Tune In, Adventure Far
Nicole Burton • May 4, 2016 • Lifestyle •
From the time that we’re born we are conditioned to live up to certain societal norms: Having an expensive college education is a must. Buying that massive house is also a necessity. Getting married and having children is expected. And of course we have to make as much money as possible to obtain all of these things… The list goes on and on.
But what happens when an individual does not follow the normal path? What happens when a person does what they believe will truly make them happy, against the opinions of close family members, friends and society? Those individuals are usually seen as crazy or unruly. They “march to the beat of their own drum,” because the beat that society wants them to hear is the same monotone beat that everyone else follows.
Specifically, Americans are supposed to graduate high school and go straight to college. So teenagers, who just months before had to ask permission to go to the restroom, are being told to decide what they want to do with the rest of their life. After college these young adults are expected to go right into working, building a career and putting their degree to good use. They’re expected to find a mate, get married and have children. Their lives are spent working in the respective field they chose as a teenager and raising the next generation to do exactly the same thing as their parents.
But what if there was a little voice inside some of those young adults telling them, just maybe, this isn’t the life they’re supposed to live? Maybe there’s something else out there for them, waiting patiently to be discovered. But pressure from their parents or society silences that whisper, inhibiting growth and ignoring the full blown scream of their soul, “This isn’t the life you were supposed to live!”
Now I’m not saying that everyone who lives the above-stated lifestyle is doing something wrong. Some people never hear that voice or feel the nudge to do something unscripted. And some individuals are truly happy living that life.
I’m speaking to the ones who’ve heard that voice but muffled it until they didn’t hear it anymore. They’ve felt the itch deep down in their bones to discover lands unknown and completely put themselves out of their comfort zones, but didn’t know where or how to start the journey of self-discovery. I am here to tell you, my friends, that you’re not alone.
Making ourselves uncomfortable is a huge part of the growing process. Chances are if you’re experiencing discomfort or a healthy dose of fear then you’re learning and evolving. I firmly believe that traveling is the best way to grow as a person. Whether it is around your country of origin, or in exotic lands far, far away, you discover things about yourself that you never would have known if you had not taken the chance to see and experience a way of life or people that is unfamiliar. Not only will you learn about history and different cultures, but it helps you become a well-rounded person. You learn to shed judgment, develop incredible patience, and view the world with a completely open mind.
Extreme gratitude is also a side effect of traveling. It makes a person grateful for every single being, animal, or sentimental token collected over the years that was left behind. Even if a negative situation occurs, it’s always a learning opportunity. Learning the inner strengths, weaknesses and the endurance you possess is incredibly empowering!
For most of my childhood I had the life-changing experience of growing up with exchange students. I’ve traveled to 15 different countries in four continents, and just recently sold most of my worldly possessions and embarked on a solo, open-ended journey to the other side of the Earth.
One major observation I’ve made is that in a lot of European countries young adults are encouraged to travel for at least a year after they graduate high school, before attending university. Throughout my life I have met more intelligent, mature teenagers from other countries than I have adults in their 20s that live in the states.
If our youth was encouraged to do the same thing, then America would be better for it. There is too much value put on materialistic things and not enough on human connection. Traveling makes us humble again, and opens up the gateway to remember why we’re all on this beautiful Earth together: to live and coexist as one.
It is extremely difficult to go against the grain and do things outside the box. We’re conditioned to care what other people’s (especially our peers’) opinions are of us. But once you stop paying attention to what other people think about your choices, then everything gets so much easier!
No matter what you do people will always have criticism for just about everything.
But that’s just it: This is your journey, no one else’s. Imagine doing what you truly feel in your heart is the right thing to do; the right path to take. It is one of the most enlightening things you will ever discover. So tune in, and listen to that voice. Feed that hunger and desire the right diet, and you will be unstoppable in your search for purpose and happiness. If you want something then make it happen! The only thing standing in the way of living the life you want is YOU.