It’s my birthday today and as on any other birthday, I start thinking – is this where I thought I would be, have I been to all the places I was planning to go by now, have I learned something?! And, of course, as with any other birthday all this thinking actually makes me sad rather than happy. We always have this idea about ourselves that somehow puts us below our own expectations and we don’t realize how different the reality is. One thing I keep coming back to, though, are my trips…luckily I always see them as they actually were.
Let me tell you a story… Last year (around this time), my now husband and I decided that we wanted to get married, well technically he proposed. After long discussions on how to do it, we realized that we didn’t want to make a big thing out of it, so we decided to elope in Vegas….how trivial of us, right? We had to make it different. We took a week off each from work, rented a car to drive there.
Starting in Rhode Island, we took Interstate 80 on our way to Las Vegas, which crosses pretty much every state on the upper side of the U.S. and on our way back – Interstate 70, to pay a visit to most of the states on the Southern part. This trip changed me – not only from being single to being married, but it opened my eyes on how much more there is, how beautiful and diverse the world is, how I had forgotten about this!
The beauty of stopping in every state you encounter is that you get to see completely different scenery from one state to the other, completely different people, with different priorities in life, different accents and behavior; and all this within the same country. The state that I fell in love is Utah, breathtaking scenery away from the noise of the city and the rush of the everyday life; it makes you think.
This is how my life was before the trip, and I’m sure you can relate to that – get up, check my phone, have some coffee, go to work, check my phone, go back home, have dinner, check my phone, talk to friends and family, check my phone, go to bed. Every single day one and the same thing, it’s like you are in a loop and cannot think nor see anything different from your routine. I did not realize how detrimental to my existence this routine was; not until I took that trip.
You might say, how can a trip teach you something, or how long does it last before you forget about what it taught you and go back to your routine again – well, that’s when you have to be careful – the better the trip, the more benefit you will get out of it. So how can a trip change your life – it gives you a new perspective, it takes the worry away and allows you to see how simple things could be.
My list of trips that will change your life
Cross country road trip
Regardless of where you live, you need to explore your country first before you decide to head somewhere else. There are so many places that you probably don’t even know about, the best way to find them is by driving around; drive relentlessly – like there is no finish line, stop anywhere you feel like there is something to see and if you are on a budget – sleep in the car (of course, only in designated areas, safety first!). With a cross country road trip, all you have to worry about is gas and food, and if you pre-pack your food at home – not even that.
Even though a train trip is one of my personal favorites, it can be pricy depending on where you are. You don’t have the flexibility of the car, when it comes to stopping and exploring locations you want to see, but the railroad itself gives you an unprecedented view of your surroundings. Railroads usually pass through a bit different locations from the ones we see on the road, hence give you an opportunity to see a rather rare view; and of course as with any trip – bring your camera along, some of the greatest pictures in my collection were taken from a train. Here is my suggestion for you – European railroad trip – affordable, different and it gives you the opportunity to meet a diverse number of people, each and every one of whom has a story to tell.
“Work away” trips
Work away is a revolutionary way of exploring the world, it provides you with the opportunity of going anywhere you want and work for families or small businesses up to five hours a day, in return they provide you with accommodation and food, and plenty of free time left to go and explore the surroundings. How it will change your life? – It will allow you to live in any country you want, as if you are local; you can learn a new language and plenty of skills to add to your resume.
Working holiday trips
Similar to the one above, except that with this one you can actually earn money, while on a holiday. Unfortunately, the working holiday visa has a few restrictions, such as age, nationality, country of interest, you must have insurance and sufficient funds to start your trip, but there are no limitations on the type of employment you get. Benefits? – aren’t they obvious?
Places to go
For me the trip itself has always been more important than the destination, but I have to admit that there are destinations that can transform your life regardless of how you get there. Here is to name a few:
A hike under the midnight sun, a bath in one of the many hot springs, views of the massive glaciers and rugged fjords, you name it – Iceland has it all. Recently, I watched a video of a girl driving throughout Iceland that actually started crying, because she could not believe how beautiful the landscape is. When was the last time you cried by looking at a waterfall? – Exactly! Sometimes beauty alone can take your breath away and change your life forever.
Volunteering at a school in Africa or working with children in Haiti, either one will not only help those children, but it will help you appreciate your life and be thankful for it even more. Furthermore, any help you offer voluntarily without receiving anything in return, actually helps you grow as a person and broadens your perspective on life.
Living in a kibbutz, a voluntary democratic community where people live and work together. You need to learn how to be more cooperative and be part of a team? – Nothing better than living in a community that was built on these foundations. It teaches you how to be more accepting and willing to put in the work, because you know you will be helping your community grow and excel.
Rideau Canal Skateway, Ottawa, Canada – do you enjoy skating? I know I do. Remember how much fun it was when you were little; now imagine skating everyday on your way to work. It is no secret that having fun and laughing your way through life, contributes to your health and wellbeing, but I also think that it teaches you not to take life too seriously; after all you are not getting alive out of it.
Scuba diving in Higuey, Dominican Republic – exploring the water life is always an amazing experience, but the greatest lesson that you get out of it is that there is a whole world under the water that we know so little about. It really teaches you to be more thoughtful when it comes to respecting the environment, and each and every living being.
If you can afford to go on a trip to our ice cap, you would learn that it is worth each and every penny. Will it change you – no doubt about it, will you remember it – how could you not!, will it make you rethink your live until that point – go and see for yourself.
The destinations listed above hardly do any justice to our Planet, when it comes to exploring all its wonders, but they definitely give you an idea of what there is out there and that each and every experience that makes you go out of your comfort zone will change your life.
If you are on the search of life changing places, I can say one thing – take a trip, find them yourself. Any place can be life changing, as long as you allow yourself to truly look into it. Wherever you go – yes, explore the touristic spots, but also dig deeper, look behind the curtains and see how the show is made, you might be surprised of what you find.
When was the last trip that changed your life?