Saturday, February 11, 2012

Never Alone When Traveling

Many people ask, ponder, or wonder how do you get by traveling alone? Don’t you get lonely and need a friend?
My answer is simple: I am never alone when traveling. 

Traveling alone is something that I just love and actually have more difficulty traveling with others because my interests are so diverse from the average traveler.  Most people traveling with me would not want to go through villages and spend time with locals rather they would want to go to the beach or go drink-not my interest.  The only one person I can truly travel with and miss traveling with is my wife, Tanya.  She is amazing and we have the best time together, but she has a family and commitments so my life goes on with or without her.

When I make the statement I am never alone.  I am never alone because I have my higher power by my side-this may sound cliché to some, but this is real.  I am constantly meeting people( his spirit attracts other to mine)-all day and everyday whether it is a shop owner, a street vendor, on a bus, at a park, in a temple, at a tourist site, at a guesthouse, in a café, or anytime-anywhere.  I actually meet more people than I would if I traveled with another person, which brings me to my theory on the beauty of being alone. 

The beauty of being alone is that one has potential to meet more people than when being with another friend or group.  It is important to note that the person has to be open minded and have a desire to interact with others.  One can go through traveling not speaking to a soul and with their head dug deep inside their books, music, or hobbies.  The energy ypu give to the universe comes back to you full circle  in life. The energy you send out to people around you may increase/ decrease your chances of having a positive interaction. 

If open minded and willing to learn about others, the potential for learning and meeting new friends is endless.  As an American, I never realized how many people are interested in getting to know me.  I think of Americans as boring and have little interest in talking with them when traveling unless they are first class Americans.

A first class American is someone who is open minded to new cultural experiences, immerses themselves into other cultures, travels, and believes that America is not the best and only country in the world.  There are many of them that I come across on couchsurfing and these kinds of people are the ones I truly appreciate. 

Back to people’s interest in getting to know me, I did not realize until this recent trip how many Indians and Southeast Asians are interested in me just being an American who speaks English.  English has incredible value worldwide and growing up you just take it for granted.  I am amazed with people’s interest in getting to know my culture.  From my experience, these locals abroad have such an interest in getting to know us so we should have equal interest in getting to know them right?

Unfortunately, most Americans do not have this interest in cultural learning because real travel is not encouraged, which leads to ignorance, discrimination, and stereotyping.  For instance, the middle East is perceived in US media as this awful place, but in reality it is not.  I can not speak of the Middle East based off personal experience, but just based off people I have met and shared travel experiences.  We are encouraged to think negatively based off limited real experiences and built up negativity. 

My points are getting jumbled together, but back to my main point that there is true beauty in traveling alone.  What you can see, do, think, and experience-the sky is the limit.  Since you are alone, you get bored so you spark up conversions with random strangers who might end up being life long friends. 

The true social networking starts with TRAVELING not FACEBOOK.  Many Americans fear traveling and worry about leaving their socially constructed life, but the opportunity abroad is amazing.  This statement depends on a variety of factors of course, but if you are a person who is extroverted and meet people easily-this statement is true.  When you are traveling you are building connections and sometimes you never know who people really are and who they know.  I have met people who are so well connected, they could probably help me get a job in multiple fields.  It is overwhelming the amount of social networking that goes on and how people come in and out of your lives leaving footprints on your heart, leaving your mind stimulated/changed, inspiring, empowering, and educating you. 
This is what makes traveling so amazing-THE INTERPERSONAL INTERACTION. I can not reinforce this point anymore.  It is NOT about drinking, partying, touristy destinations place to place, etc.  These things come along time to time and it is fine, but that is not what the traveling is about. 

The opportunity comes my way from country to country and it just about finding that job where I can travel all over and follow a mission that is meaningful.  I have wonderful people asking me to stay longer in various cities and offering to help me find work or build connections. But  I have my own mission when traveling, which is inspriring and empowering others to believe in their purpose and passion.  People laugh when they hear my email and without me currently being connected to a corporate job people just think I am going around partying and watching the clouds. 

On a daily basis, I have meaningful interactions with people and acknowledge them as human beings.  While this is not important to most people, it is important to me and this mission of mine is not documented, but maybe it should be so people can understand the importance of believing in your purpose and educating others on their potential. 

I am never alone and I am floating among seas and seas of opportunity… I have no fear about finding a job or not having money anymore. I am learning to let go of the focus on materialism and that is when good things come your way.  Focusing on money creates stress and rather than stress- I just want happiness. 

                    “ I want to celebrate and live my life to the fullest potential ”

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