you're afraid of immersing yourself in a different culture and perhaps even a different language and thus going far outside your comfort zone?

Traveling is an adventure. You must think outside the box and talk to strangers and try to find your way in an unfamiliar maze that is the new city. If you're not able to do that - if you're not able to step outside your comfort zone and do what it takes to get by - you won't survive.

And if you're not able to do those things, you're not able to do anything else meaningful in your life. Because meaningful things require you to do courageous things and to go outside that comfort zone.

By traveling and trying your best to survive in the strange environment, you teach your subconscious you can do it. And soon enough, your subconscious starts to think you can do other things as well.

Eventually it'll think you can do anything.