The happy note is about to get a dash of tough love. Some things just need to be said.
Travel is important for the body and mind, but it will not magically solve your problems. If you've packed a bag, hoping to "run away" from feelings of depression, anxiety, loneliness, or dissatisfaction (God, I just know I'm going to receive an email from some therapist), please unpack your bag. NOW!
Travel has quite a few applications, many of which I've written about. It is not, however, an effective way to run from your problems. Using travel as an escape method is no different than using drugs as an escape method. Once the initial thrill wears off, you are the same person you were when you left home base.
While planning my trip, I made the mistake of assuming travel would turn me into a better person. I thought it would increase my motivation and artistic output, and maybe even get me fit. Thankfully, I quickly discovered that my assumption was a misnomer, that only I could change my habits. Turns out my globe-trotting expedition is exactly that: an expedition. It doesn't inherently fix any of my problems. However, it does make me better equipped to deal with them.
Choosing to hit the road has been a giant step in the right direction. It certainly helps propel me toward success, and achieving my goals. I'm proud to admit that in the last few months I've become more physically fit, more mentally resilient, and less likely to be bothered by, well...pretty much everything. Yes, travel has been a motivation for my self-improvement; however, any changes I go through during my journey are mine to be proud of.
I liken travel to good education. By exploring the world, you arm yourself with tools that can help you deal with various life scenarios, including bouts of unhappiness. You cannot run away from your brain; it is with you, even a million miles from home. Go on an adventure to have fun, learn stuff about yourself, and expand your horizons. Do not, however, treat it as an easy fix for anything. You have more power within you than travel will ever have!
My name is Yonah Paley. I quit my job in the United States to travel. I also write music and do photography. As I backpack across the world, I share stories, philosophy, and travel tips.