Have you ever thought about what you truly want in life? Sometimes, as we go through life it is easy to get all wrapped up in the day-to-day grind. What if there was a way to become clear on what you want and be clear on who you are? I’m here to tell you that there is a way, but I don’t think you will like the answer. In fact, the mere thought of doing this may terrify you. I did this very thing 5 years ago and it changed my life.
I traveled around the world by myself for 3 months.
Now I know you may be thinking, “I can’t afford that” or “I don’t have the time to do that.” Like I said, this is not for everyone, but anyone can do it. Let me first tell you my story, and how it changed my life and made me the person I am today.
I first had this idea when I was in Chiropractic school. I knew I liked traveling, and I knew I wanted to see the world. I had never traveled that long before and didn’t even know where to start. There were specific countries I wanted to see, and so I started a list.
As I did more research, I found out that there were two ways to make this trip. The first was to get an open-ended ticket (meaning that you can leave and stay in a country as long as you wanted as long as you went one direction the whole trip, meaning West to East or East to West). The second was to purchase one-way tickets all the way around till you end up where you started. Since South Africa was on my list I chose the latter. (This is because as the latitude gets wider, the more expensive the open-ended ticket is).
My route was San Francisco-England-Greece-South Africa-Thailand-China-Australia-New Zealand-San Francisco. All I had was my backpack for everything I needed for 3 months. I saw amazing things such as the ruins in Greece, wild lions in South Africa, and the Great Wall of China. I had amazing adventures including cage diving with great white sharks, hiking the Blue Mountains in Australia, and fire jump-roping in Thailand. I met amazing people and ate strange food, but from all these new things, the greatest long-lasting benefit was gaining a new perspective and learning about myself. Here is what I learned and what I want to share with you:
When you are by yourself, all you have to depend on is yourself. Imagine landing in a country and having to figure out how to get from the terminal to where you are staying with no frame of reference. If you happen to go to countries that don’t speak English, the bar is raised, and if you go to non-speaking non-Latin based languages, it is even harder! You then have to figure out how to get around in the country without a car and not knowing anyone. The trade-off is that when you are able to do all this on your own, you gain a lot of confidence in yourself and believe that you can do anything.
While in Thailand, I had a little scooter accident. I busted my chin open and had to go to a doctor to get stitches. Then I flew to China and had to go to a hospital to get the stitches cut out. Both of these countries use symbols rather than letters on signs, and it was challenging getting around. At first I was scared and in a lot of pain, but after going through all of this I was stronger. Futhermore, I now have a hilarious dinner-time story.
Being grateful for what you have
If you take a trip like this I would suggest also only taking a backpack. All you need will fit in this backpack, I promise. In the beginning it may seem limiting, but in the end it is liberating. You become grateful for every possession you have because you really only have one of them. When it is cold you have your jacket and when it is hot you have your flip flops. Everything has a purpose and you realize that if you had to, you could live with just these few possessions and be happy. Also when you travel, you may go to countries were people have very little money and very few possessions. You will be amazed to see that they are happy and content with their lives. It is truly eye opening.
When I first landed in Scotland it was February and FREEZING! Since I didn’t have room in my backpack, I didn’t have a heavy coat. So I decided to go to a local thrift store and buy a big heavy jacket. Along the way I met some awesome people, and they let me stay at their house. When it was time to go to Greece, I gave my jacket to my new friends because I knew I was going to a warmer climate. It felt good to give away something I no longer needed, and the act of giving something away to someone that helped me out along my travels was awesome. When I returned home, I was overwhelmed with how much stuff I had. How had I accumulated all this stuff? I ended up giving a lot of things away, and that felt amazing too!!!!
Finding out people are kind and good-natured:
All you have to do is turn on the news to see how “scary” and “screwed up” the world is. Our society makes the world out to be a dog-eat-dog world. People are out to get you and no one is safe. The reality is people want to be kind and helpful. If you go on a trip like this, you will be shocked by how friendly people are and how many are willing to help you along the way. When doing a trip like this you will need help, because you will get lost and you will get scared. In every country I visited, local people were excited to meet me, and wanted to show me their country. I was amazed how complete strangers would show me around, invite me over for dinner, and even let me stay at their homes. Now I do not see the world as scary, but as an adventurous and wonderful place.
Gaining tolerance and respect for other people and cultures
When people are different from you, it is easy to just put them in a box and label them a certain way. In most cases we do this because we don’t understand where they came from, and have never really spent time with them. When you travel to a foreign land, you become the minority. You have to adapt to the culture and you learn about different cultures. When you have a better understanding of someone else, those prejudices and false ideas just slip away.
In my case, I was not sure if I was going to have a good time in China. Honestly it was only on my list so that I could see the Great Wall of China (one of my goals is to see all seven wonders of the world). My preconceived notion of China was that it was crowded, polluted, pushy, and unfriendly. To my surprise, everyone I met was friendly, warm, and kind. Not only that, but it was absolutely beautiful outside the busy big cities. The hostel I stayed in had family dinner every night, and we had adventures stories to share every day while exploring the city. My time in China turned out to be one of my favorite weeks of the whole trip!
Being comfortable with the real you
Being by yourself forces you to get comfortable with the real you. Many times we are surrounded by people and feel uncomfortable being by ourselves. We think it is embarrassing to eat out by ourselves or do an activity alone. The thing you will find when you travel by yourself is that you will take chances that you would never take if you were with someone else. There is no one judging you, and you know in the back of your mind that if you make a fool of yourself, you will be leaving soon and will never see these people again! So you might as well just try new things and talk to new people.
In my opinion, this is the greatest thing you will take away from this trip. You will gain confidence and love for yourself. The more comfortable and happy you are with yourself, the kinder and more giving you can be. In life, people may be mean and unwelcoming, but if you are truly solid with yourself you can respond in loving way. I found that most of the time when people are mean and unwelcoming, it is because they are suffering internally. The best thing you can do to make the world a better place is to be the truest version of yourself.
My around-the-world trip shaped me into the person I am today. I would say it was some of the best times of my life, but also some of the scariest times as well. You will feel a range of emotions on a trip like this, but I promise you will come out a better person.
So, what does this have to do with our offices?
I stand for people being who they truly desire, and no one can do this if they are sick. So maybe you or someone you know wants to take a trip like this, but can’t because they suffer from a chronic health condition. Just imagine your life free to do what you want and not having to worry about the next migraine, attack of vertigo, intense pain, or chronic fatigue. Here at the Specific Chiropractic Center, we see people’s lives change. The most rewarding thing to see in the office is when people transform their lives and are then able to do things that they once thought impossible.
You can transform your life – just pick up the phone and call one of our offices. What do you have to lose?
I hope to hear from you soon. Live life to the fullest!
Yours in Health,
Dr. Alison Bremner