Friday, August 24, 2012

What to take with you when you travel around the world

David's done a couple of posts already about the gear he's taking, and I'll do one too once I'm reunited with all my trip stuff, which is currently scattered across Northern Colorado. I kid. It's just in Loveland at my mother-in-law's, and in Eaton at my parents' house, but I currently have no idea where most of it is.

But in the meantime, I thought I'd give you (and myself) some advice on what to take with you that doesn't go in a bag.
  • Take kindness. It's easy to think that everyone is out to get your money or rip you off. People are the same everywhere. Everyone wants to be valued. Everyone wants to be acknowledged. Everyone wants to be treated fairly.
  • Bring a smile. It'll get you further than almost anything.
  • Take a sense of wonder. It's easy to get into the "Oh, another temple/waterfall/lemur<--not likely! But there is no sense in seeing the world if you're going to dismiss it as "Been there. Done that."
  • Take gratitude for the experience. You are so very lucky to have this opportunity. Be thankful for it.
  • Take an open mind and open heart. You never know what's around the corner. Some of the best experiences come from the unexpected. Be ready for anything. Expect it. Embrace it.
  • Bring along everyone you know. (That's what the blog is for!) Your family, your friends, your co-workers and neighbors and the people you ride the bus with every morning. You're going to need them when the going gets rough and the world seems lonely.
  • Take some honesty. Things will be hard, you will fight with your traveling companion, there will be times when all you want to do is curl up read a book. Own it, embrace it, do it.
  • Take your time. You have a whole year. Don't rush. Wander.
  • Bring your silly. Thoughtfulness has a place on this trip, but seriousness doesn't.
  • Take your courage. Be brave. Be brave. Be brave.
And finally, some things you should leave behind.
  • Leave your assumptions about cultures and people behind.
  • Leave your comfort zone. Eat something crazy. Do something you might not like. Even if you don't, I promise it'll make a good story.
  • Leave your grouch, your grumble, your inner curmudgeon. It will follow you, it will find you, but just remember to stop and eat something. Because generally it's blood sugar related (this one is definitely for me to remember).
  • Leave your expectations you carry from the last time you stepped out your door. This is not like that one time. You don't want it to be.
  • Leave your fear behind. I'm not talking about strutting down dark alleys. But as I said above (and it bears repeating): be brave.
  • Leave your mascara. Chances are good you'll sweat it off or cry it off anyway. For that matter all of your armor, in whatever way you put it up.
  • Leave some breadcrumbs. You'll be back eventually. Take care that you have some place to land on the other side of your year.
I love The Holstee Manifesto below. It's advice we can all take. It got me through many moments of uncertainty in the last few months.
The Holstee Manifesto
Today is my last day at work, and my eyes are brimming.  The leaving is finally happening. I thought it would never come and now it's here. But the going is coming (yes, I know that makes no sense) and I'm ready to be on my way.