How to meet yourself.

En route to Colombo from Badulla

En route to Colombo from Badulla

“Travel far enough, you meet yourself.” – David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

The first post I saw on my Facebook newsfeed this morning was the quote above, from one of my favourite books.  Mitchell’s quote means so much to me – if I hadn’t moved from Sydney to Vienna when I was 20 and London at  21, I would never have experienced true solitude, starting a chapter of my life from scratch with zero dollars to my name, no friends or home, or even a job. The three years I spent in Europe helped define my values, learn how to make use of incredibly limited resources, and become increasingly comfortable with being me.

“We are only what we know, and I wished to be so much more than I was, sorely.” ― David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

Travel broadens perspectives. It virtually guarantees an open mind (or open-er mind) as you meet people with opinions and viewpoints you never considered before, as you immerse yourself into food and culture you’d previously only vaguely heard about,  and as you find out your way of living might be totally bland or fantastical depending on who you talk to.

Yes, all of the above could happen in my hometown, but, for me travel made me all the more receptive to new experiences, just a little bit more confident in talking to strangers in cafes, and value what and who was around me all the more because I knew I wasn’t going to be there for too much longer. Yes, you could save a fortune and become more open minded from the comfort of your own home with a few books and good friends, but, to me the jolt to the senses brought during those first days and nights on the other side of the planet was necessary and priceless.

Travel makes me treasure what I already have – the work I do, where I live, the food I eat, and most importantly the people around me. When I moved back to Sydney for the first time two years after London, I moved back to my old home, meeting old friends, passing the same buildings on the bus. However, I now experienced what I had for five years in a totally new way. I re-discovered Sydney and my friends. I carried myself differently. I’d become a better version myself. Travel brought me full circle, back to ‘me’.  

If you could travel somewhere completely new and foreign, where would you go, and what would you do? Who would you allow yourself to be?

Think about that for a moment, and then go to to make it happen 🙂

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