“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.”
Growing up in Iran was an interesting experience.
The word travel in Farsi is ‘Safar’, and the stories still ring in my ears about so-and-so’s ‘Safar’ to such and such place. I remember during my childhood, the grownups would discuss someone’s travels overseas as the main subject of conversation for weeks – first, the discusses started before this said person would go on their trip and then all the wild speculation as to what they are doing during their trip and last but not least, what they actually did after they had returned home to share the true stories. It did not matter if this person went to the neighboring country for a boring work meeting. If you left the country and went somewhere – anywhere – and then came back to tell about it, it was a big deal!
How many years will you be waiting to take your dream trip?
And what exactly is making you wait?
It is also fascinating to note how that first traveler’s experience to a new country shaped the views of everyone about that country; all future travelers who traveled to this country went with those assumptions as facts and God help them if they did not find the same experiences of the original “source!” to be true for them.
Like I said, interesting times, with endless repetitions on the same stories, such as my parents and their time in Oregon, my grandmother’s major trip to Japan and Paris, my aunt’s sojourn in Florence, and while hearing the same thing over and over kinda drives me crazy – even though it is fundamental to the art of Iranian conversation – somewhere between hearing it 5 times to 50 times, the ideas of travel started to take shape in my own mind.
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If you ask me where I dreamt of going for my first ‘Safar’ back when I was 10 years old, I would have torn between Paris and America, even if not being able to remotely grasp what either one would be like. My answer was solely based on the original Iranian traveler’s impression on these two countries: Paris fares very well in the eyes of Iranians, because well, the French are adored for their sense of fashion, style, beautiful language, and high discipline in education, and America because of the radical freedom and liberties and the massive land of opportunity, and home of Disney, Hollywood, and oh yes, capitalism, and that is so outrageously different, one must visit to see for oneself!
Imagine what it feels like to set foot in a place that only existed in your imagination. Imagine the sights, the sounds, the smells and the experiences that await you, none which you could begin to anticipate in advance.
But there is the deeper reasons: Paris because my grandparents and Mom spent some time in Paris where my grandfather completed his PhD in nuclear physics and taught the subject in French, and my grandmother became a top student at the Paris’s Guerlain school of fashion and went on to open her own school of designing clothes in Iran, and my mom attending the French boarding school.
And America because my Dad had spent over a decade of his life in Oregon in his youth, and his experiences there shaped him into the wonderful person that he is today, and then he spent two more years there after with my Mom, who mastered English with her fluency in French!
I wanted to see the places whence these stories originated over the years. Curiosity, you can say, was the first element of hunger for my desires to travel.
What about you? What was your childhood understanding of travel? What travel dreams did you nurse when you were growing up? And how many of those have you fulfilled in your life so far?
If you are waiting to find the “right time” or “affordable prices” or “better travel times”, you are indirectly saying that traveling to your dream destination is not that important, and for now, you will gladly let your excuses stop you.
My life, in hindsight, has turned out blissfully well. I have traveled to Paris a few times and America is my home sweet home and my travel destination at the same time. And travel has now become one of the deepest passions and pursuits of my life simply because I intended it for it to be so.
I’ll never forget how when I first started traveling – after years of waiting and planning and preparing, mind you – to far away places, say to Asia or Europe or the South Pacific, and I’d come back to the office to share my stories with people that I considered my dear colleagues and peers, and the most common reaction was one of complete envy with a disdainful attitude: “Well, aren’t you lucky! I can’t really get away because I have, well, responsibilities, kids, dogs, boats, cars, [insert additional lousy excuses], sure wish I could do that!” Huh???
So I started to think of myself as “lucky” because I am able to travel, even though it took a herculean effort even for me to leave home every single time. I had just as many responsibilities and planning, and yet I continued to feel “lucky”, until one day I realized what was happening.
People make excuses to avoid facing their true potential and their higher self. Don’t be one of those people.
There is no reason whatsoever that any of those peers and colleagues of mine could not have traveled, near or far, even if to just observe beauty in a new place. They made more money, had more vacation, and certainly more means than me, but their mind trapped them in a prison that kept them in their local zip code, and mine – well, mine wanted to fly away to the end of the world and back a few laps before deciding which places to frequent.
The difference between those who travel and those who dream of traveling is a state of mind. It is your own self-limiting thoughts that keeps you not just from travel but from every other experience that you wish to have in life.
If you don’t have any desire to travel, and if you are perfectly happy with your life, then there should be no reason on earth for you to ever travel. I know perfectly happy people who live extremely rich happy lives without much of any travel, and I love it. Travel is a very personal and intimate decision.
But if you are dreaming of traveling, if you are hungry for new places, different cultures, foreign languages, and life as it unfolds in other corners of the world, then travel must be a part of your destiny, and denying yourself that magnificent experience will leave you wrapped up in regrets in your golden years.
So set aside your excuses, gather up your determination, muster up your courage – you have it as well as anyone else out there and it will start to emerge the moment you do set aside the excuses and say to yourself:
“You know what, I can do this. I can AND will take that trip. I will visit that place. I will make this dream come to life.”
Travel with Confidence: A Roadmap to Build Your Travel Spirit is a comprehensive guide that teaches you step-by-step how to overcome your every travel fear and anxiety so you can become a confident, and fearless traveler!
The inspiration for this post came from a speech I watched by the magnificent and brilliant Dr. Wayne Dyer on his Excuses Begone series, and my message to you is simple:
Use Your Inner Powers
Bonus: 21-Step Confidence Building Series