Hearing I can’t do something, tends to get under my skin. No, it doesn’t just get under my skin. It makes my blood boil. Suzy, you can’t do that. Suzy, don’t say that. Alert, alert, redheaded temperature is rising. I have never been one to listen to people tell me what to do, especially when they tell me I can’t do something.
Perhaps others have heard, “Oh you can’t go there. You wouldn’t be able survive in (fill in destination here).” I don’t know what I have strapped across my face, but watch me. I’m going. I don’t doubt many also hear these “can’ts” when it comes to travel. Friends, family, co-workers, or even just acquaintances that don’t even know you, may say you wouldn’t be able to “handle” some destination. All I can do is disagree. Just as there is no “I” in team, there is no “can’t”, “couldn’t possibly”, or “no way José” in travel.
By definition, travel means to make a journey, typically of some length. The meaning of the word has changed somewhat over time. What used to be considered hard and difficult is now something we do for pleasure, discovery, and work. However, with erupting volcanoes disrupting airspace and airlines not allowing bathroom breaks, perhaps the meaning of the word is changing yet again. Travel can be difficult, but it can also be an enjoyable experience. For me, sometimes the difficult aspects to travel are the most enjoyable. Those moments where you do something you would never do at home, eat some strange fish or insect you would never consider eating, chat with an interesting stranger for hours prove to be some of my greatest travel moments.
No one can say you can’t go somewhere. Of course, governments may put up blockades to some places out of concern for safety, which shouldn’t be glazed over. However, it is up to the person as to where they want to go, what they want to see, and how they want to go about doing it. Those that live cautious lives will not be venturing to the Middle East anytime soon. No judgment here, but anyone that wants to go to places outside their comfort zone, should never be told they can’t.
I was recently having dinner when one of my friends questioned whether I would be able to go to Cambodia. She drilled me if I could eat fish for breakfast. She questioned my ability to live in close quarters. She laughed at me being able to shower with just a bucket of water, probably thinking I’m still that 14 year old from high school that just had to curl her hair everyday. Rather than sinking into the seat of the booth, I quickly replied without hesitation “No, travel is all about stepping outside of your known to the unknown. If it is not, then it is not travel.” These are the words I condone to anyone that has heard can’t and travel in the same sentence.
I guess I like to think when you travel, different facets of your personality you didn’t know existed spill out just as your belongings do after first opening your baggage claimed bag. You are faced with trying situations. You are faced with enjoyable situations. How you deal with them may be completely different than how people perceive you at home.
Throughout my travels, I found myself jumping off of cliffs in Sicily, eating “mystery meat” as my host family laughed about bunnies and horses, mountain biking with the greatest of difficulty through 3 feet of mud as the rest of my group biked with the greatest of ease, showering in the muds of Ireland, trying a Mai Tai and hating it in Hawaii, living in a hallway without a door in the boonies of Italy, and accidentally stealing from an London theater at 8 years old. I might not have enjoyed all of these moments, but I remember them ever so clearly. By doing things I would never consider at home, I have become a stronger traveler. No, I have not been everywhere or tried everything outside the box, but I will continue to challenge myself when it comes to travel. As I have proved I can throw back octopus with two bites, I think I’ll manage when whatever outside the box travel situation presents itself.
All I can do is encourage those considering travel to just go. No one can tell you that you won’t do well in a certain geographic zone. Prove to people that your personality is especially not limited when it comes to travel. If you have the personality and mindset of someone willing to take a chance on travel, nothing can stop you.
Have you challenged yourself with travel? I would love to hear your travel feats in the comment box below.