I’ve always been jealous of travellers. They get to discover new horizons, oblivious to what’s happening around the world. I have often wondered if they’re travelling to run away from life, or just aimlessly moving around. As if to answer this nagging doubt in my head, I happened to meet a long-term traveller aboard one of the Christmas party harbour cruises in Sydney one day.
As we talked, I asked him the million-dollar question. Was he running away from life by choosing this path? He glared at me for a second. I assumed that for a person who I had just met, he might have found the question too personal. However, he smiled and answered, “I only know that I am running towards life.” As we took in the harbour views over drinks, here’s what I comprehended from our tête-à-tête.
A road to self-discovery
As the traveller and I cruised down the harbour, we talked about how the year has sprinted by. With only a few days to welcome another year, I realised there’s so much to learn, unlearn and relearn about myself and the world. He enlightened me to the fact that staying in a place for a long time might not help a person to discover who they really are. Oftentimes, we're too busy caught up with work and other things that we forget to spend time for ourselves. The path of travelling is a path of self-discovery. It leads to freedom–to travel wherever that allows you to be yourself. There is a need to move away to get answers to the questions within. Cross paths where you haven’t tread before as you choose to leave behind familiar people and places.
Embrace change, break out of the norm
I have never had calamari, but whilst talking with the traveller I decided to have one from the entree platter. It was surprisingly delicious. But the fact that I had something different for a change excited me. This is where the traveller's words echoed in my mind. Society can’t stand people who deviate from the norm. Travellers do exactly that. It restricts them with the expectation of doing a 9 to 5 job day in and day out. People who take up travelling seriously are considered reckless adults who want to escape responsibilities. In reality, a traveller’s only thought is to embrace change and experience the new. What’s the thrill in being stuck at the same place with the same faces around you? They get to meet different people all along their travels. Get to learn about different cultures, food, languages and their ways of life.
It transforms yourself
The traveller spoke words of self reflection that guided me to my new year’s resolution. It was coincidental that it would come to me while we were cruising on a glass boat — a much-touted venue for a new year’s eve cruise. I resolved to get out of my comfort zone, make life challenging for myself, with travel and new experiences. Meeting people from all walks of life, different cultures and those with different points of view, I hope to adapt to new situations in life. As a result, I hope to see a better version of myself in the new year.
Travelling drives your healing process
The traveller pointed at the serene waters, asking me how I felt just by looking out at it. I said, “It gives me a calming effect.” He brought light to the fact that everyone has their own fears and past trauma. You have to let go of these insecurities. Travelling cannot be defined as running away from anything. You are just running towards life with open arms. You should be able to breathe freely in your own space and reconnect with yourself. Confidence and positivity can be enhanced by discovering new places and befriending new people. The excitement that you receive from travelling is a healing process in itself.
I soon realised that booking myself on a harbour cruise for a Christmas party with my friends that night was the best decision ever. If not, I would have lost the opportunity to come across the traveller for such a splendid rendezvous. His words instilled in me the desire to be a traveller as well. The thought of waking up to a new day in a new place is indeed thrilling!