When I travel, wherever I go, I always keep meeting the same nationalities. The Dutch, my people, are everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Name any obscure place on this planet: they are there. There's no running from them. I feel we still have that 17th century mindset geared to colonizing faraway territories and getting rich off trade. With that, my country has the second highest rate in the world of people squeezed into one km2. You can deduce from this that in summer we just want to get away from it all. Away from those overcrowded trains to-and-from work, away from that wasting of precious time waiting in line at the grocery store. But then, once summer arrives and you escape to Odessa, Dutch people are there too: quite a hardship for us to endure. But I use breathing techniques to deal with it all, so I'm alright.
The same goes for American youngsters and Australians. They are like weeds, popping up anywhere you least expect them. What reasons they have for leaving countries that are so big and so empty, I can't imagine but, put together, we might be the most mobile of nationalities out there. I think it's something to be proud of.
Such a thought got me thinking about the reasons people have for leaving their homes to go somewhere that, in essence, is just really far away and quite a hassle to get to. Of course, plane tickets are cheap nowadays. But in the old days, people would not really travel like we do now. Have we changed so much since then? I still see the Neanderthal in quite a lot of people.
My theory is that when you leave your home for another place, even if temporarily, there are factors that push you to that destination, and those that pull you there. The ratio could be of any kind. Are you fleeing from high student debt? It will hover around 80% push and 20% pull. Do you really, really want to see the pyramids in Giza? That'll be 30% push and 70% pull.
There is always a push factor involved. When you don't need to think about having enough money and have no pressing responsibilities at home, that push factor, if high, is like a city wall in your mind barring entrance to your return, if only psychologically, which mostly is. When that push ratio is high, the meter takes a lot more time to empty. Which is logical: in such a situation going home or just thinking about home produces negative emotions.
I feel that travel should not be this way. When you are from a Western country and you stand in line to get a visa for your destination, you are most likely not fleeing from war, terrorism, floods, Ebola or the plague. At least I hope you're not. So, why does it sometimes feel that you are fleeing from something, rather than trying to discover something new? Why does vacation have to be a relief from stress instead of a dive into a new, yet small, chapter of your life?
This psychological impediment to fun has to be cut down like a tree obstructing you getting your tan. Quite a luck that there are ways to overcome that.
The way to go is to realize that there is a very effective way to “escape”. If you’ve ever found yourself doing psychedelic drugs, mind bending drugs, you know that they alter the way you experience time. You can be floating on a cloud on its way to heaven, where you meet God, give him advice on ruling planet Earth, and still make it back in less then an hour.
Your vacation should be like that. Your 21 days per year, if you are lucky and not American, should feel like getting shot on a cloud into heaven, where you meet every Playmate that lived in the 1940s, who take you on excursions through the beaches and jungles of Micronesia. And I mean a new Playmate every day. But you won't be allowed to do drugs though: I am not encouraging you to do so. What I am saying is that you will forget about your troubles and make more of your holidays if you travel alone.
Spending time together makes time go by faster, while not having someone around makes it slow down: voila, you’ve just gotten more time than you started out with. And when you don't have someone at hand to travel with, you have to turn to yourself for company. Besides, who wants to travel with a grumpy and negative person? Not you. This experience can also be a boost to your self-esteem. It generally makes sense to have a positive outlook when by yourself for a long period of time, because it helps your resourcefulness and chance of connecting with other people. You also see and experience more by yourself. There is no time wasted hanging around in cafés all day long, and there is nothing you do against your will. It is actually a golden opportunity to reconnect with yourself and dive into your core to reach and grab that which makes you happy, without anyone to judge you. Assuming that in lots of cases people run from responsibilities back home, when you travel by yourself there is no one reminding you that you have them in the first place.
But the most important thing is that it is the one way of getting caught up in an adventure. And that is something I am sure everyone deserves once in a lifetime.
So sling that rucksack over your shoulder, and don't report back for at least a month.