So I went on a trip to Dublin, Ireland, last weekend. And I didn’t just visit the Guinness Storehouse and tried Jameson whisky. I learned some things about myself, my life and my freedom. And this is why traveling is not only important but healthy for you.
One: Traveling shows you how freakin’ fun it is to just be yourself. All the time.
Others will only stare at you because they wish they were that free. I’ve noticed that about children. Early in their lives they don’t understand that what they see is not what other people see. They don’t understand that others can see and think about them, judge them. And look how much fun they have. How they always get what they want. How quickly they forgive and forget.
Two: Traveling teaches you that it’s more than okay to be selfish.
In Dublin, I finally allowed myself to be selfish as long as I keep being a good, kind person. Everyone is so afraid of that word, “selfish.” But you don’t have to be some perfect altruist to prove the universe that you should go to heaven after death. That will only cost you you. It’s okay to take what you want as long as it doesn’t harm anyone. It’s okay to say what you want as long as they know you would never ever want to hurt them on purpose. People need some fresh air of honesty.
Three: Traveling helps you realize that eating is a relationship.
The way I see it now, enjoying food means building your relationship with Mother Nature. By taking pleasure in what you eat you show appreciation for the gift that taste buds are. So in Dublin, I learned to enjoy food again.
I’ve always had severe social anxiety and one of my symptoms was difficulty eating in public. And when I did eat in public, my food tasted bland and dry, no matter what it was. That put my digestive system under stress and caused all kinds of digestive problems. Once I allowed myself to be selfish and first think about what I want, my anxiety went down. I got to enjoy all kinds of crazy vegan foods on my trip, like vegan beef and vegan pork, instead of just sticking to same old “safe” foods.
Four: Traveling shows you how freakin’ fun it is to say yes to things you want to do right here, right now. (Emphasis on “want.”)
Life is short and most things you’ll say yes to won’t cost you your fortune, your career or your health. So for the love of God, stop saying no to another slice of that cheesy pizza! Stop saying no to dying your hair pumpkin spice orange if you think that’s funny! Stop saying no to trying out painting just because you think you’re too old for it! Feed your curiosity. That’s what freedom is all about.
Five: Traveling makes you realize that it’s not freakin’ fun to be dependent on things you don’t actually need.
Google Maps, earphones, social media, news, jewelry, makeup… Instead, use paper maps (yes, those still exist), read books, talk to the lonely people around you, learn facts about the place you’re in.
Admit it, listening to Trump’s and May’s bullshit is exhausting. Disconnecting for a couple of weeks won’t ruin your country’s politics and you won’t become less informed. All you need to know is in the newspapers and in other people. Here’s an example of important and unimportant kinds of information:
Important: May is still the PM of Britain after the no-confidence vote. Unimportant: Trump served hamburgers and fries at the White House.
Six: Traveling teaches you more about you than about the world.
You become more self-aware. You start to ask the right questions. You question reality. You question the truth. You also learn what you actually like and dislike, and start to see connections between them and other aspects of your personality. Turns out, I don’t enjoy going to museums — because I always found history to be hella boring. Turns out, I much more prefer to go to a gallery (I am one of those people who spends 15 minutes in front of a single painting) — because I love self-expression and clever messages.
Seven: Traveling shows you that it’s more than okay to break ridiculous rules… as long as you know what you’re doing.
You can take a photo of old, fragile books in a historic library. As long as you don’t use flashlight and it’s not a government secret that could put the country in danger. That’s what all the bans are about.
Eight: (This one is specific to Dublin) Traveling taught me that Oscar Wilde was a pretty cool dude because sometime, somewhere he said:
“I drink to keep body and soul apart.”
“Beauty has as many meanings as man has moods.”
“It seems to me that we all look at Nature too much, and live with her too little.”