By Koty Neelis
You’re never alone.
The great thing about traveling is that even when you’re traveling through unfamiliar landscapes, surrounded by people you don’t know, you’re never truly alone. People are generally welcoming and friendly everywhere you go and striking up a conversation with someone can turn a stranger into a friend within minutes.
The world is a lot less scary than we think.
Often, the idea of traveling can seem overwhelming and frightening. It pushes us out of our comfort zone and forces us to interact with the world in a different way than we’re used to. By traveling the world you realize that people are mostly the same everywhere – good and kind and not out to harm you.
You can survive with a lot less than you think.
It’s easy to over pack for any trip but many times when you’re traveling you realize you only needed about half of what you actually brought. A great idea is to look up packing lists on your tablet for the region you’ll be visiting and reading what other travelers recommend. Pack your suitcase or backpack then look at what you have and eliminate anything unnecessary. You’ll thank yourself later when you want more room to bring home gifts.
You learn how to rely on others.
We’re so used to being independent adults taking care of ourselves but traveling is the one experience that brings us back to a childlike state. Everything is new and unknown and you look at everything with a sense of wonder and curiosity. You ask for directions or tips on where to go around town and realize a big part of your journey is relying on the kindness of strangers.
The world is filled with incredible food.
At home we’re so used to eating the same type of meals day in and day out but when you’re on the road you’re more likely to step outside of your comfort zone and try something you’ve never had before. While traveling you open yourself up to new experiences and realize just how amazing the food is all around the world.
You can have fun anywhere.
They often say it’s the journey, not the destination that makes a trip and that’s one of the greatest truths about traveling. You can make a connection with someone you’re sitting next to on a bus or while waiting to board your next flight. You learn to find joy in the small moments in your trip even if it’s just pulling your tablet out and sharing funny videos with the person sitting next to you.
It’s never too late to change.
Travel is all about change. You learn so much about yourself while on the road. It’s an introspective process that forces you to reflect on your life and who you are. When you put on your headphones and tune out the rest of the world you start thinking about everything going on in your life and what you’d like to do differently when you get back home.
You learn to relax.
Travel forces you to slow down and to become still for a moment. You put everything back at home on pause and learn not to worry about everything. These are the moments when we appreciate how amazing life truly is. In those quiet moments of reflection it’s great to grab your tablet and write about what you’ve seen thus far on your trip.
You learn how to question the status quo.
When you’re traveling abroad you see just how different things are compared to your own country and culture. You begin questioning things you’ve been so accustomed to your entire life, and you begin to have a new perspective on life and your cultural standards. Suddenly everything you thought you knew slightly changes and once you arrive back home you realize you’re no longer the same person as when you left.
You become more connected with the world around you.
You’re trying new foods, possibly learning new languages, and meeting people from various places around the world. Through these experiences you become more connected to the world in which we live and realize just how similar we are regardless of where we call home.
“The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd - The longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.”
- Fernando Pessoa
Cơm tấm – Warm broken rice often served with a slab of grilled pork chop marinated in sugar and fish sauce, a slice of steamed pork loaf topped with egg yolks, and a mixture of pork skin and thinly shredded pork
Phở – Noodle soup served with various cuts of beef and onions. Often eaten with basil, mint, lime, and bean sprouts
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By Shireen Dadkhah
When I was 16, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. After the diagnosis, my uncle slapped me on the back and said, “Welcome to the family kid,” while my family all compared drugs around the kitchen table. I’m extremely lucky that my family not only accepted that depression is a real, serious issue, but they understood it. (I come from a long line of clinically depressed people.) They were mindful to make sure that my depression wasn’t used as a crutch or an excuse, but thankfully, I never once heard the unhelpful “Just suck it up and deal with it,” and for that, I will be eternally grateful. (I also wrote about 10 brutal truths single people never talk about.)
Depression is different for everyone, but over the years I’ve noticed a few things that don’t seem to waver. They hold fast in their level of suckiness and they seem to apply to most everyone I’ve talked to that’s dealt with depression.
1. I’m not choosing to be depressed.
This isn’t a choice I’m making. My cat dying or my car being totaled aren’t the reason I’m depressed. Those things are tipping points, they push me over an edge I was already standing at. Depression is a chemical imbalance. Yes, there are things I can do and medications I can take but at the end of the day this isn’t something I’d choose for anyone and certainly not myself.
2. Your brain is the enemy.
For me, having depression is like walking around with a mean, petty, awful little friend in my brain all the time. It’s constantly telling me how awful I am, how I’m not good enough and how nobody likes me. And just like the negative comments on a blog post, those thoughts stick. Trying to convince yourself that your brain is wrong is no easy feat.
3. Telling me to “suck it up” makes me stabby.
Don’t tell me to “suck it up.” Don’t tell me to watch a sunset or exercise or appreciate the joy that is being alive. That’s about as effective as me telling you to go walk it off after you’ve broken your arm. It isn’t going to fix anything. Depression isn’t logical. You can’t reason with it or apply coconut oil and suddenly be better.