I don’t want to talk about why you should date someone who travels. Or why you shouldn’t date someone who travels.
I have a very real problem with these articles — who are you to tell me who I should or should not date?! Seriously, what’s the point of writing an article that puts someone on a pedestal (or crushes them beneath one) based on some arbitrary characteristic?
Instead, I pose this to you. Be someone who travels.
Who says you have to wait to find a significant other to introduce you to the joys and excitement of travel?
You know those articles that explain what it’s like to be a traveler? The ones that get your adrenaline rushing and your heart bursting through your chest? Why can’t that be you? Why let someone else live the life that you’ve always dreamed of living? Living vicariously through someone is not a real way to live. Rumi once wrote, “Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” Go, travel, and write your own story.
When you decide to go and travel, your world gets just a little bit bigger. At first, one door opens, then another, and another, until all of a sudden the possibilities are endless – you can go anywhere, experience anything, make any dream into reality.
When you transform into a traveler, your outlook on life changes. You start to see things differently. You start to think from other people’s points of view. You start to ask questions that you don’t necessarily know the answer to, but are content to spend the rest of your life trying to solve.
When you become someone who travels, you learn so many new things that you could never learn from a book or a class or even by living in your own little world.
You learn how to travel light. One of the most useful skills that traveling has taught me is how to fit my entire life into a suitcase. When you’re given a limited amount of space, you learn how to prioritize what’s important, how to leave behind the things you don’t really need to bring with you, how to cut out the inessential to make way for the essential. Over time, after having practiced it over and over and over with your suitcase, you eventually learn how to do this with your life.
You learn how to see the world for what it is: a beautiful, but very broken, place. The Japanese have a word that perfectly sums this up: kintsugi, literally translated as “golden joinery”, which describes the process of repairing broken pottery by filling in the cracks with silver or gold. The poetic license there is that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken. The cracks aren’t hidden away in some darkened back-alley, nor are they reasons to discard the piece altogether; they’re displayed proudly and even highlighted to show that there is beauty in the breakdown.
You learn the meaning of the word “perspective” and gain some.
My favorite example of this is the story of Edgar Mitchell, an astronaut who went up to space on the Apollo 14 mission. He said, “In outer space, you develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty.” I’m not saying that you should rocket off into outer space to find perspective, but my point is that it’s easier to speak up on behalf of peaceful cohabitation with the other 6 billion when you know who the other 6 billion are.
You learn more about yourself. There’s no story for this one; it’s just something you’re going to have to go out and discover.
So, go. What’s holding you back? Fear of inadequate safety? Fear of being alone? Finances? Time? There are a million different reasons that will convince you to stay. But you only need one to convince you to go.
Go on, bite the bullet, and take a leap of faith. There’s an entire world out there, waiting to be discovered, and along with it, your story, waiting to be written.