My leg is cramping. I didn’t expect it to take this long. Google Maps obviously didn’t take Memorial Day traffic and very small mountain roads into account when it said it would only take five hours to drive to Yosemite. We’re not even close to the valley yet, and our Saturday is well on its way by now.
My little blue Toyota Yaris that I lovingly named Dory, has a tricky manual transmission that doesn’t like getting into first gear. That makes any traffic jam difficult to manage, let alone two hours of stop-and-go traffic up a mountain. The thought that I will go back this same way in less than two days isn’t increasing the motivation either. These are the moments I ask myself:
Why the heck did I not stay home?
Traveling isn’t always glamorous. I can guarantee you that behind every square of your favorite travel-Instagrammer is a small travel disaster, or at least an inconvenience that you will never hear about. Adventure isn’t always comfortable, travel isn’t always glamorous and going places isn’t always convenient. Honestly? It almost never is.
But ADVENTURE IS ALWAYS WORTH IT.
This is one of the mottos I have to remind myself of the most. Because when I’m trying to jam my life in a suitcase to drag across the Atlantic again, or get stranded on a deserted airport for hours, or get stuck in traffic in Yosemite with a stick shift – the thought of my comfy bed, or reading a book on the couch does sound a whole lot more appealing.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. These are not problems, this is just part of the adventure. Travel is a luxury, a privilege and an eye-opening experience that I never want to live without. But adventure is an all-inclusive package, and it does contain some inconvenient, uncomfortable and sometimes even dangerous situations.
Yes, a Netflix marathon is a lot more relaxed than camping in a sleeping bag that is way too thin for the freezing mountain air. Hanging out with friends at the local wine bar is a lot easier than getting lost in the not-so-great neighborhood of that city you’ve never been to. But by traveling you’re not just exploring the world around you. You’re expanding yourself.
Your world view changes by encountering another culture.
Your stress levels decrease by seeing your problems from a new perspective.
Stereotypes are shattered by meeting people you would normally not cross paths with.
Your opinions are colored beyond black and white as you experience something you never have before.
Existing friendships are deepened and new ones are created.
And most of all, you discover more of who you are and what you love by finding yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Adventure will cost you something, whether it’s time, money or comfort. But it truly is always worth it.
Wanderlust – for the love of travel.
(Next up: Why you should use those vacation days)