You won’t see too many selfies of me with a postcard landmark in the background. Not a lot of hammock time on a sandy beach or sipping cocktails poolside. If you take a week away from a busy life this is exactly what to do but don’t fool yourself, this is a holiday not travelling.
Here is my list of why I have taken a full year out of my life to travel.
1. There is no education like experience.
You can read a book and feel like you know about geography but until you stand beside the Grand Canyon you have no idea of its scale and the power of nature. You can read a history book and know the worlds conquests but it is standing in the ruins that it all comes to life in the mind. Lessons lived last forever while book learning fades.
The awe inspiring Plitvice Lakes, Croatia.
2. Connecting with people unlike me.
As you meet people from different countries and backgrounds you start to understand that it is this different history alone that sets us all apart. Our religion, our self imposed restrictions and the restrictions of education and opportunity all come from our birthplace. Underneath this we are all one people. We share a love and concern for our family, the desire for dance and music and the joy of sharing food and conversation together. After enough time on the road it is impossible to feel prejudice or fear of other cultures and as a result a racist traveller is hard to find.
Spontaneous music on the streets of Mendoza, Argentina.
3. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring.
I rarely make a plan when arriving in a new place and this brings me the opportunity to experience what can happen when you are open to anything on any day. New meetings and good surprises can come at any moment and I am free to take the chance to experience them. At home my diary is full and plans are made so I am never surprised by what the new day brings.
A thundery surprise in London, England.
4. I do what I want to do. Period!
Even if you work in your dream job you still have deadlines, clients or responsibilities. Stepping out of your home life allows you the chance to wake up every day and say “What is going to make me feel good right now?” and to “Just do it.” No brand of sneaker has ever made this happen for me in the past.
Coastal hiking in Cornwall, England.
5. Indulge my passion.
I love photography and film. When I am on the road I do one of these things every day and I learn and grow in my craft. Never ignore your passions thinking that a career, family and financial success will make you happy. Go straight to the source of happiness and do what you heart calls you to.
It might take some planning to make it happen but make travel a priority. Plenty of you are happy to spend years and thousands learning from lecturers and books, second hand lessons about the world. Free yourself from the boxed in world you have created for yourself and feel the joy of life on the road.
Words and images by Wade Ranson
Street photography in Essouira, Morocco.