Life is too short not to travel.
As trite as this phrase may be, it is so honestly, terribly, regrettably true. As a twenty-something year old male myself, I don’t quite have the years under my belt to personally verify this adage, but speaking to anyone older than I about the passage of time, the song remains the same: I can remember when I was your age…my goodness, where has the time gone?
Time will keep slipping away, seemingly unnoticed, if you don’t do something about it. With all the responsibilities, repetition, and monotony that we unquestionably accept in our adult lives, it’s no wonder why decades seem to pass at the blink of an eye.
The antidote: Travel
As a vagabond by trade and a wage slave by choice, I can testify that travel, the process of breaking out of routine and immersing oneself in a wholly new environment, is the only method that I have found that truly slows time. Yes, we have all had moments where the clock appears to freeze during a particularly dry meeting, but those moments weren’t particularly enjoyable, and nor were they memories we would like to keep.
So what special properties does travel have that adjusts our perception of time?
We are forcing our primal brains to wake up.
When your day is merely a loop track of alarm-coffee-commute-work-commute-sleep, portions of your brain settle into auto-pilot, and life just becomes as predictable and regular as breathing. You do not have to think all that much to make it through the day.
But if you remove all that regularity, strip away all the creature comforts to the point where you haven’t the slightest clue where you will be sleeping that night, your primal brain wakes up. The more you deviate from the expected and traverse into the unknown, the more your primal brain (i.e. your basic instincts) has to work. And as members of the animal kingdom, our instincts are essential for survival. Most importantly, our memory.
Memory is paramount – if you remember where you stored that cache of nuts in that tree trunk a week ago, you’re going to live. If you forget, well….
The point is, if you engage your primal brain, your memory-making machine boots up: the more memories you make in a day, the longer that day is going to feel. As someone who has traveled through countries alone without a lick of the native tongue, I can assert that days have felt like years.
All of this culminates into one simple, yet profound lesson: Travel will make life seem longer.
Let your primal brain wake up.
Let memories be made.
By Jon Ignatowski
When Jon isn’t traveling, he guides for Great Freedom Adventures
“VWKombi@theBeach” by CarolineGutman / Wikimedia Commons
“Travel” by Moyan_Brenn Travel / Fickr