"Whichever you first came to would have satisfied you if you had believed you were at home in all. As it is, instead of travelling you are rambling and drifting, exchanging one place for another when the thing you are looking for, the good life, is available everywhere."
Nowadays with globalization, it is not at all uncommon for people to travel internationally somewhere during their lifetime whether for leisure or business. Outside of the United States, I've been to three different countries - Mexico, Canada, and Taiwan. Not at all an impressive resume. If you were to compare my travels with those of my peers, I'd say I'm maybe four or five countries behind. From just browsing my friends' facebook pictures, I was convinced that where I was would determine to some extent my level of happiness. After all, how can you not be happy in such an exotic place as Puerto Rico's rain forest, or be excited about Paris' nightlife, or feel at peace on New Zealand's coast? "I would be so happy living on an exotic island drinking piña coladas all day."
My travels to Taiwan this early September did not convincingly confirm my theory. I was in a tropical paradise, though humid, I was surrounded by a beautiful mother nature backdrop. Temporarily I felt more satisfied with life than I was in the States. After all, when the dollar ($30 TWD to $1 USD) can go a long way in Taiwan, you can buy more and eat more. I was able to get a good two person meal for maybe $5 USD. That same meal would have cost $30 USD in the states. Inexpensive food and galore shopping led to only temporary satisfaction. The scene quickly grew old and even in my short week and a half stint, I grew accustomed to the Taiwaner life. In it's rawest form, my vacationing in Taiwan wasn't that much different than my typical vacation in the States. I'd lounge around and watch television, now those moments were more or less similar.
Though I may not find lasting happiness by solely depending on being somewhere, there is a part of me that believes traveling will shape me to become a better person. Exposure to different cultures and varying experiences, will better prepare me to open myself to all of life's tribulations and offerings. I've lived in one place my entire life and even through college I was not far from where home was. The trick is finding the time while working and/or the guts to abandon or temporarily abandon Corporate life. I'm not going to lie, this decision would be much easier if I didn't believe money was an issue. It wouldn't hurt if say I had a friend willing to take this leap of faith with as well, but I know that may be asking too much.
I'm not sure what I hope to find by traveling, but I know a part of me wants to open myself up to the world. I can feel myself holding back because of what my family expects from me, what society expects, what my peers expect, and ultimately this shapes what I expect from myself. At some point, all of that has to go out the door and I need to let the "flood gates" open. Life can't always be planned. I don't know where it is going to take me. I'm twenty three now and its a scary thought to see time pass this quickly. The more I think about it the more I feel as if something is missing in my life. The more I meditate to fill that gap, the more I'm beginning to think it can't be filled with just meditation. Whether it be through an international rotation with my firm or just complete "reckless" abandonment of the corporate life, somehow I have to take this leap sooner rather than later.
This post inspired by the following:
8 things I wish I knew when I was 22
Sky Scanner for your plane ticket needs.
Planning a round the world trip for under $10,000
How to buy a round the world plan ticket (That kicks ass)
20 things I've learned from traveling around the world for three years
Labels: How to Be Happy Now, Personal, Places You Wished You Visited, Travels