While travelling, I found that I was very content with my life. Some people may say that is easy, given that my life was a permanent ‘holiday’, but it is surprising how many people still find discontent. “We hate waiting at the airport”, “It’s too hot here”, “Why can’t X be like back home?” are complaints that I hear often.
I relish waiting time, as it gives me a chance to listen to and record my thoughts in an otherwise fast paced life. Accept your environment as it is, and consider changing your perspective on it before going ahead and changing the environment itself. Change it when necessary to suit your needs. But always be happy.
If you are cold, don’t leap for the thermostat. Put on a sweater. Grab an extra blanket and get cozy. If you are hot, embrace it. Remember a time when you were extremely cold and bask in the warmth you are currently experiencing. If you are hurt, accept the pain as part of yourself. Do not consider it an external effect causing you discomfort. Absorb it into yourself and there is nothing more to complain about. Internalize the pain and concentrate on healing.
Don’t miss the chance to recognize an opportunity when it presents itself. If you are lonely, see it as a chance to make new friends. If you are with friends, see it as a chance to enjoy a moment together. If you are bored, see it as a chance to look up something you always wondered about or read a book or learn a new skill. If you are stuck in one place for a while, see it as a chance to join something new and stick with it, enjoy your routine. If you change your perspective on your environment rather than seeking to change the environment itself, you may find that it is not so bad after all.
Tare yourself to your environment just as you would tare a scale to it’s surrounding biases before you step on it. Then perhaps you will see that the discontent you feel comes from within yourself rather than from without.
Travel is by no means about “finding yourself”. That would imply that a perfectly formed version of yourself already exists somewhere that only needed to be adopted to become “you”. No, there is far more truth in creating yourself…seeing parts of others and the world around you that you find beautiful and want to incorporate into yourself and share with others. It is frightening at how many opportunities for us to better ourselves passes us by without even our notice…every experience is one to learn from. It is never too late to change yourself to be exactly how you want to be – besides, phoenixes are pretty.
This brings to mind a pertinent quote:
I have learnt silence from the talkative,
toleration from the intolerant,
and kindness from the unkind;
I am ungrateful to these teachers.
– Kahlil Gibran
We should thank all those who put us through hardship, because they are the fires who forge us into the people we are.