“The world is a book and those who don’t travel only read the first page.” – Saint Augustine
“Traveling is an exercise with horrible consequences for prejudice, bigotry, and small-mindedness”. – Mark Twain
“Traveling helps adjust imagination to reality, and to see how things are instead of thinking how they could be”. – Samuel Johnson
There are many popular quotes that try to define what it feels like to travel, what one learns, and what changes. Traveling is all of that, and so much more. However, after many years of traveling, there is one phrase that for me summarizes the meaning more than anything else:
“Traveling destroys your concept of normal” – Javier Godínez
While growing up in Spain, I believed it was normal to go to school, have access to health care, and live a life without too many worries. When at 20 years old I began to travel, I thought it was normal to be able to travel to Japan with my passport without needing a visa.
Aside from traveling freely throughout most of the world, it also seemed normal to me to be able to make a living legally in countries such as Andorra, France, Holand, The United States, and Mexico.
Little by little, traveling and living in different countries put me in situations that allowed me to learn firsthand about other cultures. Other worlds. Other realities..
Travelling has taught me that my life is not normal: I am privileged.
I am privileged because of the family I have, because of the education I have received, for being born where I was, because of the passport I have, and for the possibilities associated with that passport.
I have the privilege of being a free citizen.
It is curious to think that, being from southern Spain, if I had been born a few kilometers further south, my life would have been totally different:
Although my family probably would have loved me anyway, I wouldn’t have had as much security nor as many possibilities. Besides, if I wanted to go where I was actually born to make a living, it would have been very difficult, as I would be considered illegal.
Sometimes I think we live in an unjust world, and in those moments, I clearly see that I am privileged. Yes. For all that has been said above, but also, I am privileged to have realized that everything I have is not normal. And on an even more personal level, I am privileged to have discovered what I am passionate about above all else: traveling.
Maybe that’s why I’m trying to live traveling.
Maybe that’s why traveling has been the only constant thing in my routine-less life.
In addition, I am privileged to have knowledge that has allowed me to help other people. During my travels, and almost without realizing it, I helped a small Sri Lankan hotel improve its appearance in search engines thanks to some photos I took of them; I suggested a few improvements to the website of a motorhome company in Thailand, and I suggested changing the name of a company’s tours in Portugal. To give some examples.
Actions that, one way or another, helped these businesses reach more people.
One day I thought…
WHAT IF INSTEAD OF HELPING BUSINESS, I TRY TO HELP PROJECTS THAT IN TURN TRY TO HELP MORE PEOPLE?
That’s why I started helping while I’m traveling.
Because I have a privileged life, I have knowledge that can be useful, and there are people who could use that knowledge to help others.
That was the beginning of the Travel, Enjoy and Help project.
And you? Do you consider yourself privileged? Is there anything you could do to help others selflessly?
Respond in the comments and let’s start a debate 😉