End of the World if You Don't Travel

It’s Not The End Of The World If You Don’t Travel

Derek Perspectives 89 Comments

End of the World if You Don't Travel

Really, it’s no big deal. Even if travel is the only thing you can think about, the only goal that you truly want to achieve in life, if you don’t travel, if you don’t actually succeed, again, it’s no big deal. The truth is, some will travel, and some won’t. Life gets in the way for many and despite a strong desire to hit the road and venture off to those dreamed-about lands, it sometimes just doesn’t happen.

I am often asked what is the single greatest lesson I have learned from my travels and I always give the same answer: “The overwhelming majority of people on this planet are good people who just want to live a simple, happy life without enemies, without hatred, without war, with enough money to provide for their loved ones and to spend time with their friends, regardless of where in the world they live, what religion they practice, how much money they have or anything else.

However, despite the fact that I am always so quick to choose that lesson as the most important, there is also another lesson I’ve learned that definitely comes in a close second place. And the lesson is this: “It doesn’t matter what you do in life. If you have the right attitude, you can find the fulfillment and happiness you desire, we all desire, in almost anything.

And yes, this is true even if travel is your major goal and for one reason or another, it doesn’t happen. I really do believe that it’s all about our attitude.

It’s all about our attitude towards the experiences we do have and the people we do meet and the places we do end up. It’s all about our attitude when we wake up in the morning and before we go to sleep, while we eat, hang out with friends, walk down the street and go to the market.

We can all inject positivity into our lives, no matter what we are doing. Perhaps some meditation or exercise or reading or going to a nearby town every few days to try and discover new things. We can find activities that make us happy. We can find people that make us happy to be around as well. In fact, this can happen quite easily these days with websites that facilitate meet-ups all over the world based on every interest imaginable. The right people, the right activities, the right experiences are right there in front of us at all times, no matter where we may be or what we may be doing, and with the proper attitude, we can take advantage of them all.

I sometimes wonder what would happen if I just stopped traveling right now, moved to a random town and changed my life completely to that of a more normal routine. At first, that thought gives me a feeling of unease, of dread perhaps, that I would be unhappily plodding my way through such an existence. But the more time passes, and the more I dwell on this idea and endless others, I realize that this wouldn’t be the case at all.

My travels have taught me to face the world with a positive attitude, not only the world in general, but every single minute, every single interaction, possibility, experience and moment. They don’t all turn out positively in the end of course, but by facing the world with a positive attitude, I feel that I can not only handle whatever comes my way, but I can squeeze enough joy and happiness out of each day, and in turn, out of any kind of lifestyle, to make sure that my life is something I love living.

To break it down even further, I’ve also realized that I can’t say such things as, “it doesn’t matter where I travel at all because I can always find experiences and people in every corner of the world that can turn any destination into a rewarding one” and not apply that very same theory to every other potential lifestyle. If that’s how I feel about travel, then that’s how I should feel about living in one place, having a set routine and basically, living a lifestyle that does not include much, or any, travel at all.

It’s the positive attitude, not the destinations themselves, that leads to memorable, positive travel experiences. Therefore, it must follow that it’s the positive attitude, not the lifestyle, that leads to a memorable, positive life.

Try it out. Walk down the street with a smile, saying hello to strangers. Go to work ready to turn any mundane task into a challenge, ready to work efficiently so that you have free time to spend on activities you enjoy more. Expect to learn each day and the chances are high that you will. Expect to laugh, to be inspired and to feel alive, and laugh, be inspired and feel alive you shall.

The point is, if you expect to have a brilliant day no matter what you do or where you are, you’ll quickly understand how powerful that expectation can be. And this holds true even if you haven’t been able to achieve your goal of travel, or any other goal you’ve set for yourself, quite yet.

Are you able to approach life with a positive attitude each day? Do you find any benefit from it? Or is it difficult to do if you are not achieving your true goals?

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Comments 89

  1. Marian

    For most of my life, I’d dreamed of travel. But … for me … it is better that travel remain a daydream. PERMANENTLY. LIFELONG. I have too many personal anxieties, and even more actual obligations, for travel to be more than a daydream. And I am now too old to change that. Believe it or not, these realizations now make me happy. I feel free!

    Not all of us should travel. Some, like me, should never travel … except in daydreams.

  2. Rachel

    Thanks for this. I get a lot of flack (I’m in my 40s, married and one kid) and I don’t like flying or being away from home for long trips. We’re about to leave for the east coast for 15 days and I’m really suffering. I honestly love my day to day life…but my spouse wants to see the world. Not sure how I feel about letting my little boy go too for future trips without me. Figuring it out. I have always been a homebody and would be so happy to spend time off just loving and living the California lifestyle i signed up for! Thanks for helping me feel less odd.

  3. Sabrina

    Great post. I’ve dreamed of travel but like George Bailey in the film it’s a wonderful life, life circumstance has kept me tethered to home. Sometimes I feel embarrassed that I’ve not been able to travel outside of the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Yet, I’ve met people who have traveled the world who are very negative, anger, bitter and surprisingly close minded. Seem traveling only confirmed their biases.

  4. Tired INFJ

    I’m so glad this article exists. I have never had that travel bug, or wanderlust or whatever people call it, and yet people continually ask me when I plan to travel, where I plan to go “when” I travel, because it hasn’t occurred to them that someone in their twenties might not. I don’t feel I’m missing out if I don’t go; I just worry people will think I’m wasting my life and judge me, even though I’d infinitely be happier at home, getting my career running, making a home for myself, having a family. I actually really love what others call the “mundane.” Whereas for a lot of people, life gets in the way of travel, to me, travel would get in the way of the life I want. To find an article celebrating that you can find happiness in the simple and everyday things of life is so refreshing to read.

  5. Freddy

    Great article. Im 25 now, and have never really travelled at all. Been to a resort before for a week but travelling abroad never. I think about it if i will regret it or if im “missing out”, but in reality I have a mortgage to pay and am just starting a career job after working countless dead end jobs. I have a couple friends who travel all the time just to travel but feel like they are always just searching for something new and are never content, and as adventureous as it sounds, that sounds like youre just chasing a high. I hate when people tell me “if you dont travel you arent living life right”… Well im content and happy now, if i do decide to travel I will but like you said with the right attitude towards everything I do I dont feel the need to travel, and I dont think there is anything wrong with that.

    1. Jinghang

      My thoughts exactly! A good response to a well-written article. With the right attitude, we can find deeper meaning in the things we do. The things may be travelling for some, but for others it could be our career etc. To me, I would rather save up for a colour laser printer than travel overseas. It helps me a lot in my work and leisure (making cards etc.), giving me a lot of joy. Travelling is enjoyable and beneficial for some people, but it is not the only way that one gets to experience life more fully.

    2. wtrmn

      Glad to hear someone else say this. I have felt that pressure to travel from my peers, and feared missing out on something. I have even tied up loose ends in my life in order to put myself in more of a favorable position to travel, thinking that is why I haven’t found it attractive. (finished college, paid off loans (not all), rented a small apartment, sold large many possessions. The cost of travel is still prohibitive for me but I have made it happen a handful of times all across the country. When I do travel, I feel pretty disconnected from the place and people, I can be just as fulfilled meeting someone new in my area. I would want to live somewhere, meet the locals and get a job, see where I fit into a community, and work on my hobbies. I then realize, that’s what I’ve already got!

  6. Michelle

    I traveled a lot when I was young. I lived in and went to school in four countries. And each time I had to assimilate. This made me anxious to a degree that many don’t understand. School was always a huge unknown and a cause of great fear. My last overseas stay (a year) was when I was 18, and it was in a culture so different from any I had previously encountered that I experienced huge culture shock. Even though this was 40 years ago, I have really little desire to travel anymore and don’t want to go alone. If someone is there with me to help me navigate the culture I probably would go again. Yet I find myself over and over again in the role of helping people from other countries adapt to the US!

  7. Grace

    A bit late to leave a reply but this is a very helpful article. I’ve been getting a lot of criticism at work for not liking to travel. People say I’m missing out or that I’m wasting opportunities. The point is, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything!

    Fine, if I’m given the chance to travel, I’ll take that chance. But I’m not someone who looks for that chance. I don’t feel like I’m wasting my life just because I’m not as into travelling as some people are. And what you said about it being the attitude and not just the places you go to is spot on. I feel like I’m getting what I want out of life by mostly staying at home and living a routine. However I’m getting tired of people trying to make me feel bad for not doing what they think is the best way to enjoy life.

    Great read!

  8. G

    Interesting article Earl!

    i myself am a travel fanatic, I spent 6 months backpacking around Aussie and another 3 backpacking in Thailand and SEa Asia. I then went to teach English for a year in Indonesia and it’s been 7 years.

    That was NOT the plan, the plan was a year here, a year there, and keep moving. However, fgor one reason or another I stayed and now my travel style is more like several holidays per year rather than a permanent wandering.

    Keep moving and shaking! This is a good website and I really can relate to what you’re saying here!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey G – Luckily, you don’t need to follow your initial plan. I always say that the chance of a person actually following their initial travel plan is extremely slim…in fact, I’m not sure if I know of anyone who set out for a lengthy period of time and ended up doing exactly what they thought they would do!

  9. Mike

    As a recent college graduate who is settling into a full time career, I have been feeling trapped lately. I caught the travel bug on my trip to Europe after graduation and so I’ve been looking around at those 5, 10, 20 years my elder and can’t help but think, “is this all you want out of life??” It has been hard for me to picture being mostly sedintary until I retire and so reading this from someone such as yourself brought me the following realization; not everyone has the desire to live a life of travel, and that’s just fine because happiness is a completely subjective thing. As for me though, I plan on hitting the road within a few years.

  10. Regina

    I really like what you said here

    I am often asked what is the single greatest lesson I have learned from my travels and I always give the same answer: “The overwhelming majority of people on this planet are good people who just want to live a simple, happy life without enemies, without hatred, without war, with enough money to provide for their loved ones and to spend time with their friends, regardless of where in the world they live, what religion they practice, how much money they have or anything else.”

    I liked it so much I pasted it as a status update on my facebook wall…I did add your web blog name….i hope you don’t mind

  11. KD

    Love this post.

    I have many travelling friends who preach about how boring peoples lives must be if they follow society and do the same as everyone else….Marry, Kids and good job. On the flip side the married friends often say how travellers are not rested in their souls and are searching for something.

    Great post and a great quote in there i.will be sharing if you dont mind!!!

  12. Jaryd - Aus Globetrotter

    Recently, just 2 weeks ago I was among travellers just talking about philosophy and the lives we all live when one Columbian guy pointed out the fact that to be happy in life we need to accept things. The good and the bad and by doing this I feel it allows us to let go of things and live a more optimistic and positive life. Sure you can choose to live a life of travel and not still not be happy unless you accept that you have given up things to live that life. But the same goes for living a life of routine, if that is what you want to do (which I know a lot of people who are). You aren’t going to be in a positive manner unless you accept that you can’t have it all by compromising certain things to live a certain lifestyle. Anyone can be happy if they truly decide to change their way of thinking, it may take a long time but your will appreciate everything so much more. Great post Earl, you are spot on

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Jaryd – All great points and I completely agree. Acceptance of everything that comes our way, and then making changes based on how we are affected, certainly makes it easier to find that constant positive attitude.

  13. Anna @ The Blonde Banana

    This post rings so true. I used to think I had to live in NYC in order to be happy because it seemed like the center of the universe. But after getting slightly older I’ve realized that I could probably be happy anywhere! It’s all about your attitude, not what you’re actually doing.

  14. Beth

    Thank you so much for this article. I found you in stumbleupon as I was creating my travel list. I love to travel and do but have family members that are fearful of flying so my travels are limited and create stress and discord. I have been wrestling with this notion lately of “so what if I don’t travel??”, and this article resonated with where my mind has been wandering. My outlook, choosing to be positive, even when I am not getting my way or feeling tied down and trapped, might be my new journey and new path to take. I am holding on to what I feel I am being deprived of, and holding on, in actuality is depriving me of greater joy than my travels bring. I am beginning to see that more clearly. I appreciate you sharing this wisdom. Safe travels…..or not:)

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Beth – That’s such a great realization and I have a feeling that moving forward, you’ll recover that joy no matter where you are or what you may do!

  15. Katie

    Great post – and so true. Attitude plays a huge role in both your perception of a situation and others’ perceptions of you. Positivity is truly powerful, even though I often struggle with maintaining that positivity on the daily!

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  17. Sofie

    Still have to reply at the bottom, sorry about that.
    Just wanted to say I found tit worth the effort of commenting. This is a little bit different to just wanting to say “cool pics” 🙂

  18. Lindsay

    Spot on about the attitude, although it’s not always easy. My mom’s mantra was always “Make it a great day!” (while we were heading off to school in the early mornings, sour-faced). She was my inspiration (and her spirit still is). I try to surround myself with positive people who look for the good in others and the best in every situation. Great post!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Lindsay – That’s such a great way to start each day and as ideal a mantra as there can be!

  19. Elora

    That certainly is the truth, even if it can be a hard thing to struggle with at times, when things just aren’t moving forward. Good post!

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  21. Paula Misty

    Weird how I randomly found this at this part of my life when I have to give up traveling to try to resolve some grown-up problems. This article is quite life changing on my end.

    Thank you so much.

  22. Sofie

    Hey Earl,

    Replying here because here the captcha turns up fine (what I emailed you about), but it’s when I hit “reply” to your reply that it comes out tiny:/

    Sooo, what I wanted to reply (after hours of trying:p) is that I don’t know. I don’t know if you won’t regret things you really wanted to do once you are older and if you’ve have a fulfilling live.
    I guess we’ll have to talk about it again in about 30 years or so.
    You better keep this blog running for a while… 🙂

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Sofie – Ha…let’s see if I can manage to keep it that long! And I appreciate your efforts in leaving a comment…glad it finally worked out!

  23. Tom @ Waegook Tom

    I really like this post, Earl. You don’t have to be constantly travelling to find happiness. I moved to Taipei a few months ago and while yes, it is a foreign country, it’s become ‘home’. I’m not ‘travelling’ every day – I’m getting up in the morning, doing some blog work, occasionally dragging myself to the gym, shopping at the local market, and then hopping on the subway for the one hour commute to work. Clock in, teach some awesome kids, clock out. Home. YouTube videos or more blog work, then sleep. But I try to approach it with a positive attitude, and it does make all the difference. I’m not worried that I’m not seeing new things or visiting new places constantly.

    I think you’re right about what the majority of people want, too. My mum says that she just wants a simple, drama-free life, where she and her loved ones are happy, and that’s it. My little brother is the same, ditto my dad. I’d say I’m the same to an extent as well. This is a great post, and if we could all look at our similarities a little bit more, then there’d be a lot more understanding in the world.

  24. Dave

    I agree.
    If we don’t find happiness in the little things and with daily events we will be too jaded to enjoy the big things.
    And if big things don’t happen so what just enjoy the moment.
    Make the moment count.

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