As I’m writing this, I’m flying 30,000 feet (10,000m) above the Atlantic ocean for the first time. My past week consisted of intense stress, emotional pain, and severe anxiety. Currently, I’ve been traveling for close to 15 hours, slept only 4 hours, and hadn’t had a decent meal the entire day.
I’ll be spending the next third of the year leaving abroad in the United States, which I’ve dreamt of since I was in elementary school. Now that I’m finally realizing my dream, I’m hungry, tired, stressed, and feel like shit.
And I love every second of it.
Well, not literally, of course. I just told you I feel like shit. I don’t know how things are going to turn out once I arrive, but the reason I know this trip is going to change my life is that in order to do it, I will have to grow and adapt.
I’ve traveled a decent amount before. I’ve also traveled alone, which is scary for most people, but I don’t have that fear. I used to, but once I changed my general mindset and the way I approach things, I now see it as a challenging experience, rather than a terrible misfortune.
Regardless, this trip is on a whole other level.
1. Solo travel toughens you up
I like to believe I’m pretty tough. Not “I’m gonna kick your ass if you look at me the wrong way” kind of tough, but more in the way I approach situations and challenges – I don’t start panicking and worrying for no reason, but focus on finding the solution.
However, throughout this trip I am going to need to strengthen my mindset more deeply. Deciding to take this plunge required not only giving up a lot of things and not seeing some awesome people for a long time, it also meant severing ties with someone I love.
Logically, everything leading up to this point makes sense. Realistically, I feel like shit on so many different levels, least of all because I’m physically exhausted.
Successful people don’t make the right choices, they make their choices right.
Reason this trip is going to toughen me up is because I took the hard choice, felt afraid, but still decided to do it. This trip required me to leave the rut, fold my comfort zone in a carpet, then roll it down the stairs while yelling numerous insults in five different languages.
What I meant to say is that being confined by your comfort zone is obviously not good, and even if you’re not (like me) you can still get caught in a web of habits and routine to the point where you are bound by them. I know the carpet thing didn’t really make much sense, but fuck it, who cares about making sense when you’re running on reserve power?
To be truly happy in life, you must do what you desire and follow your vision regardless of the cost. I can tell you from experience that it often sucks, it’s often hard, frustrating, and shitty. But in the long run, I know it’s the right choice.
And I would rather feel like shit for making the right choice, than feel like shit for avoiding tough choices and never following my dreams.
2. You don’t know anybody — that’s a good thing
I’m arriving to a place where I don’t know a single soul; no estranged family member, no old friends, or people I met on the internet. It’s just me against the world.
And I LOVE it.
Almost all people I know think traveling alone is terrible and boring. Even when they weigh the benefits, they’re still scared of going somewhere without travel companions or having someone meeting them at their destinations.
Have you ever wondered why I decided to travel alone in the first place? Traveling with friends is always more fun, right?
In the past, I always traveled with a group of friends. However, I wanted to experience the city we were vising, while they wanted to sit around the hotel room, talk over drinks, or get drunk and roam the streets.
That’s what they do at home – why travel only to do the exact same things, with the exact same people?
Your friends are not necessarily like this, but still, traveling alone offers you to a whole new experience. Feeling bored? Don’t wanna go out? Don’t know what to do? Nobody to have drinks with? Nobody to call up?
Tough luck motherfucker – YOU’RE ALONE!
In other words, no hiding behind your comfort zone, your friends, and acquaintances. Unless you want to spend your entire trip surfing Facebook and checking your mail (which btw you ALREADY DO AT HOME), you must go out and meet new people.
When I was 20 I traveled to London alone for a week. Didn’t know anybody, have never visited, but I met a bunch of people, and it was a better trip than any I ever took with a group of friends.
3. High expectations deliver great experiences
High expectations are usually perceived as a bad thing, but in a successful person’s mind, they’re the fuel driving their actions. I have high expectations of my trip, which means that unless I want to feel like shit for missing out, I need to do my best to make them true.
And I will.
You know people who say things like “I wish I could do this or do that”? Do you know how they’re called? People. All people contemplate scenarios where they achieve what they want, because they’re sure they will never be able to do it. So they set and fulfill their low-expectation tasks, while regarding how they really want to live as nothing more than a fantasy.
On the other hand, people who achieve those things expect to achieve them. If they didn’t, it would comedown to pure luck – which in does not in most cases.
I know my trip is going to be awesome because I expect it to be awesome. And since I expect it, I will focus my effort on making it true, and because of that it will be.
As Harvey Specter from Suits would say: “I don’t have dreams. I have goals.”
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going back to working on mine. Well, as soon as this plane lands and I get some shuteye. But when I do, the world better watch out. I will eat fear and shit thunder, so you see me coming a mile away.
I’m turning my dreams into goals. Are you?
P.S. Here’s a recap of the trip that proves these tips work.